The Shadow Odyssey is the fifth expansion for the EverQuest II franchise. The expansion is geared towards veteran players levels 50 – 80. The Shadow Odyssey boasts 20 new zones, five new heritage quests, introduces two new deities, and has added new and enticing dungeon quests. The expansion is only available in an all-in-one set that includes previous expansions. While this is great news for newcomers, it is slightly irritating for those who have already purchased pasted expansions, but are still forced to pay the high price of the all-in-one to enjoy the new expansion.
Graphics (3 out of 5)
There has always been controversy among the playerbase on whether or not the graphics in Everquest II are great or horribly ugly. I have always been on the side of great, but I do agree that the graphic setting must be completely turned up, or instead of beauty you will get the beast. The graphics in The Shadow Odyssey look similar to the rest of the game, although the look and feel of the expansion is nothing short of drab. The greys and the browns are utterly boring, and I feel myself wanting to take a nap while hanging out in the Moors of Ykesha. This has been the problem with most of the zones in EverQuest II, although there were a couple expansions that were a bit more exciting to look at, such as Echoes of Faydwer.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
The Shadow Odyssey has brought back the MM in MMO. Yes, finally grouping is a must once more. When the game first released it had a strong, tight-knit community because people had to play and work together to advance in the game. People were polite to each other, they helped one another, and they even dared to venture outside of guild groups. Solo play has been a recent and scary trend among MMOs. More and more they cater to the solo crowd, yet what’s the point of playing an MMO to play solo? I may as well go play an RPG. I applaud the EQ2 team for kicking the trend to the curb and remembering what it means to be an MMORPG.
The new dungeons not only encourage coordinated teamwork, making them especially fun for raiders who are used to working together, they also scaled to group levels making the dungeons and option for all who wish to enjoy them. Let’s not forget the new timeline. By far the timeline quests are the most enjoyable of any quest types that the developers put into the game. As for those complaining about working together as a team, I think I hear the Xbox calling you. The console is your friend.
While game play is indeed looking up, sadly the much anticipated addition of the unicorn, and the opening of the castle doors is a huge let down. The unicorn for some odd reason has crafting stats. The most magical creature to ever grace the earth, or in this case, Norrath, has crafting stats. Yes, I feel your disbelief, and I feel your pain. What were the developers thinking? It would have been better to have never added the unicorn at all.
As for the castle, we didn’t wait 5 years to see the queens bedroom. To be rewarded for our valor in the world of Norrath by being permitted free realm of the castle is ludacris. To wait for a moment for so long to only have it be so disappointing is disheartening at best. We can only hope that with time both the unicorn and the castle will be avenged.
Community (5 out of 5)
The world of Norrath isn’t as packed as it once was. Those that still remain are diehard fans. They enjoy the game and truly care about its development. The game, five years in, can be compared to Cheers, “everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came”. The release of a couple of new titles in the industry has recently emptied the servers as people go an explore new worlds, however as those people are beginning to find, and I can attest to the truth in this, those newly released, over-hyped games, have failed miserably in what they promised. Players are beginning to return to Norrath, and the populations are picking back up. In the past month I have seen the return of more players than ever before, and we are quite happy to welcome them back. EverQuest II always has and always will have a great, friendly, and welcoming community.
Performance (2 out of 5)
Even after five years, EverQuest II still has issues with performance. It seems that many of these may be attributed to Vista, so perhaps we can blame Microsoft for all our problems. Hey, the rest of the world does. However, regardless if the game is the fault of the EverQuest II engine, or Vista, it needs to be addressed. How many years must go on before the game runs more smoothly? I know you are wondering, so I will fill you in on my system. I am running Vista Home Edition Premium, with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200, 2.61 GHz, and 4064 MB of RAM. I find the game locking up and crashing on a regular basis. I keep everything updated, although it doesn’t seem to help much. I have found this to be the case with my past system, and the system before that. EverQuest II has never ran smoothly, and I have my doubts that it ever will.
Value (5 out of 5)
Overall, the Shadow Odyssey is a great value. The expansion brings back group play, adds a variety of new scalable dungeons to explore, an interesting and fun timeline, new heritage quests, and armor sets. The all-in-one set is a steal of a buy for new players, and while many may feel it is too late in the game to start fresh in EverQuest II, this isn’t the case with the new vamped up XP speed. New players will find themselves at endgame in no time at all. I encourage those who have never tried the game to give it a try. While it still has it’s kinks, it is arguably the most fun, polished, and developed game currently on the market.
This post is part of the series: Everquest 2 Reviews
A collection of reviews for basic and extended versions of Everquest 2.