It may labour under one of the blandest names yet devised, and contain some equally unimaginative character designs, but beneath it all Champions of Norrath is actually really good. The game is based within the EverQuest universe but this does little to offset the preposterously uninteresting plot and setting. In fact it's all too easy to dismiss the game out of hand until you realise it has been developed by the people behind the original version of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Just like Dark Alliance, Champions of Norrath is an action RPG that's heavy on the action and light on all the other boring stuff. It's essentially Gauntlet for the 21st century and could almost be described as a shoot-'em-up if it weren't for the role-playing elements that see you gaining experience points and constantly replacing your armour, weapons and other items. Apart from the excellent graphics (which, despite a bit of slow down, are some of the best ever seen on the PS2) the main draw with Champions of Norrath is its multiplayer cooperative mode--particularly the online option. Played with some trustworthy friends this is as excellent as it sounds, although Sony have been rather naive with the trading system, which makes it all too easy to get ripped off by errant traders. Despite this, Champions of Norrath works extremely well and although it's utterly unoriginal it's certainly the best Western-styled action RPG lately, beating both Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes and Dark Alliance II. --David Jenkins
- The original Champions of Norrath game is not needed to play Champions - Return to Arms
- Seven fully customizable Playable Characters. Select from Barbarian Warrior, Wood Elf Ranger, Dark Elf Shadowknight, High Elf Cleric, Erudite Wizard, and two new race/class combinations - the Vah Shir Berserker and Iksar Shaman.
- New skills, abilities, weapons and armor for every character type
- More than 10,000 items and the ability to create your own item
- Dynamic story with alternate good and evil paths featuring many of your favorite characters from the original game.