TERA is a game that I’ve been looking forward to playing since the first time I saw it at PAX 2010. Does the game live up to 2 years worth of hype or does it fall flat like a 2 Liter of soda left open at a BBQ?
According to En Masse Entertainment: TERA takes the fight beyond whack-a-mole monotony with enhanced aiming, dodging, and tactical timing to create intense and rewarding combat. Unlike other MMOs, you can use your controller or keyboard and mouse to control the action like never before. With all the depth you expect from a traditional MMO, plus the intense gratification of action combat, TERA changes all the rules.
|Operating System||Windows XP (32 Bit Only)*, Vista, or 7
(Latest Service Pack)
|Windows XP (32 Bit Only)*, Vista, or 7
(Latest Service Pack)
|Processor Speed||AMD Athlon64 3200+ or,
INTEL Pentium4 3.20GHZ
|AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ or,
INTEL Core2 Duo E6750
|Video Card||ATI Radeon X1600XT or,
NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT
|ATI Radeon HD 3870 or,
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT
|DirectX Version||9.0C or Greater||9.0C or Greater|
|Hard Drive Space||50GB Free (For Digital Edition) or 30GB (For Physical)||50GB Free (For Digital Edition) or 30GB (For physical)|
|Optical Drive||DVD-ROM Drive||DVD-ROM Drive|
Pros and Cons
Character creation is a pretty standard fare, although the addition of being able to add a voice to your character for in-game grunts and miscellaneous sounds is a nice touch. While some of the race were a little similar, there were a few standouts. The Popori (small, cute, baby panda, pokemanish race) and the Elin. While the Popori are a nice addition, and definitely the farthest from human in the game, the Elin are a little creepy, in my opinion. The “little girl” look that they sport is not something that I want in the game. Maybe it’s just because I have a young daughter, but I found that every time I saw an Elin in game, I felt a little creeped out.
There are a variety of classes, including several different type of melee fighters, which is nice to see. Let’s take a look at the classes real quick before we move along:
- The Archer – A ranged damage dealing specialist. What’s different in TERA. Movement. Holly crap I can run around, and HAVE to run around, as ranged DPS. Also, charged attacks, where you hold the attack button to get a stronger attack, are a nice part of the Archer arsonal.
- Sorcerer – The sorcerer is your typical magic user, but once again, the amount of movement possible, and required, makes things very exciting during combat.
- Mystic – A Buff/Debuff class with some light healing and pets. I couldn’t really connect with this class, but others I spoke to enjoyed it a great deal.
- Priest – Your straight forward healer, with the change that you can’t “select” players to heal through the UI, so your spells are AOE based, or you must target players using the reticle.
- Berserker – A melee fighter carying a big-ass 2 handed weapon, killin’ everything in sight. The Berserker’s hook is to require player to keep fighting to gain Mana Points that can then be used on special attack.
- Slayer – Another 2 handed weapons wielder, the Slayer
- Warrior – I found the Warrior to be a great deal of fun, and a perfect class to choose if you’re going to use a controller (we’ll talk about that later). A dual wielding DPS fighter, the warrior can also double as an evasion tank.
- Lancer – The mainstay tank in the game, the lancer uses a shield, and, ummm, yeah, a lance. It’s the de facto tank, and as such, quite slow with the kills when soloing, but very survivable.
The world itself looks great, but doesn’t have much personality for me. I found myself simply getting through the world, noticing a really cool looking spot, then moving on. Nothing felt “real” to me. Maybe it was the pixilated way that mobs spawned in front of me, reminding me that I was in a video game, or maybe it was the lack of interesting/engaging NPCs, but I was never sucked into the game world.
I was also very frustrated by the intro area. A bland world, set in the past, where you play as your character, but not really as your character. More like your character’s level 20 dopleganger. You start the game with all sorts of abilities, go through the tutorial learning how to use them, just to be dropped back down to level one when you leave the zone, and missing all of those abilities that you just got used the. The only good thing about the tutorial is that you only have to do it once per server.
Combat is a blast. Fun to not worry about casting time (mostly) and be able to/have to move so much during the fight.
Using the Xbox 360 controller worked reasonably well, more so for melee combat than for ranged combat. While it might just be my lack of expertise with shooters on gamepads, I found it hard to target mobs while fighting. Running around slashing everything while in melee worked really well though.
I never really got bored of the combat portion, and fighting BAMs (Big Ass Monsters) or dungeon bosses required more than the typical “stand there and fight” that most previous MMOs have had.
This was the biggest disappointment to me. I found that the quests were generic, boring, not very imaginative. While in some games I’ve found myself getting involved in the game, reading the quest text, by the time I got to level 20, I found myself skimming the text and just getting on with the quest.
The problem was that the majority of the quests were go to Y and kill 10 X quests. Those are fun for a while, and the combat system in TERA helps to drag out the fun to some degree, overall, it’s just not enough for me.
Overall, the questing and leveling experience felt like a huge grind to me. I didn’t enjoy my time in the world as much as I enjoyed looking at the beautiful environment that surrounded me.
There is a story in the game, but it pokes its head out from the monotonous quests so rarely and randomly that I found it hard to follow it, or to invest any feeling regarding the direction that the story was taking.
Instances are very well done. While I’ve only had the pleasure of running through the two lowest level dungeons (Bastion of Lok and Sinestral Manor) I did find them a little on the easy side, which is perfect for starter dungeons. As players (some of whom may be new to MMOs or gaming in general) start to experience dungeons, developers want to slowly increase the difficulty of the content. You don’t want new players getting scared away by the first dungeon.
While some hardcore players may be disappointed by this choice, they’re not going to be going through those dungeons very much anyways, as they’ll be screaming through the levels.
I tried, and I tried, and I tried, but I never found the crafting interesting in-game. The simplistic match and mix effect, and the difficulty that I had in finding recipes, made this a frustrating experience more than anything else. I’m perfectly willing to admit that it might just be me, but there also wasn’t a strong feeling in the guild that I took a part in that people could make gear for other guild mates.
For those of you who haven’t heard about it, the Vanarach System is a system by which players elect a leader once per month to lead a zone in the game. The zone’s Vanarch can set which vendors are open or closed, what “tax” there is on sales (money which goes straight to the Vanarch) among other things. It’s a unique system, which I haven’t really seen in games before. During my day-to-day playing, it didn’t really seem to make much of a difference for me. I would think that it could very well make a difference at end game.
It’s the little things that matter:
1) Dance animations are awesome.
2) A controller system that actually works (mostly) in an MMO.
3) The Stamina system is a great way to deal with a death penalty.
4) Few travel points in game mean lots of running.
I was incredibly impressed with the combat system in TERA. It was fun, energetic and exciting. The rest of the game, unfortunately, felt like Aion, but for all the wrong reasons. The crafting and questing felt grindy, and the world, while beautiful, lacked a compelling story or interesting NPCs.
I would recommend that those interested in the action combat try the game, as I’m sure that it will gain a following. If only the rest of the game rewarded players with the same amount of fun.
2/4 – Glancing Blow
1 out of 4 – Miss: Disappointing, just like rolling a 1 to hit
2 out of 4 – Glancing Blow: A good attempt that doesn’t quite connect
3 out of 4 – Hit: Solid, but falls short of greatness
4 out of 4 – Critical Hit: So awesome it makes us want to /dance
|Print article||This entry was posted by Chris on June 22, 2012 at 12:21 am, and is filed under Game Reviews, General, MMO Reporter Podcast, Reviews. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|