The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Guildhall Game Corner

Anarchy Online: Alien Invasion

I am not an Everquest junkie. In fact, when I tried the game, Iwasn’t overly impressed by it. So when I began to reviewAnarchy Online: Alien Invasion (PC), the third AnarchyOnline expansion pack by Funcom, I was intrigued by theevolution of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game(MMORPG) genre.

Briefly, the game places you on an alien world called Rubi-Kaand lets you decide which faction you wish to join – OmniTek, the all-powerful corporation controlling much of the worldstechnology and resources; The Clan, battling against Omni-Tek tofree the world from corporate tyranny; or Neutral, working with andagainst both The Clans and Omni-Tek. But rather than placing you indungeons or a fantasy elf-orc-dwarf world, Anarchy Online isbased in a science-fiction world full of technology — acomplete change from everything that had gone before.



The gameplay itself is essentially the same as with any otherMMORPG — gain experience (called XP) and upgrade your skills.With four races and 14 classes available, there is enough variationto allow virtually any style of play.

But I found the initial character choices confusing, evenintimidating, as I couldn’t see any defined benefits tochoosing a particular race or class. So I chose to be a Soldier— when in doubt, go for what you know.

Once in the game, you are transported (via a short cinematic) toThe Training Grounds, where you can begin to improve yourcharacter.

One good design choice made in this game is that you cannotleave the Training Grounds until you have reached Level 2 (startingat Level 1, your character “levels up” by gaining XPthrough fighting simple animal enemies) or have gained 1,000credits. This ensures that you have a firm grasp of the gamemechanics and style of play before venturing into the moredangerous (but ultimately more rewarding) parts of the game.

And this is where Alien Invasion begins to shine. Onceout of the Training Grounds, you have the ability to start your owncolony — small to begin with but gaining power, influence andfollowers over time — and even trigger an alien invasion.

An exciting departure from the usual “kill hardermonsters” routine, this gameplay device enables you to feelthat you are actually in control of something larger than just yourcharacter.

Organizations can be formed, allowing trade between colonies,fighting off the aliens to protect your colony.

Your choice of affiliation (Omni-Tek, Clan, Neutral) can affecthow others see you in the game — you may be attacked by anopposition gang, you may receive preferential treatment in certainshops, you can even help take over the world of Rubi-Ka.



The graphics are actually quite disappointing, even shoddy inplaces. Models seem unnatural and extremely basic, characteranimations are horrible (although the enemy animations, oddly incontrast, are quite good and varied enough for you to tell enemiesapart from a distance).

But the worst part, in my opinion, is the textures; the worldseems very flat, covered with a bright ambient light in many areasthat does nothing but wash out the colors of what could be a veryinteresting game.

Compare this game side-by-side to others in the genre, such asLineage 2 by NCSoft and EverQuest by Sony OnlineEntertainment, and the difference in visual quality is staggering.It’s difficult to understand why this is, as this expansionpack is newer than both of those games.



The appeal of this game is that you are placed into a Sci-Firole-playing game and you are able to control your own towns andcities.

This is what appealed to me at the start, but unfortunately myinterest in the game has decreased. The interesting and, at times,exciting gameplay is marred irreparably by the poor graphicalquality.


The Guildhall at SMU is an intense 18-month certificateprogram in digital game development. The curriculum was designed byexpert teachers working with leaders in the gaming industry toprovide students with a solid foundation in gamedevelopment.



Gaming Briefs

At midnight on Tuesday, Earth will never be the same again andneither will gamers as Halo 2 (Xbox) makes its planetarydebut. Beginning at 10 p.m. on Monday game enthusiasts are expectedto line up at the Blockbuster store at 6437 Hillcrest Ave. to getthe first copies of Halo 2.

Halo 2 will be available to rent or buy at midnight onNov. 9, at GAME RUSH.

Halo 2 is one of the most eagerly awaited games of 2004.An estimated 1.5 million copies have been pre-sold and itspredecessor, Halo: Combat Evolved, sold more than fivemillion copies.

First day Halo 2 sales are expected to exceed $100million and could top the opening weekend box office earnings forthe highest grossing Hollywood film ever released —Spider-Man ($114.8 million).

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