For example, if I wanted to locate the bank, I would open up an information window, go into a few more selections until I found the city and then the bank, then either try to find my way there or click on auto-walk to get there. Once there, I would have to join the bank then ask why the bank didn't allow me to store items in addition to money. Then I would find out that the only city with item storage is Rome, so then I'd need to open up the information book to find Rome, only to discover that I had no way of getting there until level 20.
So then I would need to find an NPC through the book, auto-path to him or her to sell the goods that were taking up way too much room in my inventory, then double-click on the quest so I could double-click and auto-path my way top the NPC who gave me the quest (since the quest's mobs were not linked in the book), then continue on with my quests that would result in my bags becoming full again. Phew.
Click past the cut and let me tell you all about it.
Could Atlantica Online, even with its turn-based combat and crazy monsters, be one of the most truthfully immersive games I have come across?
OK, let's not go that far. Still, it needs to be noted that whatever the design goals for this game, it certainly gives you a lot to do and think about. The previously mentioned turn-based combat is a lot of fun and makes the usual string of kill-ten-rats quests much less of a boring grind and much more like an ever-tightening game of strategy. When you walk around the world, you are represented by a single avatar, but in combat, you are that same avatar with up to nine mercenaries who fight with you. You can have ranged- or magic-users, sword-wielding heavy-hitters, or even vikings!
Combatants take turns hitting each other, and turns are long enough to allow room for some pretty cool decisions. You can move a non-injured merc in front of another so that damage is redirected, and you have to consider flying units or ranged units when taking your turn. Generally you can get a way with clicking madly and watching the carnage, but boss fights and mobs that are higher level than you can easily kick your butt. I attacked a tree monster for a quest, and he killed me within two or three turns. I saw how he did it, adjusted my strategy, and came back to beat him down.
"The login screen shows a large battle of probably two or three players, which amounts to scores of mobs and mercs once you figure in the size of the mini-armies."
Recently I sat down with the Atlantica Online developers as they took me through some of the more open, table-top style missions that had just come out in a recent patch. At level 20, players can take a limited number of mercs into a map that allows for free movement yet is still turn-based. You can take over certain buildings and use those buildings to make vehicles, and weather has an actual effect on the outcome. I was impressed then, especially with the table-top feel of the game, but now I just want to hit level 20 so I can try it some more.
But back to one of my original points: Could Atlantica Online be a truly immersive game world? I think so. The "realistic" travel and spread-out world were at first a little shocking. Then I was shocked that it's been so long since I had played a game using my "Rules of Immersion" (a set of rules that govern everything from realistic movement to eating) that I had forgotten that most "inconveniences" are really just the result of years of pampering. My character has two legs; he'll be fine using them.
Next week I will be taking a look at CrimeCraft, the "poor man's APB." I heard how horrible this game was from almost everyone I asked, so that makes me want to play it even more. Join me on the Exeter server; my character's name is Beau. Or come shoot me, of course.
Now, go log in!
Each week, Rise and Shiny asks you to download and try a different free-to-play, indie or unusual game, chosen by me, Beau Hindman. I welcome any suggestions for games -- drop me a note in the comments or email! You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Raptr!