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The Wheel of Time uses the Unreal Engine and the single player gameplay is in many ways typical of first person shooters of the time. In place of guns, players use over thirty Ter'Angreal (powerful artifacts from the
Wheel of Time universe). Some are directly comparable to normal FPS guns, such as the fireball being nearly identical in function to an Unreal or Quake style rocket launcher. Others are more unusual for a FPS, as they produce defense-oriented effects, such as shields for each element and a mirror that can be used to redirect magical seeking missiles back at the caster.
The story focuses on Eleyna, an Aes Sedai (i.e.
sorceress), who is tasked with recovering stolen seals, which if destroyed could unleash the Dark One. Although this description seems trite, the game was praised for its story on release. Compared to most FPS at the time, it was very story heavy with over 60 minutes of cut scenes. The plot allowed the player to encounter many of the locations and enemies featured in the books such as the corrupted and abandoned city of Shadar Logoth and a Whitecloak fortress. The scenery stood out from other typically sci-fi themed shooters and is an aspect of the game that was widely praised.
The multiplayer featured two modes, which was low compared to the giants of the genre. One was deathmatch, which (because of the weapon set up) played differently enough from Unreal or Quake DM to make it worth playing. The other was Citadel, which is similar to CTF, but again offered an interesting twist with the ability to set up various defenses around your base (such as NPC guards, mines and other magical traps). Loyal fans played the multiplayer modes for years after release.
The most obvious problem with the game is its inaccessibility to fans of the books who might not play FPS typically. It has also been criticized for being a fantasy FPS, instead of some variety of RPG. A common complaint is that despite the fact that two of the four playable characters represent factions with access to the One Power, no magical ability outside of Ter'Angreal use is possible.