REVIEW : Myth II: Soulblighter
By: C-J Durango
(Please note that when this review was written, the updater for Myth II was not released. If you have Myth II, download the updater at bungie.net)
I've always been a big fan of Bungie, but I can't help I felt a bit
disappointed when they released the first info on Myth 2. And when I
looked at pictures from it, my doubt that it would be such a great game
as Myth 1 was began to grow. I was a hardcore Myth player and spent
lots of time on bungie.net, and then I suddenly just stopped playing
it because I got tired of it. The worst thing would have been if Myth
II was a copy of the first game.
But heck, I was wrong!
When I first saw the game in action, I was just as stunned as when I
first saw Myth 1. This game is just brilliant. The mesh graphics has
been improved and looks gorgeous if you own a 3dfx or Quickdraw 3D accelerated
card. Units has got more spriteframes so their animations looks much
smoother. The popular thrall even looks faster now when he has got more
frames. Myth II also got animated models. Now you can see working windmills,
raising drawbridges and much more. Wildlife has also been introduced
in the game. Watch as squirrels travel the forest, or why don't kill
bambi over there with your bowmen? This makes gameplay much more fun.
Myth II is also able to
play the sound in 3D. This still only works on Windows since Bungie decided to use Aureal A3D and Creative EAX and those only exists on Wintel machines at the moment. They maybe could have used the Apple Soundsprocket library to get 3D sound to work on macs.
Many popular units from
Myth 1 has returned in the sequel. Fetch, Ghols, Berserks, Dwarfs and
Warriors are among those who have returned. Your fir'Bolg archers has
been replaced by human bowmens which, thank God, fire with improved
Bungie claims that the
Myth II AI is much improved since Myth I. We could always hope. You
that have had dwarves firing right into your melee know what I mean.
The singleplayer campaign of Myth II takes place about 60 years after
the first game. Balor has been defeated and Alric, now King Alric, has
spent those 60 years rebuilding the Province to its former glory. Peace
and happiness prospers until one day when a small village is beeing
attacked by some strange monsters. Your mission is to investigate these
strange happenings. Your investigations leads to something NOT good;
your old enemy Soulblighter from Myth 1 has returned and has begun to
once again lay waste to the land. It's now your mission to teach this fellow
a lesson once and for all. You have to travel through open plaines,
guarded castles, abandoned towns, snowy passes, scary catacombs and
much more to stand a chance against Soulbligther and allies. You also
have to form alliances with people you'd never thought was possibly.
At least one person will make an unexpected return from Myth 1, this
time on your side.
The singleplayer is very
fun and challenging, but a bit too short. I am a mediocre mythplayer
and I finished it off in 3 days on normal difficulty.
The singleplayer campaign in all its glory, but the Myth games really
shining star has always been multiplayer. You chose a name, pick your
colors and a player icon, and you're ready to rumble. Myth II multiplayer
can be played over TCP/IP, Appletalk or over Bungies own free gaming
service Bungie.net. It is hard to find games on TCP/IP or Appletalk,
so Bungie.net is the first choice when you want to play. With Myth II,
you get a piece of paper with your Bungie.net serial number on. Go to
Bungie.net's homepage and register for a complementary account. Bungie's
idea with serials is a good idea of stopping pirating, since it's very
hard to fake it. When you have received your login information, just
fill it in in the Bungie.net setup and connect! Well there you can meet
other players, chat and of course play some games. Starting a new game
is just as easy as it sounds. Just click "new game" and fill
in the options, wait for some more players and let the carnage begin.
A good change from Myth I is that the host of the game cannot start
the game until everyone has marked themselves as ready. This prevents
so called jumpstarting, when the host start the game before everone
Before you start, you
may want to make teams with others. If you're on a team, you act as
one player in the game, but you share forces with your teammates. Good
thing if you play a game with many units.
Well in the game, you often
have some planning time. You can spend this time in different ways.
Trade your units, scout out the map or just wait. New in Myth II is
that you also can form alliances in the game. By that way, you can cooperate
with your ally to win. Unfortenately is there no allied victory, so
you have to kill your ally if you're the only ones left, hehe. Many
people leave alliances off in games because there's always some bad
people who misuse alliances to win unfair.
The real fun is when you
gather some of your friends in a game and you all meet in the center
of the map. THAT is real butchering. Limbs fly, head rolls, swords cut
through flesh and blood and gore lies everywhere. It's a piece of art
just to get the blood and gore in right place. If you're lucky, you
could create some real masterpieces of death!
The multiplayer contains
a bunch of different game types. You could always play straight Body
Count (where you have to kill as much as you can), but why don't try
something ordinary, like stampede? The goal of stampede is to bring
a bunch of animals (most often pigs) to a flag in enemy territory to
get points. Doesn't sound so hard, does it? Well, think again as you
must defend your animals at the same time you want to kill your opponents
pigs. There's also hunting, where the team who kills most wildlife wins.
Bungie.net is more than
just games. It's a community! Some people logs on just to see each other
and talk about things, often something else than Myth II. Bungie.net
has also been given an upgrade since Myth I. Now you can add people
to your buddy list (sort of ICQ thing), search for people and get more
describing statistics over players.
A group of Myth II players
are called an order. This is similar to the clans of Quake. In Myth
II, you can now play for your order and get points for it. You can always
go to Bungie.net's homepage to see who's the highest ranked player and
which is the highest ranked order.
There is nothing which is completely free from problems. Myth II, as
everything else, has its own problems. First, there are hundreds of
minor bugs in the original version. Bungie is working on an updater
to squash all bugs and improve gameplay.
The probably biggest problem
is the, sometimes, poor 3dfx performance in the game. On my testing
mac, I got the same framerate in 3dfx as in software. I find that a
bit strange since Myth I ran just perfectly with 3dfx and got poor performance
in software. But if you own a G3 with a Voodoo2 card, the poor performance
doesn't matter since you get about 30-40 frames per second. People I
know have been in touch with Bungie about the 3dfx problem and Bungie
replied that it's 3dfx's fault. So we just have to hope that 3dfx can
fix those problems.
Another of the biggest problems are the keyboard typing delay. When
you type something in the chat or in any textfield at all, all text
gets a delay before it appears. This is very frustrating since people
who types fast have to slow down, or the letters will not show up. Therefore,
there could sometimes appear very strange chat messages with missing
letters. Again, Bungie is going to fix this in the updater.
There are also some small
bugs in some multiplayer scoring...
I would say that Myth II probably is the game of the year (yeah, we didn't
get it until this year here in Sweden). If I didn't have a life, I would
probably settle down on a remote island with a T3 line, a G3 and Myth
II. This game is just a smash-hit. Even if it contains some bugs and general
problems, it's not a big deal. And the shy requirements makes it a good
game for you with older computers. So I say: Buy Myth II: Soulblighter
NOW, that's an order!