Champions: Return to Arms
For the past couple of months I’ve had the privilege to test a lot of great games. Unfortunately there is a less fun part that comes along with this and it’s called: Champions: Return to Arms. This PS2 title has been lonely lately between my Xbox hits such as: Doom 3 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. My gamestash has luckily been narrowed down to only two titles; Jade Empire for the Xbox and this piece of *self censorship*. Sometimes people have the tendency to give one more attention than the other, which is mostly not the others’ fault. I’m afraid to say but in Return to Arms it’s the other way around. My daily life is mediocre and boring as it is, I don’t need a game to remind me of that.
Previous Fragland meeting: in my left hand I strongly hold on to the Doom 3 review copy while my right hand shakes of fear. In that right hand I held the review copy of Return to Arms. When Speed asked us who was interested in reviewing this game, the staff went quiet. Because I received Doom 3, I had to take Return to Arms as a compensation which led to the usual making fun of Mario part. The world is a truly a cruel place isn’t it? Return to Arms easily fits in the hack & slash genre which doesn’t make things better for me as I’m an equal fan of German schlager music as I am a fan of hack & slash games.
To make things even worse the game continues where Champions of Norrath ended. If I tell you that I ignored Norrath with enormous success, you probably have an idea of how I felt when beginning the game. I start playing a mediocre hack & slash game with no clue of the storyline whatsoever. I can assure you; I’ve had better starts. It went tough, it did hurt a lot and no matter how often they tell me that it’s meant to hurt the first time; I don’t want to know how a second attempt might feel.
One advantage of hack & slash games is the rather easy to pick up gameplay. Just like most fighting games it’s only a matter of smashing all the buttons on your controller and you’re sure to hit your enemies. Although I’m not a huge fan of this approach, it did keep me from trying to learn all the different moves and combo’s. Tell me, what would you do when several Xbox hits are waiting to be tested?
Graphically this game couldn’t convince me either. This kind of games often use an isometric camera angle and Return to Arms is no exception. It looks like time stood still for Snowblind Studios as their graphics engine looks identical to the one seen years ago in Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. I don’t long for dynamic lighting, bump-mapping and advanced physics all the time, but a bit more graphical flair would be a welcome change. I’m not going to waste my and your time by rattling on about the sound in the game, because it’s as mediocre as the looks and the gameplay. To quote the words of an already legendary reviewer of Fragland: “If you want to know how good every particular piece of gameplay or voice-acting is, I suggest you read another review.” It is that simple.
Do not buy this game! Use your money on something useful, heck I don’t even care if it’s not a game, just don’t buy this crap. If you’re a fan of the genre than you can maybe consider renting it for a day. But really; no more than one day. I don’t want you to waste your valuable time on this. I do realise that there are players somewhere who can enjoy this game, but due to certain circumstances, (the overload of hit titles on the Xbox) Champions: Return to Arms gets a low score. It’s a bad day for objectivity, I’m really sorry.
PS: the fact that we don’t have any screenshots gives you an indication of the quality of the game. Too bad a PS is always at the bottom of a text, huh?