By Jason Gallienne (Jrgsubzero), Onrpg writer
Before you begin to read this review I'd like you to drop any pre-conceived notions you have about this world. The media is usually never kind to this game.
This game is suited for the 18+ audience. If you are not of this age please visit http://teen.secondlife.com/. You may still refer to this review as I believe both versions are exactly the same but the teen version restricts content.
Another notice. If you are of age to play this but do not wish to see mature content you can filter it out with the appropriate buttons when you are searching places, people, groups, etc. Treat this like google when you search places. If mature content is enabled then you might get more than just what you wanted when you search "Club".
What do you mean I don't gain levels?
First, let's talk about the Game-play. This is a very hard topic to explain as what you do in SLdepends entirely on you. If you want to shoot zombies, you can. If you want to go to a club and dance your heart out, you can. Explore haunted houses, watch a movie, ride a rollercoaster, you can! The game is basically one giant sand-box. Meaning, everything in the game is made, coded, and ran by players (except the game itself of course).
Keep in mind that this game is aimless. There is no set goal for you to achieve here but much fun to be had. To go along with this the world isn't connected. Instead of being on one giant land mass you're divided into regions called "Sims". Each Sim is different and its contents are based on who owns it.
Confused? Well, let me try to explain it. There's a button called "Build" that lets you start creating (you can't build in most places as to avoid a spam of objects, press ctrl+F, click the places tab, and type in sand-box. Find one you like and teleport there. These are the designated building sites).
So, when this build menu comes up you can choose shapes and if you click the ground it creates itself there. Now, if you right-click whatever shape you made you can edit it in many different ways. But if you click the content tab you will notice you can put or make scripts in there to make it to a wide array of things. You're probably thinking, "Hey, if all I have are these shapes then everything in this game must be all blocky!" Don't fret, I'll discuss that when we get to the graphics section. Also, since you can build anything you can also look like anything. The customization on here is endless, you can even be Sonic the Hedgehog!
To continue, you can build anything your little heart desires and then script it to make that creation do what you program it to. But you don't have to choose that path. You are more than welcome to enjoy other people's creations and worlds. As I mentioned earlier, you can press Ctrl+F to search places you want to go. Some examples would be Amusement parks, Clubs, Combat, Racing, etc. There are many things to play and explore, you just have to find them.
The graphics in this game differ depending on who made what. This is difficult to explain in words, so here's some examples. A perfect example of how these shapes can turn into wonderful creations is by looking at the screenshot with the cat in it. Also, this game can be a computer hog and you may lag depending on where you go.
Some places may look like this.
Others like this:
And here's an example of a high-quality Avatar.
The people you will meet
The majority of the people in this world are very nice and will offer to help you if you're new. Granted, every place has it's own share of misfits and hooligans. People look very different from one another and can be many things, so you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But by all means, if you see a walking male genitalia then you can assume what you will of that person.
As with most games there is a forum so you can talk to your fellow Second Lifers out of world. In-world, you have basic chat options akin to most games like the friend list, instant messaging, etc. You can also create or join groups. This are like "guilds" as it has it's own chat-room and online list. As of now, you can belong to a maximum of 25 groups. An interesting feature though is the voice chat. If you have it enabled you can talk to and hear to those around you. To add a touch of realism the voices will become fainter as you move away. (There's an option for this to be triggered by your avatars location or the cameras.)You can also voice chat with your groups but this will disconnect you from the world's voice chat.
I highly advise you find a friend who plays or make one in-world. Since this game is aimless, you can get lost and frustrated very easily. I have seen many people quit right after logging in because they didn't know what to do but when I offered to help them and show them the ropes they changed their mind about the world.
Rags to riches?
The economy is based upon real-life cash. As it is right now, 1000 Lindens (L) is around $4 USD. It's cheaper on http://www.xstreetsl.com though. The value of that 1000 depends on the person though, if you want to save up and buy something that costs 20,000, you can. If you want to buy nice things that cost 1000 each that's fine as well. Now, this goes in reverse as well. You can turn your Lindens into real cash if you wish.
There are some ways to make money without giving them a credit card. That is by Camping (People pay you to sit on a chair. You get money per time spent there. For example, 2L per ten minutes), Building and selling your creations, scripting and selling those, getting a job (Security, Djing, Host, Greeter, just take a look for people hiring), and many other things but these are the basics.
Now, not everything in the game costs money. Most activities are free (who would charge you to dance at their club?) and some things for your avatar (hair, clothes, etc.) are free. Those types of apparel are called freebies and can be searched in the places tab. Also, if you go to http://www.xstreetsl.com/ you can search for what you want and then click the prices column. This will order it from cheapest to most expensive and there are often many items costing $0L on there. You won't find everything in-world but it sure beats drudging through a large place filled with them, especially if your computer can't handle that many things on-screen at one time, plus you can look decent with just freebies so don't worry!
Time to go already?
Overall, this will be nothing like you've ever played before. Heck, most people will debate whether or not this is a game. If you're looking to level up and PVP you won't find that here (Well, there is a RPG place where you can do this but it won't live up to the real ones). But if you're looking for a wide variety of things to do, want to meet new people, have a creative side, crave exploration, or want to try making a business and make real life cash then this game is worth at least one play-through.
- Very different from most games on the market (Generic grinders)
- A world you can help make
- Extremely confusing for new players.
- Unless you learn a trade the quickest way to earn money is by paying cash.