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Nox

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Westwood Studios
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 32
Genre: RPG/ Action/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Noxís graphics are quite lavish. Theyíre 3D-based sprites in a 2D world, much like, err, Diablo. The settings themselves and the various models are much more lush than Diabloís, however, and the line of sight algorithm is extremely cool-looking to see in action. Not to mention, your character actually reflects what heís wearing, armor- and weapon-wise. Very cool.

The sound in the game is good, with decent music, nothing really memorable, but great sound effects... with the possible exception of the spell casting nonsense chat that gets pretty grating after a few play throughs. In general, however, Noxís graphics and sound are very good or excellent.


Gameplay:

Remember a little game called Diablo? Nox is like that, only more so. In one-upping Blizzardís classic, Nox succeeds wildly in some areas... and fails in others. Overall, though, itís a damn fun game.

Youíre Jack, or -insert your name here-, called to a strange new world by an orb sitting on top of your television and thrown into a quest to save the world from the evil clutches of the Necromancer(ess?) Hecubah. At the beginning of the game, you pick a class, be it Warrior with brute strength and not much else, Wizard with much magic but weak combat ability, or Conjuror with the ability to fight and to charm and summon beasts. Each class has its benefits and detriments, and which you pick really depends on your style. Much like in Diablo, new players should pick Warriors until they get the game down, and then branch out into the other classes.

One of the coolest things about Nox is the fact that the game is different depending on which class you pick. You start in different locations, and although you end up traversing the same land to stop Hecubah, the things you do are different. Itís really cool to be playing single-player and revisit areas you did with a previous character as a previous class. The single-player game itself is damn fun, with a variety of quests, gorgeous maps, and fun gameplay.

One of the main draws of Nox is its multiplayer capabilities, and itís definitely a great multiplayer game. Here is where it most diverges from its Diablo-esque past. Noxís multiplayer reminds me more of a tight game of Unreal Tournament than it does the rather languid play of Diablo on battle.net. Westwood Online offers servers galore, with different types of play modes, once you sign up for the free service. Thereís old-school Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Last Man Standing, and others to keep you interested. Inevitably, being an old CTF maven, I find myself playing that and having a blast. Each serverís flag in Nox is different-colored depending on what its ping is, giving you a great indication of how good the game will be when you get there. Either game mode does have its issues, however. The controls are somewhat clumsy until you get used to them, and pushing items using only the mouse gets to be a real hassle at times, as itís hard to do with precision. Luckily, the fun of the game more than makes up for these little problems.


Difficulty:

Once youíve mastered the controls, Nox strikes a good balance between breezy gameplay and difficult scenarios. Watch out for enemies that kick your sorry ass around the block a few times before you figure out what to do with them, though, as they can be a source of much frustration.

Game Mechanics:

Movement in the game is totally mouse-driven, and has some problems as stated above. The hotkeys for spells and potions and such are easy to remember (some are even on the screen!) and easy to use, which is a serious plus. The game plays very smoothly, and you can always turn various details off or lower to make the game move faster with very little degradation of appearance.

Nox is a great game in the action-RPG vein -- not the best ever made, but certainly one worth your time if youíve been looking for something with a little more action than the common fare in the genre. Its multiplayer support is grand, and the single-player ainít shabby either. Overall, Nox is a good little game from Westwood that, despite its problems, will give you many hours of enjoyment both on the ĎNet and off.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



P2 or P200 MMX, 32 MB RAM, 300MB HD Space, Win98/98/NT, 2MB Video RAM, 8x CD-ROM, Sound card, mouse
 

Test System:



AMD K6/2 400 MHz, 128MB Ram, 44X CD, Nvidia TNT 2 Graphics Accelerator

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated