Guild Wars 2 is a few brushstrokes short of a masterpiece,

This makes for a satisfyingly open combat system. You’re still tapping number keys, but battling is far less static than in other MMOGs. GW2 has a dodge – double-tap a direction – and it’s expected you’ll use it to avoid attacks before they connect in realtime. It’s not an action game, but it’s closer than the genre’s got before, so battles demand a new level of focus.

Particularly when combat is so tough. Bosses in the game’s dungeons – currently eight story-led runs through gauntlets of tough enemies, necessitating a powerful group – can feel more like a Dark Souls enemy than a World Of Warcraft foe, forcing assailants to learn attack patterns and movements, not simply their own skill rotation. Sadly, some of these foes fall back on the MMORPG’s shortcut for increasing an enemy’s difficulty: a big health bar. Skill gives way to grind as players fall into muscle-memory routine.

It’s a shame that the game still relies on this grind, especially when it tries so hard to respect the player elsewhere. Without a subscription fee, the most valuable thing you’ll be giving gw2 gold on a regular basis is time. Other MMOGs artificially inflate their worlds, forcing players to walk everywhere and sift through hours of busywork to progress. GW2 jettisons that approach, making fast travel easy and stuffing the map with things to do. The result is a game that rarely overstays its welcome, but when it does, it’s oddly more disappointing than it would be in something lesser.

Guild Wars 2 is a few brushstrokes short of a masterpiece, then, but ArenaNet has succeeded in trying to paint over the worst of the genre’s cracks. Thanks to a rigorous programme of restoration, only sometimes do its underlying imperfections show through the glossy veneer


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