By John Shadle (Sephorus), OnRPG Journalist
Everlight is a browser-based free-to-play fantasy MMO developed by Koramgame. It's billed as allowing you to “plunge into the depth of Greek mythology as you hack and slash your way to discover your heritage”, which is an interesting premise for a game. Sadly, I learned that expectations and reality are often two separate things, as Everlight is less an interesting game and more of a horribly-veiled way to try and extract money from your bank account.
The story begins simply – or perhaps abruptly – enough. After selecting one of four classes – Warrior, Prophet, Ranger, or Mage - you learn that “an invader from the underworld has broken free from the rift of time to threaten the world”, and seeing as how you're a descendant of the deity of War and Wisdom, it's your task to put a stop to this nefarious plot. You're soon on your way to pick up some basic gear before stepping into the unknown – and it's here that the first issue with Everlight, well... comes to light. From the get-go, your quests automatically path to the next objective and will pick up key items, track down targets to fight, or find the appropriate person to talk to next. It's normally a handy optional feature for players who are simply stuck, but considering it's enabled from the moment you start playing (and I've honestly yet to find a way to turn it off), it doesn't do much to pull people in. What's worse, the localization is poor at best, and downright terrible at other times, with such phrases as “prophets are greatly intelligence” or “my poor kid is just a baby, but he already lost his dead...”. Things like this simply litter Everlight, which makes things just that much harder to comprehend.
Graphically, Everlight's honestly not too shabby. The quality of the actual art – sprites, UI, etc. - is a bit variable, but mostly good overall. Truthfully, the animations – basic things like running or swinging a sword – were a bit smoother than I expected; while there's still a slightly jagged quality about them, it's not incredibly noticeable and a bit better than I've seen elsewhere, which was a nice change of pace. The art style overall is a bit hit and miss, with any possible Greek influences fairly buried in a hodge-podge of themes; things like player design and some monsters look pretty good and fairly interesting overall, while other creatures – like your starting pet, sadly – look nothing short of weird. Different strokes for different folks here, but a panda with what looks like alien eyes? A bit on the creepy side, if you ask me.
Sound and music are nothing to write home about. Basic attacks and skills feel like they connect with enough force to be painful, and the brief moments of music (I'm going to stress brief here!) do just enough to set an appropriate tone for the area you're in. The thing is, the audio direction and quality is almost too generic – almost like things were played a bit safe here. I can understand the need to not risk having a game that sounds terrible, but it's almost as damaging to have a game that sounds too much like other games.
Everlight has a ton of systems to play with, but they seem to cater more towards offering more things to have micro-transactions for and less towards making you more powerful (although this does happen in the process!). There's an entire section devoted to forging and upgrading your equipment, alchemical crafting (IE: combining fragments of items to make something useful), pet and mount upgrading and training, skill improvement through usage (which, admittedly, I found kind of awesome), a reputation system to unlock special gear and improve attributes, and a star sign system which lets you intensify your connection to a constellation in order to become stronger. There are supposedly some additional systems available, but I've not gotten to a point where I could utilize any of them.
There are two main gripes with Everlight's various improvement systems; the first is that there's hardly a proper tutorial for any of them. There's all sorts of tabs and buttons unlocked when you reach a level to use them, but the game doesn't even do a terrible job of explaining them. In fact, Everlight kind of goes, “Look at this shiny new thing!” and runs off to leave you to tap away at things to try and piece how it works together. The second issue is that, aside from the skill improvement system (which pretty much just requires you to murder things), everything you can play with here has its own items that you need to acquire – and are all things you earn very, very slowly unless you drop some cash in the item shop; of course, do this and you'll be able to upgrade most of your gear, pets, constellations, etc. in record time, which pretty much is the definition of 'selling power'. What's worse, while some achievements give you diamo (Everlight's cash shop currency), any earned in this way can only be spent on a very minimal selection of items and only seems to serve the purpose of getting you to open the item shop up and see what you could be getting. It's a pretty obvious and glaring cash grab from start to finish.
Overall, I found Everlight to be a thoroughly disappointing title. While it had some very minor redeeming qualities in its art and sound, the localization ranged from barely passable to utterly terrible and the cash shop is nothing short of overbearing. I'm all for the potential of browser-based gaming, and certainly don't mind something casual for a brief moment of fun, but when it comes to Everlight, take my advice – leave yourself in the dark.