IMG Archives
Archives  Reviews  Shadowbane  


Gameplay

Sound
  Graphics

Value
Publisher: Ubisoft    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.2    CPU: G3 @ 350 MHz    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 1000 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM


Shadowbane
September 11, 2003 | Chris Ritchie
Pages:12Gallery


Click to enlarge
At this point, the world of Shadowbane is open to you. Itís not a bad idea to find some similarly-leveled individuals to work on gaining more experience so that you can tackle harder foes, but at this point you can start advancing your character in the direction you want. Much of the game for higher level players is the politics and intrigue that come with the guild system. Shadowbane encourages player cities, and player guilds, which usually become the focal point of the later stages of the game. Players can create their own guild, join an existing guild, or wander the earth solo for a time until they decide to cast their allegiance to someone or something. The guild system also makes for interesting Player vs. Player rivalries, and long standing grudges between various guilds can make player cities violent and harrowing. Player killing is a standard part of the game, and before you venture into an unknown player area you should make sure you wonít be automatically killed on site.

One nice little bonus to the game is that Mac users can play with PC users. The world is filled with players, and it isnít difficult to find groups to join, and players to team up with. Also there are many established guilds already, so finding a guild to join isnít difficult either. So if one of your friends with a PC has been playing this game for a while, you can jump right into the action with them on your Mac. The only major complaint with the general gameplay was the movement system. Your character doesnít track around objects very well, so a tree in your path will stop you dead until you maneuver your character around the obstacle. Learning the system is fairly simple, and if you have played Dungeon Siege, or Diablo II before you shouldnít have any problems picking up on the subtleties of the Shadowbane approach.

Graphics
The graphics for this game arenít spectacular, but I was pleasantly surprised by their detail at times. Trees and other terrain objects have very little detail, but work well in the context. Buildings, characters, monsters, clothing, and weapons are all very intricately detailed and add a nice feeling to the game. Fighting animations are done well, and every weapon has a slightly different swing animation. Spells have some good looking effects as well. Shadowbane also has a unique loading screen, a swirling vortex, that certainly is better than the usual loading bar. The game played kind of jerky at times, but I chalked that up to the lag of the servers. Playing on heavily populated servers can make the game jumpy no matter what system you are on, and the graphics arenít intense enough to make a high end graphics card necessary.

Sound
The sound for Shadowbane is mainly ambient, adding the realism to a game that sound so richly does. Creatures have their own attack noises, and you know if you have stirred up a whole nest of enemies to come after you be the sounds they make alone. In town you can always hear the hammer of the blacksmith, or the quiet chatter of townsfolk. The sound of swords clashing, and attacks hitting targets works well in the battles. While not overly important, itís certainly nice to listen to.

Conclusion
As usual, if you arenít a big fan of RPGs, donít like dealing with hit points and sword attack ratings, than you should stay away. Fans of RPGs in general will enjoy how this game is run, and those with lots of patience will be rewarded when they gain enough levels to start taking part in the in-game politics. Having the major purpose of the game to make player characters interact is a laudable goal, something that has been absent in even some of the most successful pay-to-play games. If the system continues, and players stay interested, the game will go a long way. So don your medieval fantasy caps, buy a copy of Shadowbane, and help support the growing player communities.



Shadowbane
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Wolfpack Studios


Pages:12Gallery




Archives  Reviews  Shadowbane