December 24, 2012
If you are a gamer that loves the fantasy realm of RPGs, can’t really find time to jump into level grinding MMOs, but would rather play something fast paced like an FPS and start creating chaos from Jump Street, then Forge is your calling. Forge is a by-product of the fast pace of an FPS in an MMO premise that works very well together. Forge is also a game chosen by the community through Valve’s Greenlight program so it can be distributed through Steam. Unfortunately, on release the game has suffered the “Run out of money” syndrome.
Apparently developer Dark Valve games had issues in finances during production. It hasn’t stopped the game from seeing light, but at the cost of releasing an unfinished game. Now when I mean unfinished, it’s not that the game is unplayable, but rather basic features are unavailable such as mode selection and character customization that it makes you think twice about what you paid for. I haven’t been in the MMORPG PVP (Letters Much?) scene in a long time, but jumping into Forge I found it a great welcoming back and with a fresh take on gameplay. It’s an enjoyable return with what features it has.
In most common MMOs, and even the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft, the visual aspects of the game are usually lacking when compared to what the modern game’s graphics can dish out. Forge breaks that trend and pushes its visuals to a higher level. The stages are rendered well which is nice to see the details in what you are fighting in than just some dungeon or forest with bland textures. The artwork sets itself in the MMO, with the fantasy realm designed classes showing off character with every little detail of their design. Though the animations of the characters are pretty awesome to look at, the special effects of some moves can still retain some bland feel to them; but as long as the damage is there who cares right? Lightning bolt! As in the visuals are great to see, the sounds however fails to impress as much. You’ll be hearing more grunts, stabs, and pierces before you notice the music. It’s your typical fantasy realm epic medleys with horns and all, but you’re not in this game for the music. No, you’re there for the chaos.
Right from the beginning Forge has done away with the traditional Tab-to-Target mechanic for the much faster paced real-time shooter way. Think of it like Team Fortress 2 aiming mechanic, but third person and very fast paced. It was very apparent that+, especially with the Pathfinder class, aiming was very precise and I’m ecstatic with it. The controls are very simple using the WSAD format. And instead of using the 1-0 number keys for special skills, the surrounding keys are used for convenience.
Movement is a big under-rated element in the gameplay. While jumping feels clunky and very stale, it’s the wall jumping that takes the cake. I have used the wall jumping abilities to evade foes, and even in some cases obtain a better position to give me advantage. Though a simple ability, it also drains your energy which is used for your other abilities; so it’s all about subtlety and much more thinking on your part. You bounce around all the walls for no reason, you’ll find yourself helpless to the arsenal of the your opponent and your left with just a swinging axe or a few arrows to chuck before you’re burned to a crisp.
As Forge borrows its controls for battle from shooters, its character classes pay homage to the classics… Almost. You can choose from Pathfinder, Pyromancer, Shamans, and ever loving Assassins. These classes have the trinity of Healers, DPS, and Tanks with Rangers thrown in the mix. So if you have had any prior experience with MMOs or even RPGs in general, you’ll know what they can do. With the variety of classes mentioned I found myself favoring the Pathfinder. I’m not a tank or a healer, but I’ll snipe you from a carefully chosen spot a few miles away (like a man!). I’ll make due with a bow and a variety of special arrows to make it hard for you to kill me. In case you don’t know which class to take on, there is a training option in which you can pick each class and test drive them with all their moves and mobility options. The tips screen is very helpful to get any questions answered early on when you are figuring out how much damage your character can dish out.
Once you get your mind set on what to play, you’re ready for the good old level grinding to show your superiority over others. What? No level grinding? Yeah one of the features in Forge is that leveling your characters isn’t a major factor in fighting against others. There is character growth, but it is a shallow pond compared to the seas of customization in other MMOs. Once you setup your character you can dive right in and be on equal grounds with any one character, as long as it’s not a bad matchup (Fucking Assassins!).
Routinely you’d want to have a strong character to hold your ground, but in Forge emphasis is put towards team play. True, it is a norm in this kind of genre (unless you have a godlike character) to work together; but it really is the golden rule in the realm of Forge. At the time of this review Forge was just released and mentioned from my earlier rant it is somewhat incomplete. You don’t have control over your character customization – as in everybody looks the same. To some it’s not a problem, but in an MMO you’re supposed to forge (Hah!) an identity and you start with how you look. Though there will be implementation for it later on, it still doesn’t hinder it from being a great experience. Another aspect that really didn’t sit right with me was the mode select. You can only chose Random from the usual assorted Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, etc. modes. It does let you experience the other modes and objectives in the game, but it would be nice to pick instead of having one shoved in my face with no choice. Though you could just back out and try again, but who wants to do that?
Forge was just released, but already has gotten some attention; both good and bad. The overall experience is so much fun to play and the feedback, even during gameplay in the chat, is fairly positive. Though in a much unfinished state, the fresh take on the battle system is more than enough to keep you playing until it’s expanded. Every time you exit the game you’ll get a splash screen with sadly a laundry list of things to come. But look at the bright side, Forge is tons of fun now with what it has to offer and it’s only going to get better from there.
Out Of 5
Good to see some MMOs with nice graphics, the great ones now still have some muddy textures but Forge has created some good looking sceneries to spill blood.
The music is very scarce, but it’s to be expected since you’ll be listening to screams of pain and spells being conjured up. Better pull up your favorite music program and blast some music if you want to, there isn’t much else going on but swords, arrows, and spells to sooth you into oblivion.
Though my WASD skills have been rusty for a while, the general feel for controlling the character and battle was very easy to retain and it only takes a few games to make it second nature.
A fresh take on a traditional genre isn’t always welcomed. But the fast paced fighting mixed with a traditional MMO feel is awesome, and is a core element to the fun and new. Though limited in modes and customization, it’s coming. Just enjoy that play now, it’ll only get better.
It’s PvP. If you’re thing is to kill other players with a superiority complex then this is for you. If not, it’s still a fast paced game that’ll keep you immersed for a good playthrough.