Eye of the Beholder 2


Title		Eye of the Beholder 2
Game Type	RPG
Players		1
Company		SSI/US Gold
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibility	020 + (?)
Submission	William Payne

Review
Eye of the Beholder 2 is generally regarded as the best game in its
series, expanding on the advances made in the first-person RPG genre by
EOB1, but without getting hitched up in the technical difficulties and
over-complicated play mechanics that many people felt ruined EOB3 (Amiga
owners at the time seemed to agree that they weren't missing much when US
Gold reported that the final game was not being developed for their
platform).

The game started out by having the player generating a party of four
adventurers to boldly sally forth in the general direction of some fairly
ambiguous ancient evil. Personally, I preferred the slightly more in-depth
approach to character statistics used by Dungeon Master, a game to which
this series is often thought of as a kind of spiritual successor, but
EOB's use of deliberately simplified statistics works fine too, so there's
not much to complain about there.

But it isn't long before the first innovation hits home. Its a simple
one, but nevertheless effective, and something I'd been thinking about
since first playing Dungeon Master. Rather than restricting the game
environment to atmospheric, but eventually boring, caverns and dungeons
and such, the first section takes place in a forest, home to several packs
of vicious wolves and a creepy old lady. Its only a graphical thing (the
walls that restrict the playerís movement being drawn to look like dense
foliage, rather than dank stone walls) but I was impressed at the time and
it somehow alters the feel of the game in an effective way.

There's also a lot more emphasis on plot line and character interaction,
with more characters that donít just try and suck out your brains as soon
as they see you. There are more NPCís to join your party as well.

The game is also noticeably larger, and it certainly takes longer to reach
the final encounter, but fortunately this isn't because the designers have
simply put in more identical corridors full of cloned creatures. The
diversity of both environment and enemies is much greater than it was in
EOB1, and in Dungeon Master as well.

As I mentioned before, itís a long game, and pretty tough, and by the time
you've fought your way through to the final level and defeated the big
baddy (twice) you'll feel like you've achieved something, which is always
important with games that require a large chunk of your life to work
through. Luckily I look back at the weeks I devoted to this particular
game as more of a pleasure than a chore.




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