Apocalypse Online Review: Linear Play



By Vincent Haoson

The Earth is shattered by senseless wars, its resources depleted. Humanity is at the brink of extinction that was caused by the senseless warmongering of the leaders of the different nations. You are one of the remnants of humanity that escaped the effects of war. You are now living in a world scarred forever by the past. All you can think about is to survive.

This bleak post-apocalyptic world that you see yourself in is the world of Apocalypse Online. As one of the remaining human survivors of the war that nearly destroyed the earth, you need to fend for yourself in a Mad Max like setting.



Character Customization

When you enter Apocalypse Online, you get to choose to be part of the four factions that rule supreme in this “scorched earth”. Be part of the Nomads, the faction where peace and unification is their primary goal. Join the Raiders, whose way of living is to take and pillage from the people who have anything worthwhile. Or be like the Techs whose society saved itself from the effects of war by hiding themselves in their protected vaults. Or choose to be part of the Enclave, a mysterious race of highly evolved humanoid insects.

Sadly, you can only choose to become part of two of the four factions in Apocalypse Online. In the character creation screen of the game you can only get to choose to be a Nomad or a Raider. The choice would hardly affect your overall experience though because the difference between the Nomads and the Raider is that you start at two different spawning points.

Speaking of character creation, another problem that you may face when playing Apocalypse Online is that there are a lot of customization features that are unavailable. When you’re creating your character you have the options to choose which faction you belong to, the gender of your character, its class, the hair, face beard and clothes design. Among the customization choices you can’t change the class, face and beard of your character. Though it is understandable that this is the current situation of the game now especially it’s already beta. It should really be bothersome that the game is already “released” in the market for about three years now and all you have is this much.



Graphics and Controls

The graphics of the game is not one of its strong parts too. It may be understandable that a graphics that is of this quality from games that were born in the 90s. Yet Apocalypse Online lacks the graphical advancements that most of the f2p MMOs use.

Another thing is that the controls are a problem. You can’t use the mouse to move your character because the movement is locked to the A,W,S,D keys. The space is used for jumping but I doubt you’ll be using that much because the character jump can be considered a hop with the height of the jump, plus it seems that there is still a bug with the jump sprite because when you do it your character would seem to jump twice. Though this is funny at the beginning, this may irritate eventually as you continue playing.



Game Audio

The audio seems to be lacking in Apocalypse Online as well. Whatever music I hear that comes from the game is either the environment music or the BGM when you enter the game servers and finish a quest. Though it goes without saying that the audio score fits well with the setting, the lack of musical accompaniment can get really unnerving especially when a tune starts plays without warning.

However, there is a redeeming characteristic Apocalypse Online has. The storyline is one of the most coherent I’ve ever seen in a while. Though the story telling could be improved so that it can do justice to the whole storyline, I can say that Apocalypse Online has a story to anchor itself to at least.



Camera Issues

For a game that is already more than a year old, Apocalypse Online sure lacks a lot of things that make MMOs a good game. For one I was surprised to find that you can’t customize your character even though the game system has that option of changing the face of your in-game character.

Another thing is that the camera controls are too sensitive and awkward. There are times when I try to change the camera to get the angle right. The game has an option that when you double-click, the camera immediately pans to where your character is facing. This may be convenient on occasions but this feature sometimes blocks your mouse pointer as you try to communicate with NPCs.

This problem would constantly haunt you as you continue and try the game out because as you begin the only characters you can communicate with in-game are NPCs. The game’s starting area for new characters is empty of any human life whatsoever. However things will at least look better when you do get out of your starting area. Though the population looks scarce, at least you can actually see people playing the game.



Conclusion

Things may improve as the game draws on. The question now is that are you willing to wait for things to change before you start playing? The game may or may not improve in the course of its operation. The game has outdated graphics and even the gameplay has a lot of down points too. Though the storyline seems to be a coherent one, which is rarely seen in games like this it may not be enough to get you hooked into playing the game.

Anarchy Online also has a linear feel to it. You can’t get outside of the town unless you take the first quest. This kills the free roaming feel of the game where you can just go on and explore the world of Duskland at your own leisure.


Pros

- A coherent storyline

- Still in Beta, improvements may come

- The faction system makes for great PVP



Cons

- Outdated Graphics engine

- Camera angles can be irritating

- Controls are awkward to use

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