Westwood Studios Presents Nox

An Action RPG with a strong story. Sounds great, doesn't it?

By Dan Calderman

       Has the thought of playing Capture The Flag in an action RPG setting ever crossed your mind? How about two teams of real players, all as Warriors, going at it in an intense game of Flag Ball? Of course, the title would also need a compelling storyline that would keep even the most hard-core RPGamers happy throughout the single-player section of the game. Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? Why hasn't anyone done such a thing yet, you may ask? Fortunately, someone has.

Line of sight matters
Line of sight matters

       Westwood Studios, creators of many great PC series including Command & Conquer and Lands of Lore, has made a strong effort with their upcoming game, Nox. Nox would be considered your classic action RPG with a topdown view of your character so that you are able to see the action all around you. The title features lush graphics that are quite pleasing to the eye and many different terrain types providing a good variety so that the player will not get bored easily with the look. Of course, there are also many CG animated cut-scenes throughout the game to help progress the storyline, as well.

       As the player, you will be Jack, an auto mechanic that lives in a trailer pack in south central Florida. Jack is a normal denizen of Earth, you could say; however, he certainly does not have a normal task before him. Some sort of cosmic accident plucks Jack out of Earth and summons him to the world of Nox, which is in a current state of great distress. An evil sorceress by the name of Hecubah has wreaked havoc across Nox and the only way that Jack will be able to return to Earth is to defeat her and return the land to its once peaceful times.

Great spell effects
Great spell effects

       When Jack first lands upon Nox, he will have a choice between three professions that he can follow: Warrior, Conjurer, or Wizard. The Warrior is a master of melee combat and can wear almost all armor types, including the extremely bulky and powerful plate armor. The Conjurer is a master of the Woods and uses summoning magic in conjunction with some offensive magic; the Conjurer is also able to wield bows and don leather armor. And finally, the Wizard is the master of offensive magic, blasting his foes away with powerful lightning bolts and fireballs; the Wizard typically uses staves and wears magical robes.

       Depending upon the path that you take, the storyline will unfold differently; each class will have a unique storyline of its own to follow. Jack will, of course, fight powerful monsters and go on epic quests to complete the thirty-three chapters of the game. With the completion of each chapter, Jack will learn new abilities to aid him in his quest, and become stronger. This is definitely quite a large game which will keep even veteran RPGamers occupied for some time.

Great looking terrain

       Now, when speaking of replayability for PC games, it usually has more to do with the multiplayer aspect than the single-player portion of the game. This is where Nox shines. There are five very addictive types of multiplayer games that can be played: Capture the Flag, Arena Death, Elimination, King of the Realm, and Flag Ball. Each of these game types are fast-paced and action packed. These different types of play are usually made for first person shooters, but the innovation Westwood Studios has shown with doing this in an action RPG is simply wonderful.

       In Capture the Flag, you will work as a team with other players. Each team will have their own flag, which they must guard from opposing teams. The object is to infiltrate the enemy team's fortress and capture their flag, and then return it to your own fortress to earn points. Arena Death is a deathmatch of sorts, but with no limits. Players will die and come back for more, and keep coming back. The player or team with the most kills when the game ends will be the winner. Elimination is just that--elimination. Once you're dead, you're out. The last person or team alive will win. King of the Realm is an interesting type of play: you will have to find the crown somewhere in the level, and keep possession of it. The only way to accumulate points is to make kills while wearing the crown; both single and team play are available. And finally, there is Flag Ball, which is also quite interesting. Each team will guard a flag and an orb will randomly spawn at different places on the map. In order to score points, a player must find the orb, pick it up, and throw it (and hit) an opposing team's flag.

       To put it rather bluntly, Westwood Studios has created an excellent product that will keep many players happy for a long while. The single-player portion of the game has a rich and long story, and the multiplayer portion is a fast-paced roller-coaster ride of adrenaline. Look for this one on store shelves on February 16th for your personal computer; you won't be disappointed with it.

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