Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 51
  2. Negative: 0 out of 51
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  1. Right from the start in the tree kingdom of Kelethin, you are plunged into hack’n’slash heaven. The graphics are some of the best on the PS2, and there is plenty of variation in the gameplay.
  2. AceGamez
    Champions of Norrath melds action and adventure with RPG and although it's not a huge departure from previously, it's definitely worth a stab, or more specifically, a crushing overhead hammer blow.
  3. The learning curve is small, the action is plentiful and gameplay is awesome.
  4. The best dungeon crawler I can remember on any platform, the superb interface, and super polished gameplay allow anyone to be able to pick up and enjoy this one.
  5. The game supports up to four players either online or off, and the randomly-generated content, from the vividly-detailed levels to the 10,000-plus items and random enemy placement, help make Champions of Norrath one of the most replayable games on the market.
  6. The only really damning thing I have to say has little to do with Norrath and more to do with the license. The world of Everquest is so boring and so derivative that I never got the feeling I was in some amazing fantasy world while playing.
  7. CoN glued me to my couch for hours on end with its refined take on the genre. It certainly hasn’t revolutionized the genre, but it’s pushing the genre in the direction it should be going and in the end, that’s almost as good.
  8. I love the fact that the arrows actually stick to enemies when you shoot them. It is extremely clear when you face a boss; looking at the side on which you fire, you can see how many times he has been hit.
  9. Play Magazine
    It's a sweeping, exquisitely crafted, hopelessly addictive adventure that ignites a wondrous spirit of gaming past...A magnificent action-RPG and a terrifically fun video game. [Feb 2004, p.44]
  10. A lot of time and effort was put into making sure that a good strong continuous game was played. The player does not feel disjointed by going into a new zone or another act. It is all tied in very well.
  11. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    Though not the never-ending chain of quests found in a "real" EverQuest game, Champions certainly stands as the longest, deepest title in the "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance' vein yet seen on a console. [Mar 2004, p.102]
  12. 90
    Ah, multiplayer, how I love thee. Multiplayer in Champions of Norrath is incredible.
  13. This game has little to do with Everquest, but it has everything to do with simple hack and slash action and plenty of features to keep you coming back.
  14. This is in fact the cream of the crop of Action RPG's.
  15. A very enjoyable dungeon romp for players who prefer action to character development and storyline.
  16. CoN is as graphically polished and diverse a hack and slash as you can get and is easily one of the most visually impressive games on the PS2.
  17. A very solid title with a ton of fighting, a complex yet satisfying plotline and plenty of replay value. Even more, the deep weapon creation system and multiplayer play (flawed, yet hosting nice features) provides a worthwhile adventure for any action or role-playing game fan.
  18. PSM Magazine
    It's the prettiest, the deepest, the biggest, and thanks to online play and randomly-generated levels, the most replayable action RPG available today. [Mar 2004, p.24]
  19. Prettier, deeper, lengthier, and more challenging than any other dungeon crawler out there, Champions of Norrath is the definitive game for hack-n-slash aficionados.
  20. You'll be hard-pressed to find another mutiplayer adventure as engaging and addicting as this one on any console, and gamers looking to add to their admittedly slim online collections won't be disappointed in the experience that awaits them here.
  21. 90
    It's gorgeous, long, deep, and fun, and that extra level of challenge should whet the appetites of gamers bored with typical hack-n-slash. [Mar 2004, p.84]
  22. CoN offers so much enjoyable gameplay between different character combinations, items and difficulty levels that it is an exceptionally worthwhile purchase.
  23. Champions of Norrath looks absolutely breathtaking.
  24. 89
    The story is forgettable, but the action takes steps away from the button-mashing of other dungeon crawlers and brings more strategy into the genre.
  25. Offers up the deepest dungeon crawling experience in the console universe to date. [Feb 2004, p.94]
  26. Although it borrows heavily from "Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II," Champions of Norrath: Realms of Everquest is an improved experience full of visual and audio beauty, and outstanding gameplay.
  27. The skill set, particularly, is wonderfully varied and a no-nonsense dream for combat.
  28. This game is for the hack and slash fan who enjoys a lot of action with their RPG titles vs. a lot of story and character stuff which is a definite 180 turn from the MMORPG style that EQ is commonly known for.
  29. The developers have taken one of the most popular mega multiplayer games around and created a highly structured, very playable single player game from the Everquest universe.
    Not only does multi-play work, it... you get the idea. We don't want to detract from the goodness that is Baldur's Gate but even a mother who loves both her sons has a favourite. This is ours.
  31. All-in-all, a great game. But you must realize what you’re getting into - despite the gloss and the big name it’s still a repetitive hack ‘n’ slash adventure with RPG leanings.
