OUT: Christmas 2004

Format: PC

Price: 29.99 + monthly charge)

Developer: Sony Online

Publisher: Ubisoft

Special Features:

Other Formats: Nope.

Call 01932 838 230

Players: thousands!

Everquest II

Strap on your horned helmet, and dig out your shiniest axe, it’s time to go adventuring! (Again…)

125 words

We never played the first Everquest much; there are more Elves, Orcs and Halflings in computer games than rats in kebabs; but the sequel should make hanging around online with several thousand of them seem almost appealing.

Like Morrowind, you grab a character (choosing from Ogres to Dwarfs and strange cat and rat-people), a profession (fighter, wizard, and so on), and then plunge into an intense fantasy world. You fight online, alongside like-minded folk from around the world, bashing assorted wee beasties. Then you follow the massively varied quests to get to the rest of the humungous world, and perhaps even fight against enemy players who’ve gone all dark side…

From the cutesy Baubbleshire to the arsehole-of-the-world The Big Bend, every element of the world is utterly convincing, stunning looking and sometimes totally skanky. If you can stop playing it, you’re a better person than us.

Good cop. Photo-realistic fantasy, packed full of more hobbits than you can eat, and practically endless.

Bad cop. Not a particularly original fantasy world, and will probably be expensive from month to month.

Where it’s at

In beta-testing, with thousands of game addicts checking every part of it; almost ready in other words.

5 screenshots and captions

1 You can make your own equipment from resources you’ve gathered and refined.

2 Ogres and Trolls have to escape the slums of Freeport before joining the world proper.

3 Everquest II features the most powerful game engine we’ve seen yet.

4 Players are brought into the game through an easy tutorial on the Isle of Refuge.

5 The two main cities spread for miles over the continent of Antonica.

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