The worst thing that could happen while playing an RPG happened to me. I stopped caring about the story. Worse still, it happened so early on that it tainted the fifty hours or so of gameplay after it happened. I don’t think I can really blame R.A. Salvatore for that. After all, he’s one of my all-time favorite fantasy writers. In recent years however his Forgotten Realms novels have been a bit bland. I attribute that more to a genre and/or story setting running out of steam than anything else. Still, without a story that grabs you, the game just falls apart.
If I had to describe this game to someone in a single sentence, I suppose I’d say it’s the demo, rinsed and repeated, about twenty-five to thirty times over. Reveal the map, loot, button mash enemies and move on. Throw in dozens of fetch quests and you’ve pretty much got this one nailed. How this differs from other games in the genre, is that you don’t really care why or how it get’s done, just as long as it does. The MMORPG background and ambitions of this team are clear. When you take the social aspect out of an MMO, you have nothing left but an empty, soulless game of repetition.
- Excellent map features with easy to read labels and symbols.
- Solid voice acting.
- Good sound effects.
- Colourful art style that’s a nice break from the earth tones of the last couple of years.
- Decent combat with plenty of variety.
- Lots of freedom in exploration.
- Good dialog system.
- Crafting systems are a nice alternative to merchants.
- Decent hairstyles for character customization for a change.
- A boring story that gets old really fast.
- Landscapes and enemies are just variations of one another as you travel through each new area.
- Multi-class system isn’t the awesome feature it’s touted to be.
- Endless fetch quests make sidequesting a blur of repetition.
- The world is huge, but with very little in it.
- Janky camera that gets annoying sometimes.
- Menus are clunky and time-consuming.
- Mini games for lockpicking and dispelling are an unnecessary distraction.
- The ending including the final battle was anticlimactic and short.
- Music is bland and forgettable.
Overall, this is a solid game but far from what they advertised it to be. A safe first entry for a new company that’s looking into the MMO genre as it’s next big project. Even the all-star team put together to build this, couldn’t shake the lonely, empty MMO feeling. The two hundred hours of gameplay? Please. Even if you didn’t fast travel I don’t think you could even hit half of that unless you spent many hours just mindlessly wandering with no direction. I fully explored the map, hit the level forty cap, leaving only a dozen or so fetch quests unfinished and I only hit seventy hours or so. While it was an OK experience, there isn’t any replay value. It’s a game that caters to a certain player and unfortunately, I wasn’t it.
7.25/10 (including the .5 for a decent haircut!)