Black Prophecy - Any More Space For Another Space MMO?
By Mark Kamminga, OnRPG Space Game Specialist
So here's a question: What would you think of an MMO that combines the features of modern-day MMO's with components from titles like: Wing Commander, Freelancer and Tie-fighter? Sound good? We sure as hell think so! And it just so happens Gamigo's newest flag-spaceship title (pun intended) "Black Prophecy" seems to deliver all of the above.
During the GDC in San Francisco, we met with Gamigo's PR-manager Dennis Hartmann. Dennis gave us an exclusive first-look at the English version of this new title and from what we've seen in the 30 minute rundown, we can already say this game is VERY promising.With game mechanics similar to classics like Wing Commander (and more recently the Freelancer titles), Black Prophecy promises to deliver a vast explorative environment against a story driven backdrop.
You start out by playing through a an extensive, 6 hour prologue that also acts as a tutorial. By the time you finish that, you'll be fully familiar with most of the games core mechanics and are ready to set off on your own adventures.
MMOs in an outerspace setting are nothing new. EVE online has been around for quite some time and has proven very successful. But where Eve’s space battle can be somewhat static at times, Black Prophecy focuses more on all out dogfights and therefor plays more like an intense shooter. Keep in mind that shooting is the core component of Black Prophecy, so if you are looking to do some heavy trading during your space travels, you'll be disappointed, because there is no trading system in place at the time of writing
Black Prophecy’s control scheme is very similar to those from Wing Commander and Freelancer You basically use your mouse to steer your spacecraft and control its to aim at targets. Gamigo already announced that there will be compatibility for gamepads in the near future.
Players are offered three different camera angles: a 3rd person view and both an in-cockpit and fully 1st person view. Our preference went to this last one, but seeing your space ship, while tied-up in a battle is still very thrilling (mainly due to some excellent graphics, but more on this later)
After starting the game, players can choose to join either the TYI or the Genides, Black Prohecy's main factions. We had the feeling that choosing either of these factions, was more of an esthetic choice as both factions can eventually earn the same skills and weapons.
After choosing a faction, you'll create your Avatar and there are quite a few options to create your own unique space-farer.
Of course, you can’t head out without a good rig to fly in. You start out with a basic ship and during the course of your travels you will acquire funds to build out your ship. The best thing here is that every new component directly affects the look of your ship and the further you level the more exotic and cooler these upgrades look. Suffice to say you won't recognize your starting rig, when you reach endgame in Black Prophecy.
Your avatar will also learn new skills during the leveling process. Before you know it, you'll be pulling off loopings and barrelrolls to dodge incoming missile barrages.
Black Prophecy is at heart an MMO and therefore you won't be fighting alone in the vast emptiness of space. Both PVP and PVE will be available in the game and even some scenarios that combine elements of both.
Black Prophecy also tracks a lot of in game statistics and this results in many achievements for you to earn and show off to others, for instance your clan-buddies. Speaking of clans, Black Prophecy introduces a new cool twist to guild housing. You and your teammates can actually own your own space station and add usable compartments to it, like repair bays or vendors
Eye and Ear Candy
Black Prophecy sports a great musical soundtrack and Reakktor has used the voice work of more than 20 actors to give life to its world. Since the game is running on the Gamebryo engine, the graphics look exceptionally well and Dennis ensured us that even on older PCs the game will still run smoothly. The demo we saw ran on a 2 year old Dell XPS and still managed to have all details set to full and run like a charm, without presenting the player any ingame loading screens.
Needless to say we are looking forward to get our hands dirty on Black Prophecy and eagerly await the upcoming Open beta.