  32. That all of this fun is hampered somewhat by some noticeable bugs, which could have and should have been addressed before the game's release, is a shame. However, Champions of Norrath is still truly great, warts and all.
  33. 85
    Like the best of Japanese-developed games, the artistry is spot on. It's artful and visually varied, and the soundtrack is appealing if slightly bombastic. Although the online options lag behind the quality of the rest of the game, this is a four-star title through and through.
  34. The core components that make up the game experience--the graphics, the sound, the actual gameplay--all come together to create an experience that is, across the board, better than the original "Dark Alliance" and better than any of Champions' current rivals.
  35. netjak
    The controls are tight and responsive and only really pose a problem when trying to switch between different skills. Two skills can be assigned to face buttons on the controller, but switching to a third is a bit unwieldy, especially in the midst of battle.
  36. A fantastic sophomore effort from Snowblind Studios, and is easily the best of the games spawned by the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance engine Snowblind originally created.
  37. With more than 50 areas to explore, a random dungeon generator - so that each time you play the dungeons are unique - and over 10,000 randomly placed items, this game has a little more depth than just your regular garden variety hack n' slash RPG.
  38. Does what it sets out to do with aplomb. It’s a larger, more complete game than "BG:DA" and offers enough enhancements to please RPG and action geeks alike.
  39. Champions reminds me of the classic action of "Gauntlet," only with infinitely more depth. Fantastic visuals, fun combat, complex and superbly designed dungeons, and even an engaging story line combine to keep players enraptured. [March 2004, p.116]
  40. Cheat Code Central
    Nothing short of scintillating. Any developer that can breath life into a standard hack-and-slash, dungeon crawl style game has certainly got my attention.
  41. While the result stumbles just short of enshrinement as a legend, the defining bar has been raised, again.
  42. 80
    The only warning you need: Watch out for bugs that range from slight inconveniences to ones that completely stunt your progress.
  43. It's not really a case of great or inspiring innovation, but it is a solid use of the Snowblind engine into an engaging title.
  44. 80
    It's great news that Champions of Norrath's rich world, filled with smoothly progressing danger and engaging action, is an excellent title for fans of the genre, both online and off.
  45. There are a few bugs that should have been ironed out pre-release but nothing significant enough to take away from the core gameplay. This hack-n-slash is a must have for any RPG lover.
  46. Throw in three difficulty levels and multiplayer support (with either a Multitap or a Network Adaptor) and you've got a lengthy and highly replayable adventure. [Mar 2004, p.86]
  47. games(TM)
    If your appetite for RPGs is insatiable ... then four-way multiplayer and online capabilities are excuse enough for a purchase. [Apr 2004, p.116]
  48. Edge Magazine
    It's in traditional multiplayer (and to some degree singleplayer) where the game shines and attains that perfect shallowness of being both addictive and immediately forgettable - until the next go. [Apr 2004, p.109]
  49. In a very narrow sense, Champions provides a set of features and a whole lot of polish to keep things interesting for its audience and the online modes go a long way in extending things even further.
  50. Like a fast food menu item, Champions of Norrath isn't going to be an experience for the player to relish and pontificate upon later, but it will serve excellently as a quick nosh for those hungry for mindless action.
  51. There's no doubt that plenty of fun is to be had; it's simply that much of it is hindered by poor design choices.

Awards & Rankings

#35 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
#22 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 88
  2. Negative: 8 out of 88
  1. Mar 31, 2014
    This is PS2 RPG perfection! People keep a PS3 around just to play this game! You will love this game and can import your characters into theThis is PS2 RPG perfection! People keep a PS3 around just to play this game! You will love this game and can import your characters into the sequel too! Full Review »
  2. Nov 5, 2013
    This was the game that made me realize how saturated the hack-n-slash genre was at the time. With Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 beingThis was the game that made me realize how saturated the hack-n-slash genre was at the time. With Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 being released just a few weeks before, this felt more like a hack-n-slash fix that took advantage of the popularity of the genre. With that said, it's still pretty good. A few bugs, but none that ruined the game for me.

    I did feel the game lacked a well thought out narrative, because to be honest it felt pretty generic and really did not leave much of an impression. Visually it impressive and gameplay is as fun as any other hack-n-slash game.

    Champions of Norrath isn't the best game of it's genre, in fact it's pretty standard and rather generic. But it is allot of fun and (aside from the bugs) a technical marvel (of the time.)
    Full Review »
  3. MateusC.
    Feb 3, 2006
    Better than Diablo and Dungeon Siege, this is the definitivie 'hack and slash' action RPG ever.