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Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: 10.3    CPU: G4 @ 1000 MHz    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 3000 MB    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

World of Warcraft
December 6, 2004 | Michael Phillips

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Graphics: Gothic Disney
While other games aim for staunch visual realism, World of Warcraft is a visual vacation from reality. Visually, WoW is whimsically beautiful, yet dark all at the same time. The game is quite reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for N64, but with FAR more polygons. One such example is the Undercity. Originally conceived by the fallen Paladin, turned usurper, King Arthas, the Undercity is an enormous maze of tunnels and crypts far beneath Lordaeronís once vibrant capital city. The Undercity sort of reminds me of Halloween Town from Tim Burtonís brilliant film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, in that itís dark and creepy, lacking in the typical forms of joy, yet itís not purely evil per se. WoW is also full of various OpenGL goodies like dynamic lighting and Trilinear Filtering. Furthermore, once Apple, ATI, NVIDIA and Blizzard work out a few driver issues, WoW will fully support pixel shaders on the Mac. Of course, all of this eye candy comes at a price. Blizzard isnít joking about the minimum system requirements. Donít expect 60 FPS on a 64 MB GeForce4 MX; I have a better shot at a date with Alanis.

Sound: Rock the Undercity
Aurally, World of Warcraft is top notch. There are neat little touches like if a player types ďlolĒ their character will actually laugh out loud. The ambient audio is also excellent. In outdoor environments one can hear whistling wind, flowing rivers and birds chirping. Dungeons sound particularly creepy, with various creeks, cracks and moans. Weapon and spell effects are also outstanding. Mage fireballs literally sizzle across the screen. The sound of metal on metal during melee combat is quite satisfying. WoW even has excellent background music.

Conclusion: Tisí the Season to Be WoWing
World of Warcraft is the real deal, itís the first truly fun MMORPG Iíve ever played. Iíve written 2000 words and I havenít even scratched the surface of this game. There are so many things I havenít mentioned; itís quite literally a game that never ends. With its deep quest system, multitude of character races and classes, lush visuals and rich audio, World of Warcraft is a must buy.

Now, I leave with some decently tricky triviaÖ In this review Iíve alluded to two characters from George R.R. Martinís stunning fantasy book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. The first person to identify the two characters AND how theyíre related will win their very own copy of World of Warcraft. (Note: We have a winner! The correct answer is Theon and Asha Greyjoy, who are brother and sister. Theon's not all bad, he's just misunderstood. ;-) )

World of Warcraft
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
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