Lost Ark (PC, free)
Verdict: A phenomenon that fizzles out
Between your Elden Rings and Horizon Forbidden Wests, there have been so many outsized megahits in gaming recently that it’s been hard to keep up.
Now here’s another. It’s called Lost Ark and it was originally released in Korea a couple of years ago, where it attracted millions of players.
Then, a month ago, Amazon’s gaming division released it in the West, where it has picked up millions more. If it keeps on going, Jeff Bezos might be able to afford a golf course on the Moon.
One of the best things about Lost Ark is that it’s free, although it does try to make you stump up for various knick-knacks in the game
Those who choose to spend zero pounds get an astonishing amount for their not-money
Or will he? One of the best things about Lost Ark is that it’s free, although it does try to make you stump up for various knick-knacks in the game.
But those who choose to spend zero pounds get an astonishing amount for their not-money: dozens of hours adventuring in an expansive fantasy world.
The gameplay is enjoyable, too. Lost Ark is marketed as an MMORPG like World of Warcraft — an online realm full of other people — though it often feels more like a single-player experience, as you tap furiously on your mouse to vanquish waves of monsters.
Anyone who has played the classic Diablo games will be right at home here.
. Lost Ark is marketed as an MMORPG like World of Warcraft — an online realm full of other people
Except here — Arkesia, the setting of Lost Ark — is also the problem. It’s beautiful and full of activities even after you’ve finished the main story, but it is horribly littered with clichés.
Your character is the chosen one, fighting in a war between light and dark, because destiny and fate… blah, blah, blah.
Which means that, for all its charms, there’s only so much you can take from Lost Ark. Oh, well, back to Elden Ring I go.
Guild Wars 2: End Of Dragons (PC, £25.99)
Verdict: Start of something
You’re welcome. No, literally, you are welcome. Whether you’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 for all of its decade-long existence, or whether you are new to the fantasy world (yes, another one) of Tyria, this new expansion, End Of Dragons, will welcome you in with a smile and a song.
Joining an MMORPG (yes, another one) more than ten years late can be an exercise in futility
End Of Dragons lays out its story and systems so carefully that I never felt out of place
Or at least that’s how I, a total fledging, felt while playing through End Of Dragons.
Joining an MMORPG (yes, another one) more than ten years late can be an exercise in futility; you’re so behind on the story and have so few digital pals that you’ll never catch up.
But End Of Dragons lays out its story and systems so carefully that I never felt out of place. It’s even enjoyable if you ignore everyone else and treat it as more of a solo pursuit — walking towards the horizon to find something to do.
And you will, even if that something is just gawping at the scenery. This new corner of Tyria, called the Canthan continent and clearly inspired by Imperial China, is a beautiful swirl of cherry blossom pink and jade green.
Although the main point is to click your way to victory against various beasties, it also accommodates those — like me — who would prefer to just go fishing.
I presume that there is much in End Of Dragon’s twisty-turny story and new gameplay features that will delight veterans, but I can’t be sure… yet. Come back to me in a few years, when I’m a guild warrior of renown.