Lineage II: The Chaotic Throne: The Kamael Review - 19/02/2008

Lineage II is one of the better-known alternatives to Blizzard's behemoth World of Warcraft, and after four years of tweaking, refining and improving, the Kamael is just the icing on a very fat cake.

NCsoft have added a surprising amount to the game with this pseudo-expansion. This extends a product that was already packed full of features designed to keep you playing all day and all night, to tear families apart, get people sacked from their jobs, and generally ruin your life, but in the best and most enjoyable way possible.

As the name suggests, The Kamael adds a new race to the mix (as well as a lot more), making it perfect for anyone who has just about exhausted all the opportunities presented in the previous iterations. It's not the usual idea where a new race just has a couple of missions and is never mentioned again - the Kamael are woven into the game world flawlessly, and hold plenty of specific attributes and traits to warrant starting afresh. Most interesting is the ability to capture the souls of potential enemies. They look great too, as one winged, fantastical figures - also able to create advanced Kamael weapons out of the standard items in the game - a clever addition that makes the new race fit in brilliantly.

The Kamael look superb, and add something new to the game world.

Their home, the Isle of Souls, looks suitably dark and imposing. It suits the race down to the ground, and looks like something straight out of Oblivion, with fire; black, atmospheric colours; and gothic architecture. If the Kamael don't sound like your cup of tea though (you're a nice friendly chap who would never condone eating people's souls), there's plenty that NCsoft have included specifically for your perusal.

Items-wise, there are hordes of new wares for you to purchase and collect. These are aimed at all levels of player, and include armour, clothing, and much more. It's what you'd expect from such an expansion, but the fact that there's plenty there for everyone is good to know. Extra pets to protect you in times of need are also bundled in, should you need them.

There are some new dungeons focusing on solo-play, where you can concentrate on leveling up without having to worry about who's coming up behind you like in the main game world. This prevents things from getting chaotic inside too; the usual scenario sees monsters continually respawning with so many players doing the same quest, which often just looks scrappy in MMORPGs.

The graphics haven't come on as much as you might expect, but it still boasts some impressive scenes.

There are also many tweaks that have substantially improved the playability, accessibility and levels of polish in Lineage II. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the inventory and market systems have been completely reworked. You can now manually organise your bag and inventory, which may seem a given for new players, but is something that's plagued high levellers since the game's launch. It's standard nowadays in other games, so is a much overdue implementation really. As for the market, when selling you can now put all your wares on display, regardless of supply and demand. Before, you were limited as to how many of each item you could place for sale. If you were specialising in a certain type of item, this could be bloody annoying, to put it lightly. Now you can leave Lineage alone for a whole day, to spend time with loved ones and so on, and come back to find that people are still buying your stuff, rather than only ever having a few of each item available for customers and having to continuously stock up.

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