Plane Shift Review: Good Details for Old Game
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Plane Shift is an innovative 3D MMORPG that made its debut back in May 2002. Although the game is old and possibly outdated, most of its features remain fresh and unchallenged by modern MMO games. Its game play mechanics are really simple but hard to master, especially since your character does not rely on classes. What made this game absolutely special is its compatibility with all three computer operating systems (Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux). The game is constantly being updated (yearly, I think), launching its most recent update in December 2009 (Now that's what I call support), providing more "updated" features for the most up-to-date gamers. Unlike other MMOs, roleplaying is encouraged in the world of Plane Shift, making use of its expansive and interesting lore, while also being the first choice in the server selection screen. It may be a bit hardcore for casual players, but it's quite enjoyable for those who want a change of scenery.
Enough about the Lore! Let's play!
Whoah, easy there! One thing about Plane Shift is that the game does NOT have any classes at all; instead, the game allows people to create their own classes by customizing their character's stats and skills (along with their weapon of choice) to create their own defined class. The game actually allows you to customize more than just your average "face, gender, and hair color" bit, catering more customizable details like birth date, parents, life paths, religion, and even childhood details. You can probably guess that the game has got enough DETAILS to emit a healthy RP session. This allows the world to completely animate without the use of modern gaming rules like faction wars. There are also tons of races to choose from, each with their own specialty and starting stats.
One of the most unique features I saw in this MMO is the DEATH REALM. As the name implies, the Death Realm is a labyrinth of some sort where players go when their character dies. Unlike other games where you can just move back to your corpse in ghost form or just simply re-spawn somewhere, the game takes you to a horrendous level of darkness where you must reach the end in order to go back in the real world. It's not really that difficult if you do it carefully while observing your surroundings, but the character's mobility tends to interfere most of the time. There's no going back if you fall, so be extra careful, unless you want to do it again from the start. Seriously, it already sucks that your character is dead, so why make it hurt more?
The Death Realm
Few of the Cons
Trial and error is probably the best way of describing some parts of the game, especially when moving in dark places. Some of the elements and rendered structures often block your line of sight, causing you to fall or even die. The movement commands are too irresponsive as well, creating a devastating combo with the dark lighting and 3D obstructions. It's annoying, but you'll get used to it... I think.
The game doesn't feature tips on mandatory things either, such as controls and where skills can be acquired. According to them, this is an opportunity to exercise communication in the game. After analyzing this bit, this is a moving and breathing world anyway, and I suppose players can actually make this thing work by working together and communicating; however, that still doesn't compensate for the lack of tutorials.
Most of the quests also revolve around killing the same monsters all over again. It's really okay for some MMOs to have quests that make you kill more monsters or point you to your proper grinding or leveling grounds, but at least give it some variety.
The Essence of Exploration
The key to the whole game is exploration. Since the game lacks tutorials and detailed maps, the only way to work around this place is to go ahead and explore. Like I said, even the NPC locations are not given, so your best bet is to lift your sword (or whatever you're holding) and journey forth to discover more things. It does remove the linearity of the game, since you don't know what to expect in your adventures, but that my friend is what makes it completely interesting and thrilling.
Hmmm! Me Likey them Details
To my surprise, the graphics are actually better than bearable for an old game. The buildings are properly rendered; the characters don't look half bad. I even found myself verifying if the release date specified is true. The details are crisp and don't demand that much from your computer, making it a perfect choice for gamers who use low-end PCs. There's a whole lot of diversity when it comes to visuals in the game, which makes exploration something to look forward to. The game will continue to bedazzle you with new sights and sceneries as you work your way towards who knows where.
For an old game, they really did a great job of pumping it up. The graphics are intense, combat is awesome, and there's a whole lot of variety when it comes to customization. The game is pretty slow in a way since it may take a while before you can actually get a glimpse of your character's capabilities; however, the awesome community will be there to keep you entertained until you reach your goals. The game needs more monsters, and that's a fact. They already have quests directing players to kill more, so it wouldn't hurt to at least add some new faces to avoid the boredom factor. This game still has a lot to offer (despite its age) compared to other games, so jump right in and give it a try.
- Details in character creation
- Freeform class system
- Nice visuals for an old game
- Doesn't demand much from your system
- Multi-OS goodness.
- Needs more quests AND MONSTERS
- The interface and controls may hinder you from achieving something so simple
- Lack of Tutorials
- Some bugs need tending to.