Sunday, April 4, 2010

A New Frontier - Fallen Earth

The website I've been writing for was looking for someone to do a review of Fallen Earth. One of the editors met with the creators of FE, and they are excited about a number of new features on the game. I signed up, and with my history in MMORPGs (and my promptness in replying), I received a 30 day trial of the game to review.

Fallen Earth has been in production since 2003, and finally was released in the fall of 2009. They stepped on the third rail of MMORPGs - futuristic simulation with guns. Tabula Rasa crashed and burned, despite (or perhaps because of) the big name behind the game.

I've played the game for about 15-20 hours so far, and I must say, I am impressed. The game is vast with essentially no fast travel. Combat is interesting and guns are well scaled with melee (in PvE). The crafting system is very deep and fairly complex, without limiting what the players can do. A few novel developments (crafting while off line, care and feeding of mounts) separate the game from other MMOs, but they keep all the concrete elements of MMOs.

Icarus Studios did a few things that other game studios should look to follow in the future.

First, they took a long time. It took six years to release this game - more than Mythic took to release WAR, more than Cryptic took to release Champions Online and Star Trek Online combined. They put in the hours to actually complete a finished game, without pressuring themselves to release early in order to get some income from the game.

Second, they didn't come into the game with a chip on their shoulder. They didn't flash any big names or special IP. They simply wanted to work hard to do something that hasn't been done before (or at least, done well before).

I expect a lot from this game. There's a number of free trials out there for the game, so if you're a fan of post-apocalyptic games, I suggest trying this one out. The learning curve is a little slow, and picking the wrong starting town can really put a damper on the game, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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