Review: Fallen Earth (PC)

Fallen Earth
Developers: Fallen Earth and Icarus Studios
Publisher: Icarus Studios
Genre: MMOG
Released: 09/22/2009

As an MMORPG fan I often find myself jacking in to the latest matrix to lose myself in online realms of extraordinary magic and intrigue. I spend countless hours impaling artificially intelligent bosses, and conquering pixels. Throughout my journey as an online gamer I sought out the new realm of Fallen Earth to appease the gigabyte gods and pay homage to a new direction in online gaming.. Silly as it sounds it is my passion and I think it a great honor to be able to share my experiences with you. Without further ado here is my review.

Story

Fallen Earth begins in the bowels of some sort of futuristic yet all too contemporary manufacturing plant named Global Tech. This Enron type corporation was constructed circa 2051 in the post-apocalyptic world of the Grand Canyon which is also the setting for the game. This questionable company was founded shortly after the beginning of some end of days type natural disasters which also include a super virus among other things. The setting for the game is Earth and more specifically the Grand Canyon. You begin the game with your avatar awakening, fully grown, with no memories and no idea what they hell is going on. A voice from a nearby overhead speaker system is the first contact you have and that voice immediately begins doling out instructions which inevitably you will have to follow in order to progress through the introduction to the game. You find out almost immediately in the game that you have to get free of this facility and that some people are trying to harm you and this voice from the speakers is at least trying to help. You progress through the introduction and throughout are equipped with weapons and taught some of the basic functions of the UI. The first of the weapons you pick up is actually an axe which you have to remove from the skull of a very unlucky and quite dead NPC. As an MMO the story to Fallen Earth is a developing thing that will continue to grow as long as the makers continue to invest time and energy in it. Having been able to play through the beginning scenarios and a bit into the free roaming world of Fallen Earth, I think that the story and the potential to expound on it is the best thing the game has going for it. I felt myself being intrigued with the prospects of playing in a persistent world where a community is reborn in the aftermath of destruction.

Story Rating: Great

Graphics
This is where Fallen Earth can stand to improve. I spent at least an hour, and perhaps more, trying to get this game to look good and failed. The default settings are completely off and the detail is blah and quite frankly looks several years old. I know that the more intensive the graphics get, the harder it is to manage an MMO due to performance issues and the amount of data clogging up servers (Example: Conan Hyborian Adventures had great graphics played like crap), but give us something pretty to log into. In this age we rely on aesthetics as much as gameplay and I’ve been spoiled with great looking games and that’s what I’ve come to expect.

Graphics Rating: Poor

Sound

The sound of rifle fire, the swinging of an axe and the droll sounds of machinery all help to improve the ambiance of Fallen Earth. I generally play with background music off in MMORPG’s so that I can hear anything going on around me or plug into some rock to keep me motivated . However, I did briefly tune in and found it was a decent accompaniment to the game, and it made resource farming out in the wasteland a little more bearable. The voices were appropriate and the spoken dialogues were without issues.

Sound Rating: Decent

Controls and Gameplay

I enjoyed the combined elements of both FPS and the RPG that Fallen Earth uses. The HUD is user friendly and the controls are easy to grasp. Granted, getting to know the initial hot keys did take a little while but the learning curve wasn’t overly tedious. The ability to equip different types of weapons and devices in several locations on your avatar was very cool. Quite early in the game you feel like Rambo having equipped two side arms, an automatic machine gun, and a rocket launcher which were all visible on your person if you choose to view your character from the over the shoulder perspective. The pace of combat was a bit slow for the FPS genre but would meld fairly well with MMORPG play style. What I mean by that is that you don’t have the ability to frag npc’s with a single headshot but you do have to whittle them down a bit. As you progress in levels you gain new abilities that help that whittling go faster and in some instance you can mow through stuff pretty effectively. Overall the game play was at minimum quite satisfying.

Control and Gameplay rating: Enjoyable

Replayability

The game is an MMORPG so the replayability would only reference the ability to make alternate characters, level them and spec them differently. Generally speaking there is no endpoint to MMORPGS as they are progressive games that continually evolve. You don’t beat them like normal RPGS then start a new character to play the game a second time through. With the extensive variety and differing play styles available in Fallen Earth I would consider the game highly replayable or in MMORPG lingo. . . I can definitely see players doing some alting to see what kind of specs they can come up with.

Replayabilty rating: Good

Balance

I think the pacing and complexity of Fallen Earth was without issue. The two styles of play both 3rd and 1st person perspectives were seamless. The difficulty was on par with similar type games out there and the learning curve on hotkeys and general controls was relatively fast.

Balance Rating: Good

Originality

Fallen Earth has several cool new ideas for the MMORPG industry. The seamless combination of a progressive online FPS and the ability to specialize your character like your standard RPG was what inspired me to give it a try. What this does for the player is it allows them more versatility in their play style. Traditionally it’s been swords, bows and arrows; in Fallen Earth you can wield rocket launchers and machine guns, which is very cool. There is also the crafting system which allows you to make all types of things ranging from spiked bats to souped up 4 wheelers. Fallen Earth definitely has some exciting new aspects to online gaming and I’m happy to see the MMORPG world evolving in this direction.

Originality Rating: Very Good

Addictiveness

Being blunt, I didn’t feel a strong attachment to Fallen Earth. The game was hard to get running smooth and hard to look at. Set those two aside it’s the community that makes an online game. I felt that I didn’t know anyone and that most of the chat was filled with nonsense. I wasn’t able to do any party/group aspects of the game early on so I felt a disconnect. In order to really get an MMOG going strong you need to have multiplayer aspects that give you and your teammates an early on attachment to the game, and also give them a sense of achievement. I don’t feel that Fallen Earth has those aspects. In fact, the first several hours of the game I spent playing by myself and after getting out into the countryside I found that I was wandering aimlessly looking for a home.

Addictiveness: Poor

Appeal factor

A myriad of good ideas and a creative story are what made this game appealing to me. However, the poor graphics and lack of a community made it hard to get into. The good thing about the latter opinion is that developers can continually work to improve both the appearance and the community of the game. That being said with all the cool ideas the developers threw on the table this game only stands to get better.

Appeal Factor rating: Very Good

Miscellaneous

Concluding my review I would like to say that I enjoyed my time playing Fallen Earth and that I hope the developers continue to work on this title. It has a lot of potential and I’m encouraged to see new ideas on the table and as they proclaim on the website, “NO MORE ELVES”.

Miscellaneous Rating: Great

The Scores:

Story/Modes Rating: Great
Graphics Rating: Poor
Sound Rating: Decent
Control and Gameplay Rating: Enjoyable
Replayability Rating: Good
Balance Rating: Good
Originality Rating: Very Good
Addictiveness Rating: Poor
Appeal Factor Rating: Very Good
Miscellaneous Rating: Great
FINAL SCORE: ENJOYABLE GAME

Short Attention Span Summary
I think it is necessary for a game to evolve in order to be successful and I think Fallen Earth has that ability. I think its worth buying and as long as you can get a few friends to join up with you stand a good chance of seeing the game improve. If you are interested in giving it a try, they have a ten day free trial available. Thanks for reading.

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