Rift – PC
Developer: Trion Worlds
Publisher: Trion Worlds
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Nerd Rating: 1 out of 10
Reviewed by Malefico
I started playing MMO’s with World of Warcraft. I never got into Everquest- I was too busy working at the time it was big- but I played a lot of WoW. The way I figure it,Blizzard owes me for about 10.000 hours of play that all went out the window when they got rid of everything that made the game fun and challenging. But there’s one thing I can say about WoW, fallen as it is that I can’t about Rift. It worked.
In Rift, you play either as one of the Ascended (warriors and wizards revived from death to combat the growing threat of evil) or the Defiant (renegades who shun the path of the Ascended and pursue a different road to glory).
Everything in Rift follows MMO standard controls. Without getting into too much detail, move with W,A,S and D, strafe with Q and E, jump with Space, look around with the mouse, Tab through enemy targets, etc.
The game world, too will be familiar. Go to the NPC with the “?” Over their head, collect quest(s), when you’re done head to the green check mark, rinse and repeat.
I’m not going to give Trion too much crap about the graphics. The POS is just barely capable of running Rift, and actually as the screen shots show, the game world doesn’t look too bad even on its lowest settings. Textures and backgrounds are actually quite nice, and any shortcomings in the environment itself I would tend to blame on the POS rather than the game.
Sound effects are mediocre at best, and NPCs/enemies reiterate the same tired phrases again and again. It would have almost been better if they just remained mute.
Character models are horribly generic. You can vary facial features, skin and hair color, and since the Asecnded have facial tattoos, you can change the pattern and color of those as well. Unfortunately, no matter what elements you change, your character pretty much looks the same as when you started.
NPCs are similarly homogenous and unexciting. In my brief experience with the game I saw no enemies that stood out or impressed with either their design or animations.
The Bottom Line
The combat system is shallow and bland. Either I was doing something really wrong, or you don’t even get Auto-Attack until level 3. Without that, you have to continuously click on the enemy to swing. It’s easier just to use nothing but special abilities. The Warrior-type that I generated had abilities that were lifted right out of other games. I will say the abilities were well-described and easily identified as either power builders or finishers, but they failed to impress. Combat boiled down to either:
- Try to use basic attacks and probably die or
- Use the special attacks and buffs and take little or no damage.
While I appreciate that the special abilities of a class are there to be used, I don’t think you should have to activate one on every attack just to do damage.
My experience with Rift quests is that they are garden-variety MMO fare, without the variety. Kill so many of these, collect so many of those, go here and use this item, blah blah blah. Maybe I’m being unfair in this respect because regardless of the MMO, quests are pretty much quests. At this point the MMO “formula” is well-established and maybe that’s what I’m tired of. Basically, like many of the other elements of Rift, quests just don’t distinguish themselves in any way.
Although I didn’t play the game long enough to find out (for reasons I’ll detail below), I started out with gray and white items and was starting to assemble some green gear when I finally got fed up. I’m sure there’s a Wiki somewhere that goes into more detail if you’re still interested after reading this review.
My biggest problem with this game is the nightmare of installing and playing it. When I first decided to give it a try, installation seemed like it would be one of the biggest pluses. I downloaded through Steam, and it wasn’t two minutes later that the game reached a “playable” stage. At that point I was stoked; anyone who plays MMO’s knows one of the biggest drawbacks is buying the game and then waitiing hours for the content to download, or buying discs only to install them quickly and then wait hours for all the additional content, updates and patches to from the server to your system.
Well, no. The game stuttered through its opening cinematic and promptly crashed the tower during character creation. After powering down and rebooting, I continued the download and let it sit, thinking I would let some more data get settled and then try it again. I returned to my desk to find a download error had occurred, for some reason temporarily stunning my wireless adapter (wouldn’t respond to attempts to reconnect, and even though it’s USB unplugging and replugging it didn’t help) so I couldn’t resume the download. Another reboot. Another error. Wireless network down again. At this point I was determined to get at least a flavor of the game, even though I was pretty sure that installation issues alone would deter me from becoming a fan. After going to the Trion site for help, I found the recommended fix involved going into Windows and halting pretty much every service that makes it run. Too much, Trion… way too much.
Eventually I got enough time in to play to level 5, but the game kept crashing throughout.
Given, the POS is running the oldest existing version of Windows. I’m willing to spend a little time now and then to get a game to run. But I have dozens of titles that were developed for Vista and 7 and the most I’ve ever had to do is download a patch to fix XP bugs. Trying to get Rift to run uninterrupted was like trying to stand on your head while reciting the Mandarin Chinese alphabet… backwards. Not one game I’ve ever played in my entire career as a PC gamer has failed so often and so miserably as Rift.
Pretty backdrops notwithstanding, Rift showed me nothing compelling that would make it worth playing even if the installation process hadn’t been a farce.
Generic models, bland combat, monotonous quests, horRiftic installation experience… I think even if I could forgive the frustrating and abortive attempt to get it to work, I wouldn’t give the game more than a couple nights before I was dead tired of it. Thank goodness it’s free to play otherwise I’d be really ticked.
The only thing I have to say to the developers is… sorry about how Rift turned out, keep Trion.
1 out of 10.
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