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Everquest: Depths of Darkhollow

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Media: CD/1
Players: 1000\'s

Graphics & Sound:

It’s amazing the staying power that Sony Online Entertainment’s flagship title Everquest has. After 10 expansions and over 6 years of service, the player numbers are slowly dropping but, on the whole, the game is still going strong with thousands of devote fans. Depths of Darkhollow is the ninth or tenth expansiom in the Everquest series, depending on how you classify Legacy of Ykesha, and takes the game in a new direction from where it has been in the last two years.

Despite the age of the Everquest engine, their artists continue to improve the quality of the game’s visuals with each iteration. The claustrophobic caverns and underworlds of Darkhollow are a distinct change of pace from the large, open areas found in Omens of War and Dragons of Norrath. Of the new models featured in the game, the playable monsters and clockwork machinations are the most impressive and lend an atmosphere of gritty but traditional fantasy that has not been felt since Planes of Power. As far as audio goes, Darkhollow adds a handful of new sounds and musical scores that continue the tradition that Everquest players have come to expect.


Not a great deal has changed in the grand scope of Everquest; this is still the same game we’ve all come to love and spouses have all come to loathe. The major addition Depths of Darkhollow introduces is the ability to play as new monsters. For the first time ever, you are not stuck being that drab old warrior you’ve always been. You can slip into the role of a healer or berserker without having to level up a new character. Your new monster persona will be roughly the same level as your character and you'll be given a pool of points you can use to customize the abilities and statistics of your individual monster persona.

Unfortunately, this wonderful idea is executed in an extremely cumbersome manner, through the use of monster shrouds. The change into a monster can only be made, and removed, from a specific NPC. For example, every registered Darkhollow use is given a fang. There is no direction or indication of where this fang will be used. You’ll have to ask a player, or wander aimlessly for hours, to stumble upon the specific NPC that will accept the fang and give you a gargoyle shroud. The only place you change into the gargoyle, or back into a player, is at this NPC. Everquest is an extremely big world at this point, even with all the shortcut options available to players. Players shouldn’t be trapped in an alternate persona with no way to revert to their original self without traveling halfway across the globe.


Everquest remains as challenging as ever in Depths of Darkhollow. These new subterranean realms under Nektulos Forest are willed with Drachnids and clockwork monsters that will test the strength of any group, and a group you will need if you want to do just about anything down there; these monsters are mean.

Game Mechanics:

In addition to monster shrouds and new monster missions, yes that’s right monster missions, Depths of Darkhollow introduces a very intriguing new design idea, evolving items. While many MMORPG’s up to this point have had items that may require you to be a certain level to use all its bonuses, Darkhollow brings item evolution to the next level with items that can literally change form and function as you level up. Once one of these new items meets specific requirements, it can be brought to special machines in the new zones that will literally cause the item to “evolve”. Some of these items are even sentient and may speak to you. I dunno about you, but that’s pretty cool.

It's tough to keep a game as huge and aged as Everquest fresh and new, but Darkhollow pushes the envelope in ways that feel very natural, using sentient items, and may change the way you play completely with the inclusion of monster shrouds.

-Alucard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Stephen Triche

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/SE/2000/ME/XP, Pentium II 400, 256MB RAM, ATI Radeon 7500/NVidia Ge Force 1 equivalent or greater, DirectX compatible sound card, 28.8k+ internet connection, 500MB hard drive space, DirectX 9.0b

Test System:

Windows XP, Pentium IV 2.8Ghz, 1024MB RAM, ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB, Sound Blaster Audigy 2

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated