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9.11.07 - Poll: How Would You Rate Vanguard?

Updated Fri, Jan 02, 2009 by Ralsu


How Would You Rate Vanguard?

By Ralsu

September 11, 2007
I have a confession to make: we at Vanguard Ten Ton Hammer have withheld our review of Vanguard for as long as possible. First, we philosophically decided that it just isn't prudent to review a massively-multiplayer online game (MMOG) soon after release. Then there was the Sony Online Entertainment buyout. The we wanted to wait for Game Update #2. Well, we can't make excuses anymore. Vanguard has been around for nearly 8 months now. SOE has had the reins for just under 6 months. I think we can review the game now.

Here's the deal: I'm going to offer my personal review of Vanguard and then solicit yours. We will use some fairly standard criteria--graphics, sound, game play, stability, raid content, and Player-vs.Player (PvP). We will rate on a scale of 1-5 hammers, with 5 being best. My review, and any offered by Dalmarus, Machail, and/or Shayalyn will could for 50% of the final review I will post on September 18. Any reviews offered by the Vanguard Ten Ton Hammer community between today and September 16 that follows the guidelines established above will count for the other 50%.

And now for my review...

Graphics

Vanguard is a gorgeous game, and you can see that even if your machine can't run it on the the highest settings. I've been playing Vanguard for almost a full year (dating back to Beta 3), and I still sometimes top a ridge and feel my jaw drop in awe of a beautiful vista. If I have any complaint with the graphics of Vanguard, it's that a good half of the player base can't enjoy them. An absolute resource hog, Vanguard's steep system requirements force most people to play the game with many graphical bells and whistles disabled. And the refusal to use zones or instances doesn't help, but that's a separate issue. The oddly less-than-beautiful character models is the only thing that stops me from awarding a 5 out of 5.

Sound

Vanguard's sounds range from sweeping soundtracks to squealing halflings. The problem is that none of the music score sticks with me when I am done playing, and many of the combat noises are annoying enough that I want to turn them way down. Sure the music does what it is supposed to do; it haunts me with sad melodies as I gaze across the wastes of the Qalian deserts, and it increases tempo when I enter battle to add to the thumping of my heart. Still, the lack of a memorable tune and the way female fighting sounds effects seem like reactions to unsatisfying sex makes it more of a deficit than a benefit. Other combat noises are...efficient, and little else. Overall, the sound is just forgettable.

Game Play

Vanguard plays like most other MMOGs. In that respect, it sports intuitive controls and interfaces. Combat has a few novelties with reactions and chains. The level curve for adventuring is smooth enough to prevent players from being bogged down. When solo, crafting and diplomacy offer wonderful distractions though they aren't as rewarding as they probably should be at this point. Mobs don't provide nearly the challenge I'd hoped for, and the dot system is horribly watered down. Still, I always manage to have fun when I play. The key to that, I think, is the variety Vanguard offers. You can level through the usual grind or through quests. There's plenty to explore and do. The game offers most of the things we look for in MMOGs.

Stability

Nearly 8 months out form launch, Vanguard still suffers from stability issues--major ones, at that. People crash to desktop all the time, and patches that perform miracles for a handful of players ruin the gaming experience for others. That the game boots up and runs keeps me from giving it a rating of 1. The frequent issues noted by players with a variety of hardware configurations pushes it very close.

Raid Content

What raid content? For a level curve that allows players to reach the cap in only a couple of weeks and a game that includes Rest XP as a means to help casual players climb the mountain at a steady pace, Vanguard has almost nothing to do at the top. No epic quests, no class specialization, no equivalent of Lady Vox. Not even epic gear, really. Hit level 50 and enjoy your boredom. Sure, this will change in coming updates, but I'm not here to review potential.

PvP

Vanguard has the bare minimum PvP to advertise it. No team PvP any more. No capture the flag. No tournaments. No leader boards. Moreover, PvP feels somewhat "tacked on" and doesn't offer a balanced experience. Even admitting that I am not a PvPer, there is no way I'd recommend Vanguard as the PvP game for my friends who like it.

Overall (not an average)

Vanguard is just an average game with a ton of features. Its instability holds it back and is the difference between recommending it to friends or recommending a different game for me. If SOE ever stabilizes the game and the base line personal computer catches up to the requirements , I know a ton of casual gamers who will love it. To capture the hard core crowd, SOE will need to steadily infuse raid content at every possible update. Until then, I play Vanguard and enjoy it, but I have a hard time recommending it to friends without having to make a lot of apologies.

The Bottom Line:
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 3/5
Game Play: 4/5
Stability: 2/5
Raid Content: 1/5
PvP: 1/5


Now it's your turn. How would you rate Vanguard?
VOTE IN OUR POLL!
How would you rate Vanguard? Don't forget to rate all categories Ralsu did in your forum post!
  • 5/5! Best game eva!!
  • 4/5. The game has flaws, but I love it.
  • 3/5. Vanguard is just so-so.
  • 2/5. I would not recommend this game to most others.
  • 1/5. This game sucks!

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