Anarchy Online (Shadowlands) Review

by Funcom

Member Reviews: Review Anarchy Online Yourself!

•  gorgeous graphics
•  deep gameplay
•  original theme
•  less downtime waiting to heal
•  nearly endless selection of weapons, armor, and skills
•  leveling is fast
•  unique professions

•  steep learning curve
•  lacks strong manual

The Bottom Line - The best sci-fi MMORPG period. 

Link: Official Site


After having a less than stellar experience with Anarchy Online (AO) when it first arrived on the MMORPG scene, I was more than a little skeptical about how much Shadowlands (SL) could improve it. Thankfully, my doubts were wrong. Not only does Shadowlands make Anarchy Online a better game, but SL also put AO in the same league with Everquest. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Anarchy Only is the Everquest of sci-fi MMORPGs.

Why does Anarchy Online and its expansion deserve so much praise? One word sums it up better than any other, depth. Not the kind of depth where you mine for hours to just a build a clay pot. I am talking about the type of depth where you feel immersed in your character and the overall environment. Besides offering a huge selection of weapons and skills, the sci-fi theme lends itself to doing a few things differently than other MMORPGs like implants, nano programs, and more. In most other MMORPGs, the majority of the game revolves around getting armor and weapons. In AO, armor and weapons are just one small piece of the game play. 

The depth, however, also comes at price. That price being a very steep learning curve. Yes, you can pick up a weapon and start killing stuff but you will have no idea about implants and nano programs. Shadowlands needs to ship with a huge manual to attract more of casual gamers. 

How does the game look? The graphics are simply gorgeous. Everything in Shadowlands is not only handcrafted but hand-placed as well. With those enhanced graphics comes over 160 new dungeons and 7 new lands (Nascense, Elysium, Scheol, Adonis, Penumbra, Inferno and Pandemonium) for players to explore. Each new land is so massive in size that just one is larger than some entire MMORPGs. In order to keep things interesting, each level increases in difficulity. In fact, the last boss on the last land (Pandemonium) is so tough that nobody had been able to beat it yet. Trust me, the first player that kills that last NPC will be well rewarded. Players interested in more of the social aspects of the game than combat conquests should be at home with several different guild hangouts, luxury apartments with a hot tub and a terrace, and several marketplace areas. 

If you prefer fantasy over sci-fi like myself, AO still allows you to use standard fantasy weapons like swords and axes. In other words, AO is actually a MMORPG/MMOFPS hybrid because you can also blast monsters with high powered weapons in first person view as well. You even have a place in Shadowlands where you can create your own bosses to fight!  One minor gripe aside about the learning curve, Anarchy Online with Shadowlands simply supplies more bang for your buck than most other MMORPGs currently on the market.

Game Ogre's Rating (out of 10):



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