Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

First Impressions: Forsaken World


Perfect World Entertainment's latest title, Forsaken World, is made to sound like the polar opposite of Perfect World, the older flagship title that serves as Forsaken World's foundation. When I first heard about this newer project, I was enthused. After all, I wasn't really fond of Perfect World. I thought it was too stale and linear. Still, I have admired Perfect World Entertainment for a long time, mainly because the company knows its audience and does really good work. Its games are flexible when it comes to system requirements, and its titles fit all sorts of different players and age ranges.

Also, the developers claimed that Forsaken World would be a game made for a "Western audience." Of course this means absolutely nothing to me, being that there are easily millions and millions of players for decidedly "Eastern" games like Nexon titles or other large publishers, so I figured that PWE meant to say that it was a game made for those snootier Western players who consider free-to-play games to be nothing but point-and-click junk. Strangely enough, PWE got the WASD movement wrong in Forsaken World. I have no idea how or why this was missed, but the "Western" audience will notice, I promise.

Click past the cut and let's talk about everything I loved about the game -- and a few things I did not.

So, about those controls. Generally, when you say your game is a "WASD" game, that means that W moves the avatar on the screen forward. Check; Forsaken World has that. Then, the S key moves him backward -- no, not turned around toward the camera -- just step backward. OK, the game has that right. But the A key makes the character turn -- along with the camera -- to the left and D to the right. Why on Earth would I want A to make my character turn to the left, while leaving the camera where it was before? Now I have to hold down right-click and turn the camera myself. It might not sound like a big deal, but for players like yours truly who have wrist pain issues a lot of the time (a very common ailment), this is a big deal. Look at World of Warcraft. That's a "Western"-style camera control.

So I decided to turn the camera up and at an angle, sort of Diablo-style. I've done this before and it worked out perfectly on a lot of games that muck up the "WASD" style of control. And to be honest, this worked out just fine. In town, I would drive my character using the auto-pathing that the quests provide, and when I got to a mob or scene of beauty or action, I would look around with the camera by holding down right click. Your first hour within the game is spent looking around, anyway, so I got pretty comfortable relatively fast. I knew I had to find the famous "tied-up-dragon" and take a screenshot with him, and I did. What an awesome sight... does this mean I will be fighting dragons that look like this later on in the game?

Let's talk a bit about the auto-pathing feature that is always controversial. First of all, it is an optional tool for those who would rather not drive their characters to a certain spot. Perfect World has been including this in its games for a while now, and it's pretty common to see it in a lot of other games. You simply open the quest and click on the highlighted word -- be it a mob, NPC or location -- and your character is walked there automatically. I look at this several ways. First, this is the same as /following a friend, and it's a good opportunity to look around while you are being "driven." Second, this is good for disabled players or players with mobility issues. I used to hate the idea of it, but that was before I had to write as much as I do now. Last, it is the same as systems found in many other games that simulate travel. Many MUDs do this, as do games with limited graphics. Again, if you have an issue with the auto-pathing ability, you can simply choose to not use it.

"My stoneman created such a wonderful noise when he slammed his hammer down on creatures that I thought other players would complain."

Once you get to your selected mob or location, combat is beautiful. My stoneman created such a wonderful noise when he slammed his hammer down on creatures that I thought other players would complain. Every little detail about combat and the interface has been lovingly crafted, from the buttons to the spell effects. Yes, this means that your PC might take a hit in performance, but I found that the only real areas of lag (down to about 10 or 15 FPS) were in towns. Outside, it ran and looked great -- and that was on my older gaming PC.

You will be going on a lot of "kill 10 rats" quests, but in between you get to discover more cool areas and abilities. There is a certain NPC who will give you up to 10 quests per day, which guarantees you some easy experience and rewards. At the time of this writing, I am around level 18 and have only played this character a few days! I've also spent much of my time within the town, learning how to cook and craft. Life skills such as alchemy and cooking are nothing surprising in practice, but they do feel fresh when you consider how early you get such abilities and how useful the items you make seem. It sort of hit me by surprise when I was asked to gather several flowers, return them back to the NPC in town, and make a potion with them. Once I did, I realized that I had just made a small stack of potions that were more powerful than anything I had looted yet. Awesome -- I was self-sufficient!

With 16 jobs available, you will probably never run out of things to do. I was able to have three at once (although I am not sure whether that number changes later) and happily stood by the other crafters making potions, drinks, and other items. I even received a portable fire pit with which I could cook, something that is also perfect for roleplay. As I went on more and more missions, killing monsters and gathering materials, it all slowly started to flow together. Whatever I might have thought about this game before, it was starting to feel really put-together and streamlined. The ever-present Perfect World grind is still there, but it has been lessened and tempered with the introduction of the other abilities, jobs, and beautiful sights.

"With enough saving and work, any player can participate in the cash shop. Everyone is welcome."

The cash shop is a mix of useful items from mounts and appearance items to experience potions and crafting goods, but none of them could be called "power" items. Also, the cash-shop items can be sold to other players, and players who do not wish to put down a credit card or other form of payment can also trade in-game gold for cash-shop cash. That means that with enough saving and work, any player can participate in the cash shop. Everyone is welcome. It's a move that I wish more developers would make, and it gives the cash shop a real balance while still keeping that feeling of utility and impulsiveness.

To be honest, I have not had nearly as much time in this game as I would want to give any sort of great first impression. I have played it before, since the early betas, but now it just feels completely different. It feels much more epic and closer to the vision that the developers talked about. I'd say that Perfect World really has broken its own mold with Forsaken World. I am not so sure what "Western" means, especially being that PWE's own line of games shows just how varied the Western audience can be, but the company has made a game that feels more familiar. I am glad that PWE has taken the look of the game further away from Perfect World than any of its other titles and that it has crafted a world that feels fresh and epic. It's a perfect game for those players who want nothing but to grind until their fingers bleed, but it can also be for players who want to jump in for an hour or two a day and still feel like something was achieved -- like I do. The crafting is not really original, but it's powerful, varied, and fun, and the combat is a blast even though you are grinding a lot of the time.

If you would like to give the game a try, go to the official website. You can also have a free cool pet, courtesy of Massively, by going to this link. They are going fast, so grab yours now! See you in game!

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr