Jun 19, 2009

Game Review: PlaneShift

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On my never-ending quest to find an affordable Mac compatible "Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game" (known more commonly as MMORPG, or affectionately, MMO), a friend of mine stumbled upon this little gem called PlaneShift. I am a RoadRunner subscriber so, naturally, the game took about an hour and 40 mins to download, but after that install and registration were pretty quick.

The graphics were pretty terrible. My friend that found the game plays WoW so I was expecting a harsh critique from him, but after I started playing I realized that he wasn't just being a game-snob. The visual character customization was almost nonexistent. While there were very few options for differentiation most of them didn't work. Not all of the races were even available, and some were only available in one gender, and the names of the races were pretty lame and unusually hard to pronounce. The character naming system was also lacking... Instead of going with a general username system where the entire input is taken into consideration, you are required to have both a unique first and last name. Which means that in any combination you cannot have the same first OR last name as any other player.

The character background/history customization was pretty cool. You did have the option of skipping through to just choose a class. But if you decided to customize you start out with a certain amount of CP (I'm assuming either character points, or customization points) and using those you could select a birth month, a religion, parents names and occupations, life events, hobbies, etc. Each option had a certain amount of CP cost, and you choose your options until you run out of points. Each option also has a description with a short story or background information that hints towards what traits it would contribute to, and once you finish it essentially makes a custom "class" for your character based on the history.

Once I got into the game though I was a little more disappointed, mostly amused by the graphics, but I didn't even make it through the tutorial because the gameplay was so painstaking. Before we started playing we read that there were a lot of bugs, especially mac bugs, but of course it is only an Alpha game so it was expected. The biggest bug the game has is that your character can very easily get stuck in walls, it is apparently so bad that they even tell you a command ("/unstick") to use when you start up the game. Talking to NPCs, though, was probably the most painstaking part of the game. To begin with there are massive amounts of unnecessary/repetitive text to keep up with, and then when it is your turn to respond you have to type your response to the NPC. The difficult part about this is your phrasing and spelling has to be just right or else you can't continue. Very reminiscent of the classic, but primitive, text-adventure games.

One of the bugs I came across personally (and spent pretty close to a half hour trying to figure out) was how to give something to the NPC. Normally if you right-click on an NPC an options menu comes up, but as those of you who own Macs know that unless you have a mighty mouse (which I do) there is no right-click button. For those of you who are tech saavy you already know this, but the game does also point out the ctrl+click method which does act exactly like the pc-version of the right click menu. The problem was that using both the right-click button on my mighty mouse AND the ctrl+click method with my touchpad, yielded no results. I tried every combination of buttons I could think of, as well as every combination of text commands I could think of and all I got was the line "This NPC is impervious to attack!". I finally came up with the "/give" command, with the help of my friend, which seems like a given but the tutorial hadn't even mentioned "/" commands yet. Up until this point it had only used basic verbal commands like "yes", "ready", "continue", and "give me the book".

Okay, so yes it is a free game and that explains a lot, but I have played other free MMOs that were actually pretty good (of course the problem was that they were all on PC, because free usually doesn't mean "mac compatible"). But I don't even really think that I could say, for what it is, that this game is worth it. Graphic were lacking, gameplay was obnoxious and visual customization was nonexistant. So I guess I'll either just have to wait until PerfectWorld or Runes Of Magic makes a mac version, or until I buy a copy of windows and start running boot camp (which I really don't think I have space on my harddrive for). Overall I would consider this a Mac MMO Fail.

1 comment:

  1. Well at least we know that there are good games that you like. It's just the matter of finding out a way for you to play them!


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