The story is immersive - you are involved at every turn with another battle or quest, many of which lead into a cinematic which furthers the feeling of involvement. The cutscenes often involve your character speaking to a key figure in the game about something that has been, or needs to be, done. This brings more of a feeling of accomplishment than your standard MMO quest - you feel as if you are needed to do the specific task and that you aren't just another person doing this quest yet again.
Character creation begins by picking one of six classes and then changing your appearance and coming up with a name. After you enter the world you will be asked to go on a couple of small quests, which serve as your introduction to the game. Once you are finished with these quests, you will be asked to choose a second class. Your secondary class won't be any weaker than your main class unless you choose to make it that way; it all depends on where you put your spec points. Also, you are totally unable to permanently screw up your character, due to the constant flow of respecialization points given. This means if one setup isn't working to well, or you would just like to try something new, you can just change around some points in abilities and try again.
Controls are very easy to get used to, you can either move with the keyboard or click to move. Fighting can be accomplished by clicking on an enemy to auto-attack, while using one your myriad of abilities from either your main or secondary classes. These abilities may include raining fire down on your enemies, healing, or even raising the dead. Zones other than cities and towns are instanced, which (unless you're in a group) means no competing for mobs or treasure. Also groups can be filled with henchmen or hired fighters that don't compete for drops of any sort, yet can be at totally invaluable. Many quests can only be done in groups - you can choose between the henchmen or other players. This takes away the time spent waiting for a group. Another point that sets Guild Wars apart is the lack of professions. If you want a piece of armor or a weapon made, you have to find a merchant to make it for you; you just provide the materials and money to create it.
The way Guild Wars tackles PvP is also interesting. You can use your normally leveled character if you choose, with skills you have earned throughout your adventures. However, you can also create a brand new character that starts at level 20 and has access to any skills you have found while playing the game with your non-PVP character (aka roleplaying character). This way, you can try out new character builds in PVP without having to level up a completely new character each time you want to do something different. This idea is really fun, and allows friends to all get together and run through PVP battles even if they haven't all leveled up together.
Graphically the game is very beautiful. The terrain all flows together and fits the story. In terms of environment it's all there - the little sounds that you might expect like people chatting and wind blowing are all in just the right places. The character and monster models all have their own unique look and sound. Fabrics, in addition to looking pretty, seem to flow off the body instead of just hang. Graphics for spells and abilities are matched perfectly, as well as the sound created when using such abilities.
Overall, this game succeeds in many areas. The game is fast and easy to get into - it doesn't take too long at all to level, and the option to PVP with high level characters is there from the moment you install the game. The graphics and sound are excellent and fit the environment well. The game uses familiar controls for anyone that has played an MMO before - hotkey bars, movement via the arrow keys (or click-to-move for some MMO veterans) and clicking on monsters to fight. Finally, the game eliminates the need to wait for one last person to fill a group, and makes most content accessible to solo players by allowing henchmen to be recruited into the group.
This is definitely one game that I'd recommend - both to people looking for something different from the standard MMO fare and those wondering just what the heck this genre of games is all about.