By Kei Beneza (Dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
If you're looking for the next big thing in MMO history, then this is it. Free Realms, a new MMO developed by Sony Online Entertainment has made its mark as one of the most Unique MMORPGs ever made. Free Realms takes players through a whole new experience as they uncover hidden places, play mini games, and do quests. First of all, Free Realms isn't only an MMO game but a social network as well. This game is probably the first MMO that makes combat optional. Yes, that's right! Combat is completely optional for there are more ways to level up your character than just quests and grinding.
Free Realms would probably be an MMO gamer's idea of having a good time. Aside from having its own ingame Trading Card Game (TCG), the game lets you watch or host in game events like live concert streaming and destruction derby racing (yeah... it has an ingame racing game). Now if that's not role playing at its finest, then I don't know what is.
Wait... You're confusing me.... what are the characters?
Much like any other MMORPG, you'll start off by creating your first character. I was rather impressed by the game's variety of faces and hairstyles. It's almost like you can actually make a character than looks like you. You'll also end up picking one of two races (human or pixie). After creating your name and fixing your features, you're ready to go.
Unlike other MMOs, Free realms lets you switch your class anytime in the game. This means that you wont ever have to stick with one class for the rest of that character's lifespan. You can be a Ninja, Explorer, Chef, Brawler, Archer, Miner, Mailman, Wizard, Pet trainer or even a demolition derby driver (no it doesn't end there). As you can see, some classes don't compliment your combat skills but rather your fantasy life. Since combat is optional, the game lets you secure a purpose while doing what your desired class does best. There are lots of things to do in the game. Being a renowned Chef and an Indiana Jones persona is merely just a part of it.
Just bum around and level up
Yes, combat is indeed optional which is why you should stick with your class' task in order to level him up. Leveling up isn't so hard here since combat is not only optional but instanced as well. This means that you have to go to secluded part of the map in order to fight monsters. Like I said, the game is not only an MMORPG but a social network as well. If I must explain, the game is pretty much like Facebook on steroids. Don't ever think that everything else is boring compared to combat. Bumping cars with other drivers and playingcard games could get you deep into the game as well. I guess it's all about preferences, and this game lets you switch when bored.
The combat system is similar to that of any other MMO. You'll basically get a bunch of hotkeys assigned to their corresponding skill. Combat experience is also gained in the traditional way so PVE lovers can do what they do best. The game also has a bunch of quests to keep you busy, so I guess the combat system doesn't fully rely on grinding after all.
Ok ok! But what about the armor?!
Haha! Here's the good bit. Instead of buying armors, your equipment levels up with you. No need to worry though, cause they change their color, shapes and sizes once leveled further. You'll be surprised to see your vintage Ninja armor turn into that of Dead or Alive's Hayabusa as you level it further.
Visuals and sounds
The visuals are rather cartoony but is not too shabby. I guess this game doesn't quite blend with the graphic war, cause the style they use seems rather timeless. You wouldn't criticize a game's graphics, you know that it was meant to be that way (or something like that). The background looks a lot WoW being taken over by Walt Disney, giving it a rather happy and wholesome feel. The interface looks a bit console-ish for an MMO. If you've played Final Fantasy games then you're bound to see some familiar features. Since the game provides more than just combat, other HUDS and systems are implemented differently. I mean, who would want hot keys when playing Trading card games or racing right? I guess they pretty much got what they wanted, Free realms is indeed a world of its own.
The music and soundeffects are awesome and really enhances the mood. Whether it's a hard hitting duel or a drive to explore, the music is sure to boost your in game experience. The sound effects are quite superb. You'll often hear a lot of grunts and battle shouts as weapons clash in battle.
I guess there's no PVP
No not really... Free realms also has a duel system if ever you're in a drive to prove that you're better than the rest. Whack it out and cleave all you want. Combat does look pretty satisfying regardless of it being optional. I dont know if racing can be considered as PVP but it does feel good when you outrun em.
Free realms is an all-in-one game, and there's no doubt about that. You're basically taken into another world where you can meet with your friends or meet new ones. If this is not the next big thing in MMO history then probably it can work as the next big thing in Social networking. Since the game is quite wholesome, violence has been toned down. It doesn't really matter though since the game pretty much delivers the satisfaction of combat even without the blood and gore. If you're looking for a game that can take you out of your everyday MMO life, then I suggest you give this a shot. Mark my words... you wont regret it.
- Excellent character creation
- Wide variety of features
- Good graphics and sounds
- Tons of gaming modes to fit your desired gameplay.
- Not much PVP (but then again, this isn't one of those games)
- Definitely not for the hardcore players (debatable)
- Could use more races
- Changing classes anytime is good. But that removes a player's specialty or individuality for that matter.