Generally favorable reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
Buy On
  1. An absolute blast to play, especially with friends online or off. If you love action RPG's then I can't imagine you'd find a better one than this.
  2. 90
    As for controls, combat and inventory-sorting are quick and clean. Spellcasting can be frustrating, though, as aiming projectiles is often a trial-by-error process. [March 2005, p.90]
  3. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    The limits to which the team has managed to stretch the PS2's capacity are pretty amazing - it's hard to believe this is the same graphics engine that was used in the first game. [March 2005, p.98]
  4. Cheat Code Central
    It's quite possible that Champions: Return to Arms is the best hack and slash game ever created. Unfortunately it has been built atop the foundation of "Champions of Norrath." So much so that fans of that game may feel somewhat betrayed that Return to Arms is so similar.
  5. The whole experience is beautifully rendered in high resolution, which makes for some sumptuous details in the graphics.
  6. Pelit (Finland)
    The sequel to Champions of Norrath offers a neat and entertaining package of addictive hack 'n' slash action - but is it really that difficult to implement a proper story? [Mar. 05]
  7. Branching stories break the monotony of replaying the game.
  8. It's totally fun and addicting to play.
  9. In fairness to games out there that are sequels, and actually bring something new to the table, to call this game a sequel is to do those other games an injustice. Champions: Return to Arms is an expansion pack, if anything.
  10. Multiplayer is THE way to play this game and Champions: Return to Arms adds a few twists to the series.
  11. For those of you fans of the original wishing for better online support should definitely check out Return to Arms, because I think it just may have what you are looking for.
  12. The only real weakness of the combat engine at all is the lack of any sort of auto-targeting system, which makes using ranged weaponry frustrating.
  13. 80
    Offers enough playability and action to satisfy any action RPG fan, but it lacks the intricate story and involving quests that would lure in traditional role-playing vets.
  14. The number of times I got ripped apart by wild dogs made me regret ever wanting to be a lizard. Didn’t stop me coming back for more, though.
  15. PSM Magazine
    It's pretty - really, really pretty, with smooth animations, dynamic lighting, and remarkably detailed, solid-looking textures... [But] the story execution falls a bit short. [Feb 2005, p.70]
  16. Over 100 hours of game play through 50 levels of sword-swinging, spell-casting combat, thousands of new weapons and equipment, and two new characters (the fighting furry Vah Shir and the lizardman Iksar) will keep you huffing at trucker speed through the wee hours.
  17. Yet, even with newly included character classes, new gameplay features and a cleaner online system, the fact still remains that Return To Arms is a title with relatively few advancements within the formula.
  18. Game Informer
    Though everything is very well-done, it's difficult to shake the feeling that I've been playing this game since "Diablo" came out on PC in 1997. [March 2005, p.124]
  19. With branching paths that can lead to good or evil and a multiplayer mode that kicks major tail Return to Arms is more hack-and-slash action worth checking out.
  20. It’s unfortunate that this sequel has the blender feel to it, as the original game was a blast to play.
  21. A solid dungeon hack, but after four years of the same, the formula is wearing a bit thin. Return to Arm’s biggest failure is that it feels too much like an expansion pack instead of a shiny, brand new game.
  22. Solid game, just not that much different than the first.
  23. A better game than the original, but only slightly. With new abilities for old classes, attempts at new classes, and a few new features such as improved online play and ‘side-quests’, this emerges as the spiritual descendent of "Diablo II."
  24. Hack and slash a-go-go. It’s a good game because the play is pretty much identical to an older good game.
  25. If you liked the Diablo series or the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance series, then you will not be disappointed with Champions: Return to Arms.
  26. The improvements that Champions: Return to Arms makes over its predecessors are modest, and after four years of roughly the same game, the fundamental formula is starting to feel a little tired.
  27. netjak
    It is better than its predecessor, but it hurts itself by trying to employ too many platforming elements.
  28. 76
    Those who have played the other games like this could very well be scratching their heads at why they're playing the same game as before. The old thrills are still here and it's possible to get right back into it as before, but the same rush and level of addiction is harder to attain this time around.
  29. May not be the most original game, but in the end, it’s a fun one. If you want to spend a weekend hacking and slashing alone or with online buddies, you can’t go wrong with this game.
  30. Play Magazine
    Give Return to Arms credit for maintaining a good level of strategy and balance to the action. [March 2005, p.54]
  31. Doesn’t deviate much from Champions of Norrath—not nearly enough to be convincing as a true sequel. It carries the torch from the first game and is still just as fun as the original. Players expecting new advances in gameplay may be disappointed but don’t let that detract you.
  32. 75
    A great game but the fact that everything it delivers has been seen and done before brings it down.
  33. Novices, however, should start with simpler fare such as the Baldur's Gate games, which are easy budget pickups these days, or the excellent X-Men: Legends for that matter.
  34. 75
    Doesn't offer enough of these diversions, subjecting the bulk of the adventuring to an endless procession of serpentine dungeons, where killing some entrenched boss figures counts as variety.

Awards & Rankings

#63 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2005
#40 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. JoshB.
    May 11, 2005
    Best rpg game ever!
  2. IvanF.
    Feb 24, 2005
    Yeah, its basically the same game, but it is fun to play. The side quests and the option to return to planes that have been completed are a Yeah, its basically the same game, but it is fun to play. The side quests and the option to return to planes that have been completed are a welcome addition. Return to Arms would have received a 9 if there were not an annoying bug in the very last boss fight. I simply could not rotate the camera without the game being stuck. Other than that, I am very satisfied that Sony and Snowblind have enhanced one of my favorite games. I am about to beat the Return to Arms for the second time to raise my character's level to 80. Full Review »
  3. Dec 27, 2012
    Absolutely love this game! The story is a little weak but the game play beats any hack and slash dungeon crawler ever made. It looksAbsolutely love this game! The story is a little weak but the game play beats any hack and slash dungeon crawler ever made. It looks beautiful and moves quick enough that it's impossible to get bored and put down the controller I wish developers would make more games like this one. Plus there is nothing more fun than having a friend over or 3 for some excellent co-op action. A PC port or remake would be nice with controller support. This game made be buy a PS2 again just for this game. Full Review »