Fallen Earth: First Impressions

November 2, 2009 at 5:58 am | Posted in fallen earth, General | 4 Comments
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Wotcha everyone,

Thanks to the 14 day free trial available from Massively, MMORPG and The Escapist, I got to spend a couple of hours with Fallen Earth, without having to shell out any cash.  Now whilst some people think that a free trial shortly after launch is a sign of impending doom, I think it might be the reverse for Fallen Earth; I think Icarus have decided to capitalise on the good word that’s being spread about their baby, by letting people have a decent amount of time to make their own minds up.  Well, I appreciate it.

I got to play through the tutorial, and then run through a few quests that seemed designed to help me learn how things worked in normal gameplay.  Then a couple of friends popped ‘round for a brew, so I stopped playing.

My first impressions were very positive.  Yes, it’s easy to be positive in the first couple of hours of playing; the gloss of NEW can make even a floating turd seem positive.  So here’s why:

It reminded me of Star Wars Galaxies. Yay.  I miss Star Wars Galaxies.  The dual-natured user interface, and the feeling that I can do whatever I want within the game is something that I discovered surprisingly nostalgic, and appealing.

I got some Converse All-Stars. I love my Chuck Taylors.  I’m not a fashionable person, as I like to think that fashion is something that happens to other people.  I’ve had a number of pairs of Converse All-Stars, so to find them as a clothing option was a lovely surprise.  An alt may be end up going all street with a pair of Adidas, but Hawley wears All-Stars.  Honestly, it made my day.  Yeah, they’re not fully licensed pixel-perfect reproductions, but a close enough homage for me to smile whenever I look at them.

The learning curve is sharp. And quite possibly has jagged rocks waiting at the bottom. More nostalgia; when I first started playing Everquest, one of the things that really made me take note was the fact that there was no save and reload.  It was all live, and happening now.  Strangely, I was reminded of this shortly after appearing in the game proper, when I was half eaten by a dog-sized ant.  Just after that, I was dedded by another dog-sized ant.  Yet rather than the usual sigh-and-respawn, I guiltily looked around to see if anyone had noticed me making an arse of myself; that hasn’t happened in a long time.

It’s not pretty. Fallout looks better, which is saying something. The game isn’t as pretty as some, but then again it doesn’t look ugly.  And what it does do really well is suit its subject matter well.  The impression of a post-apocalyptic world is very well realised.  Heck, I even went and had a look at a ruined house, because it looked interesting.  And I’m not an explorer type.

Controls aren’t intuitive. It took me a while to even start figuring out combat. Instead of running around levelling at high speed, I was forced to spend a while experimenting with stuff.  Including how the combat works, how best to use the UI, and generally how to interact with the world.  Again, it reminded me of Star Wars Galaxies, which could be charming in its lack of intuit.  Is a game that is easy to figure out better than a game that takes time to figure out, but is “easy when you know how”?

Help Channel! With added GM! Okay, this was a new one for me.  No, not a help channel for players, but a GM actually interacting with the civvies, the population at large?  I know people who’ve spoken with (or been spoken at by) GMs, but never have I seen one actively moderating a public channel before.  This was a new thing, and made me wonder what GMs are doing in other games.  Conversation in the Help Channel could be a little robust at times, but there was the GM to give a gentle nudge back on topic, all nice and friendly.  I think this was one of the things that impressed me most about Fallen Earth.

Horse. Yes, I got a horse. It seems to me that most horses in MMOs are used as an incentive, as a reward for continuing to play.  Yet here is Hawley, just having learned how to equip weapons and now he’s got a horse.  It’s as if there was a definite design choice to stop being silly about an arbitrary number, and just let people travel quickly.  Of course, it’s countered by a decided lack of teleportation, but it’s early level running between quest areas that can become a real chore, so thumbs up from me.

This is not a game for the faint of heart.  The interface is a beast, and sometimes it seems that it’s actually working against me, but it also has some wonderful little touches.  Combat is another; getting used to how combat works will take time.  In many ways, this is the dark other to Aion’s shining light-filled being.

Where Aion is a game that was fantastically easy to pick up and play, Fallen Earth is something that demands time to learn how to play.  In Aion, it was possible to hit the ground running.  In Fallen Earth, I’ve had to relearn how to tie my shoe-laces

Am I sold?  Well, I’ll have an answer for you in two weeks or less.  It’s certainly a slow-burner, and I’m really appreciative of the two weeks I’ll have to look at it, and make a decision.  Ta muchly, Icarus.

Cheers,

Hawley.

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4 Comments »

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  1. This review sounds like it could equally be written for Eve online, which I’d say was quite a good game to be compaired to.

    That said, I didn’t get a horse in Eve…though I did get to keep dancing girls in my hanger bay so it’s about even

  2. It’s strange to see where so many other games are criticized for their lack of tutorials and the harsh environment players are thrust into, Fallen Earth simply thrives on it.

  3. I so agree with you. I was curious about Fallen Earth for the first couple weeks, but the tales about the difficulty, lack of tutorials etc made me hesitant. I picked up a trial key at Massively, and after a week I am definitely sold on this one. I love how they accomplished to create an atmosphere that fits the setting, I love the open landscape where you can just ride on and explore the scenery, the little humorous details, a reasonably complex crafting system, the list goes on. I am not sure if I’ll stick with it on the long run, but at least for the next couple months I’ll definitely get me a subscription.

  4. […] Hawley re: Fallen Earth – “In Fallen Earth, I’ve had to relearn how to tie my shoe-laces.” […]


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