The Playstation 2 was one of, if not, the most successful selling consoles in video game history. By March 23, 2012, well over 150 million units were sold worldwide, a record in the gaming industry. To help make it so successful, a library of over three thousand games was created, and Champions: Return To Arms, is a hidden gem waiting to be looted from that treasure chest at the end of the dungeon.
Champions: Return To Arms is an action/adventure role-playing game (RPG) developed by Snowblind Studios for the Playstation 2 on February 7, 2009 in North America, released in the UK a month later. It acts as a direct sequel to Champions Of Norrath.
Champions takes place in the universe of the once-popular role-playing game Everquest, and follows the hero as they travel through the Planes Of Power, facing down monstrous beasts and deadly enemies.
Champions: Return To Arms allows the player to create a character from seven races, each one different from one another and armed with a different class.
- Human Barbarians, while having virtually no regenerating mana, are powerful melee characters that can soak up damage and use all weapons and armors in the game.
- Wood Elf Rangers are long-ranged characters, using bows and spells from a distance but are weak in close range combat.
- High Elf Clerics combine blunt weapon damage and holy spells to defeat their foes. They know powerful healing magic and deal significant damage to undead foes.
- Erudite Wizards are proficient magic users, and use their powerful magic to overcome their enemies, though their physical damage stats aren't something to be proud of.
- Dark Elf Shadowknights are a versatile group to play, as they combine both melee and spell damage. Their spells cost more mana to use, but they can weaken groups of enemies at once.
- Iksar Shamans are lizard-like in appearance, and have a fast regenerating mana stat which aids in boosting their physical damage and protection.
- Vah Shir Berserkers resemble big cats in appearance and play similar to human barbarians, but have a regenerating mana, and are proficient in throwing axes.
Also in the game are two paths to play, which changes the missions. On the path of good, the players need to destroy the shards of Innoruuk, Prince of Evil (main boss from the first game) in order to save the Planes of Power. If the players choose to go down the path of evil, they need to collect the shards in order to resurrect Innoruuk.
The game also supported offline and online co-op, which allowed up to four people to play together.
In addition to the main game, there was the arena mode which allowed players to battle their characters against each other or survive against waves of creatures that got harder as time passed.
Slaying The Dragon: The Positive
Champions: Return To Arms is a game that can be replayed multiple times for different experiences, something that makes a good role-playing game that you'll want to come back to.
With different playable characters that have their own strengths and weaknesses, hundreds of pieces of gear to collect, maze-like environments that players can explore in a Diablo-esque dungeon crawler, side-quests to keep the players busy, and several enemies to slay, it's an experience to savor.
Losing Your Progress: The Negative
Champions: Return To Arms has some flaws to be noticed. The combat system is a simple "mash X to attack" which can get repetitive at times, the character customization is limited, the plot is the generic "save everything from oblivion" RPG story, and unless you don't get upset easily, you'll throw your controller at the wall at how many times you'll die at the minions with its difficulty.
Booting It Up: The Final Review
Despite the flaws, Champions is still a game that can be enjoyed by many. I give it a 8/10 and suggest that if you have an operational Playstation 2, go find a copy somewhere and become a legendary hero.