Rangers Land Review: Heya Cowboy!
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
In terms of historica linterest, what I think is the most interesting time in American history is the period of the new frontier where Cowboys were the "heroes" of the west. It never crossed my mind that a game could be created following this format till Rangers Land.
Rangers Land is a browser game that puts you in the seat of an enterprising cowboy seeking out his fortune in the harsh lands of the west.
Rangers Land gives you a lot of options as you start out in the game. You can either begin as a cowboy doing quests to help establish yourself as one of the big names in the new frontier or you can go out and try your luck in the world by traveling from town to town trying your hand in capturing outlaws for their bounty.
This is one of the few titles where the game does not push a set path for players to follow. Though no matter how you look at it, going for quests first is the easiest decision in your game play, the game does not limit you to stick to it.
If you decide to follow the usual path of concentrating on doing the quests till you have earned enough cash and exp, you'd be doing the usual quests of bringing stuff from point A to point B with the rewards usually in-game currency which is sometimes accompanied by premium currency to make you experience the perks of investing in the game.
Personally, Rangers Land's quests are run-of-the-mill however they're integral in the sense that they serve as your baptism into the game. Do not expect any spectacular "western-ish" quests, the game does provide a sober look into the everyday life of a cowboy which adds flavor to the whole game play element.
However, if you are going to follow the other more "carefree" style of playing, Rangers Land's version of travelling may or may not suit your needs.
Travelling in Rangers Land uses up real time, the fastest travel time would be about five minutes. What's unique in Rangers Land is that unlike most browser games where your only way of knowing if you reached your destination is through a timer that the main interface has, in Rangers Land you will be lead to a page that shows your character riding a horse and in the lower left of the screen you would see how long it takes you to get to your destination, your character and the horse are animated, which is the game's visual representation of your journey.
Hypothetically speaking, the representation is a good way of entertaining the player, however, if that's the case then it fails as an entertainment tool. Seeing your character horsing around, a term which I fondly use in reference to the animation, gets tiring fast.
Personally, I didn't even bother staring at the page seeing that the animation only loops continually. The other thing about the page is that you have to manually update the time to see how far you are from your destination.
The problem with this kind of gaming set up is that it can take more time than usual. If you're the type who needs a browser game to tide the time at work, I suggest you find other games due to the fact that the flash animation may cause problems if your workspace is too cluttered.
Like most browser games, Rangers Land is a game that uses resources in its game play. However, the game differs because the resources are not the end product nor the measuring tool to determine if your character is strong or not.
The thing that determines your strength in the game is how armed and how many men you have at your disposal. Your men are your most important tools in the game, which works quite well with the game's overall western theme.
Premium Points and Game Balance
One good thing about the game is that it keeps itself balanced even with the premium items. Getting a starter kit or going premium provides comfort rather than providing a significant advantage over other players.
I find this a good point for the game because this harmonious mix of the premium items into the game without tampering too much with the game balance fosters a good gaming atmosphere for the free account players as well as the paid ones.
As you play Rangers Land, you'll eventually reach a point where plain old questing and travelling gets quite tiring. The alternative to this is to have duels with either the system or other players.
However, with the browser limitation in terms of movement, what Rangers Land provides is a "semi live" type of duel where you dictate what kind of posture your character has. The posture of your character determines the bonuses and your default move until you change it.
I find the duel system in Rangers Land a nice alternative to the expected, high paced shoot 'em ups in most western themed games. Though for people who expected something else this could really be a big letdown, however, if you can get past this system limitation, I can say that you can enjoy playing the game for quite some time.
There is a lingering system flaw in Rangers Land, and that is related to the language used in-game. Though the game provides you a choice as to what server you want to be part of, there are times when the game system language turns into German.
Not only does this happen in page errors, there are times when the game system itself becomes German. One example is in the store page, where you are welcomed in English by the storekeeper and when you start doing business the language changes into German.
If I were to choose a problem that needs to be resolved as soon as possible, then this would be the thing I would suggest be the priority of the development team. If they plan on making this game accessible to English players, they have to make sure every game text is in English.
For a Western-themed game, Rangers Land is a game of its own, it has deftly managed to get past the problem with themed-related expectations but the language issue really needs to be taken into account as soon as possible. For players who are looking for a western themed browser game then Rangers Land is the game for you.
It provides a nice western themed setting
You are given freedom on how to proceed to the game
The game is balanced
The game is not yet fully translated into English
The travelling animation gets boring after a minute
You can't multi task with the game if your workspace is that cluttered