By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist
Myth of Soma was originally released in 2001, but came to a close back in 2008 due to a series of unfortunate events and a general disinterest in the title that kept it from being profitable. Currently, in 2013, Myth of Soma has been brought back to the dead with improved features and security thanks to the team at SomaDev. It has many traditional MMORPG elements, such as quests, grinding, ranged, magic and melee combat and more. The game is 2D and is played with an isometric perspective. With its low system requirements, traditional MMORPG elements, and end-game PVP focus, there is a lot of appeal in Myth of Soma, even though it is over a decade old.
Character creation is fairly straight forward. You choose either human or demon, pick your name, choose your starting stats (which plays a big role as your stats dictate many factors in the game), and your gender. You also get to choose from a limited selection of hair styles, hair colors, and skin colors. If you're unsure how to set up your stats, there are a few pre-sets that you can choose from that will distribute your stats for you. There's not much there, but it's decent when you consider the original age of the game.
Other customization comes into play while choosing what types of armor, weapons, or abilities (or spells) your character will learn. There are three types of magic in the game that you can learn: blue (human), black (hell/underworld), and white (heaven). As you might imagine, certain stats are important to certain types of characters. A mage-type would want high intelligence, while a melee brute would want high strength. Weapon skills, which raise with use (along with all other skills) are important, too.
Myth of Soma has 2D graphics that are fairly detailed for what they are. The game is played with an isometric view, similar to games like Ultima Online and other older 2D MMORPGs. Compared to what we get in today’s MMOs, you won’t be impressed. However, chances are if you're thinking of playing Myth of Soma, you're either the type of person that doesn't pay much mind to graphics or are not in a position to complain about the graphics (such as owning a low-spec PC). When I take into consideration the age of the game, I've got to say I'm pleased with the graphics and liked the realistic (or as realistic as you can get with 2D) art style chosen.
This is one area I have a lot of trouble with when it comes to old games. Back in the day, controls (and user interfaces) generally sucked and were a horrendous experience. Unfortunately, it's much the same for Myth of Soma, as it has a clunky user interface and movement isn't as smooth as it could be. It's primarily played with the mouse, along with the F1-12 keys. To top it off, as far as I could find, there was no way to re-bind keys without using a third-party macro program – which is pretty much needed anyways if you don't want to have a horrible time.
Most of the community in Myth of Soma seemed pretty decent. Maybe that's because it's not the type of game to attract the hordes of mindless grinders and trolls that play the popular games. The downside is that the population is pretty small. But small populations tend to be quite tight-knit, which some people prefer. The community in this game is great if you don't mind a relatively small number of players.
Gameplay in Myth of Soma is pretty typical of games from the time when it was originally released. There were PVE elements, with an end-game that focused on PVP. Unfortunately, most of the difficulty that makes the game appealing to more 'hardcore' players is a side-effect of the developers design choices, rather than a conscious decision to make the game difficult. That's the impression I get after playing, anyways. Most of the difficulty comes from the clunky UI and control scheme, honestly.
Combat is pretty straight forward. You move close to your target and right click to attack. If you want to get into magic, casting is as simple as select a spell (by clicking it on the hotbar) and then right clicking the enemy. Against NPCs, it's not too difficult and feels mostly like a chore. When you get in PVP it's a bit more fun because of the human factor. I did find it more engaging than a lot of modern MMOs combat, due to it being less automated. However, I did find it getting boring and tedious after a while.
Questing wasn't really existent. What's there is just basically a filler system to facilitate you killing mobs or entering dungeons. You'll spend a lot of your time just killing things, like most MMOs. The big goal is entering the weekly village war that lasts two hours. However, that's my opinion of things and I know others will probably disagree with me a bit.
Crafting exists in the game. Armor crafting, weapon crafting, potions, cooking, and accessories. I didn't get too much into it, but it seemed like a fairly typical crafting system. Collect resources to craft recipes. I got the impression that crafting was a big part of the game, and everyone who wasn't big on crafting seemed to have someone that they preferred to do their crafting for them. The crafting community seemed quite nice, something you don't see to much these days.
Myth of Soma is an old game, still alive because of the love and nostalgia of its players. It's a relic from a time when gaming was something more than a casual experience, when players had to work together to accomplish goals and bonds were formed as a byproduct. With its familiar gameplay, it'll attract those who want a 'retro' MMO experience, but also will appeal to those that want a challenge. If you're wanting something similar to Ultima Online or Mir, this game was made to provide a similar experience with its own unique twists. In short, if you need a retro game – either because of your computer specs being unable to handle modern games or because you just want something different – Myth of Soma is one that you may want to give a try.
Features: 3/5 – Decent for how old the game is.
Customization: 2.5/5 – Not much, unfortunately.
Graphics: 4/5 – I liked the art.
Controls: 2/5 – Clunky and annoying, but bearable once you get used to it.
Community: 5/5 –Great community of people who like the game.
Overall: 3/5 –Play it if you like a retro experience, otherwise it's a bit lackluster.