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PC Game Review: EverQuest II – Echoes of Faydwer

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Since the original EverQuest II launched in November 2004, Sony Online Entertainment has created a new game utopia that continues with the latest installment, Echoes of Faydwer. Navigation is easier than previous installments and a wide range of player skill levels (1 through 70) makes it great for beginners or experts.

Experienced players will experience a lot more people, quests (more than 350), details and extras, while new players get an outstanding expansion pack (versions available with Kingdom of Sky and Desert of Flames expansions if you really want to get submersed in this online community as well as the required EverQuest II).

Players create their character and race. Race attributes depend on strength, agility, stamina, intelligence and wisdom (though the last two are very similar). Next players start at a city named Kelethin, an amazing environment, located on the continent of Faydark and set at the top of a tree. The woodland environments and noises, centering on the all important achievement trees, are authentic, but can get annoying after a while.

These trees can bolster your skills and, like just about every other “power point” in this game, give you new powers as well. Kelethin is open to all players and is large and interesting enough (check out the “Keebler elf-like” houses) to be a game within itself.

The great setting is complimented well by a new race, the Fae, which ranges from dwarf to half elf to high elf to even sylvan form. Players can also give new meaning to the phrase “free falling” (without taking damage) – one of the coolest experiences encountered in a game and the Fae’s best characteristic.

The game has great focus on new player vs. player rewards as well as individual abilities like swimming and targeting, which takes a bit of a learning curve to master. Interesting new character encounters include a pumpkin-headed horseman while every encounter has enough variety and unpredictability for solid game play.

Professions include scout, fighter, mage and priest, which allow special abilities/miracles, which make great little stories within the large character driven narrative. The deity element of the game creates some compelling tangents. Once players use their deity talents, they go home and “pray” again to boost their reputation points.

Character skills include transmuting (transforming items back in their raw form) and tinkering (gadget making). Cool cloaks, creatures, equipment and quests are also born anew. Highly recommended.

EverQuest II: Echoes of Faydwer is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence.

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