By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
One of the big things that harms immersion in an MMO is, “How am I the only legendary hero?” In the Star Wars MMO, you’re the Chosen One; in Warcraft you’re the leader of your own damn army! So many games approach this trope with a different way, but ultimately, you’re supposed to group with other “chosen ones” that are just as legendary as you are. That’s dreadful! However, Skyforge approaches this with a truly unique approach: All the main characters, the players? They’re Gods of varying degrees of power. You’re all immortal badasses who can tap into ludicrous powers, swapping character classes to do whatever they want to. Well, for the most part. As you progress through the provinces, you can unlock Temples for the other classes, for the purpose of unlocking the class associated with them. Though there is an option to use real money to get them, I do not know if it means you unlock the class early, since the shop would not pull up for me. There is also a donate option [3 million credits, but I didn’t have that either!] Though if you just work through the campaign you can unlock classes that way. That’s the way I plan on going about it. However there have been a ton of changes since the game first appeared [RE: When I reviewed it initially], so it basically has the feel of a whole new game for me. The Ascension update made a lot of my initial gripes disappear, and as a result I’m having a lot more fun.
Skyforge follows a character who starts off as a mortal, but through the course of the tutorial activates their inner, true power and becomes an immortal; a God! Each class plays differently, and plays smoothly on the PS4. The most important thing to me to talk about, is how it handles. I was not wild about the controls on keyboard and mouse, because action-MMOs I feel play better with a controller. That’s personal opinion mind, but I stand by it. I have to say though, I absolutely love playing on a controller; it felt smooth, fluid, the only thing that doesn’t work as well as I’d like is back-dashing. If you press down on L3 and push a direction, your character will dash in that direction, i.e. The Cryomancer will ice-slide in that direction. However, it doesn’t feel as swift when going backwards. Other than that, it’s terrific. You have a basic attack button, and a variety of other buttons tagged to your powers as you unlock them, and some of them have combinations of buttons [Hold L2 to pull up a whole new list of abilities, for example]. This isn’t unique to console MMOs, so for people that primarily get their MMO gaming in on console, they’ll feel right at home. Not to mention, you can pick up weapons that enemies drop that give you new and honestly powerful kits, for a time. My favorite is probably the laser rifle that just obliterates everyone with a rapid fire series of blaster bolts.
Another thing I really enjoy is that it doesn’t always feel like an MMO. What I mean is there are so many missions and storyline maps you can just play solo, dodging, weaving, and blasting your foes to bits. There are so many damn maps! You have a whole campaign map, with each screen being a province, with its own stages, goals, and challenges. The class temples are there as well, where you can unlock powers for your class [both PVE and PVP powers], by completing… Well, honestly very easy quests. They don’t take long, but you do have to put some leg-work in. This will mean more power, with more responsibility [Thanks, Uncle Ben].
Speaking of classes, you might ask, had you never played Skyforge on PC, “How can I go from a spellcaster to a tank? Those stats don’t work together at all!” Skyforge however, has a very simplified stat system. For example, Might covers all damage all the time, no matter what class you’re playing. But, back to maps. You have Provincial Maps to explore, stage by stage, kind of like a beat ‘em up mixed with an RPG. You have an open world where you can group with players, or still fly solo, completing quests, and competing in PVP. You also have dungeons you can best with your friends.
Oh my Lord, there are so many things going on here! You can even answer cries for help from the people, which give you goals/quests to undertake in certain provinces. Part of being a God is being worshipped, and once the people believe in you, they’ll make offerings to you at your temple. You can gain even more powers, such as bonus Might/other stats from this.
At no point did I feel like I had nothing to do, or that I could not handle the content of the game because I wasn’t spending money on it. Does it have microtransactions? Of course, basically any F2P game does. They have to make money too, you know. Would my gameplay have been faster? Possibly, since the rewards are better. But that’s as far as credits go; you won’t be directly buying end-game gear or nonsense like that. It would have let me unlock Barbarian much faster, which is okay with me. But it in no way makes the game easier, or makes you better at it.
Gods, Gods, Everywhere: Not a Drop to Drink
We’ve reviewed this game before, so I strayed as far away from the technical aspects as I possibly could. The game has changed exponentially since our last chat about the game, and while I wasn’t the biggest fan on PC, I absolutely had a ball on console. I had to play on the European servers, so I had a fear of there being latency/lag issues. I played at all different hours, for good lengths of time to try and test that, but I received almost no issues with framerate. I had one tiny bit of lag this morning, but that was about it. Action MMOs like this do well on console, and especially since you can play so much of the game alone, though you don’t have to.
All the classes I played worked fantastic on console. The controls were smooth, and the game is gorgeous. Honestly? I wish more MMOs were on console except for one tiny thing: Chat outside of voice chat sucks for all MMOs. Unless you have a gamepad with a keyboard, or an actual keyboard, you can’t just “chat” with people in most MMOs, which is something I do a lot of. But why do I like console MMOs? You don’t have to worry about your PS4 not being able to handle it. If you have one, you can play at the same level as all other console players. The only difference between players is their Internet connection. But with new technology, we can get more and more people playing MMOs together than ever before. The only thing we’re missing now is more crossplay. I do not believe that Skyforge will feature it, but one day, it is my dream that more console MMOs will feature it. The PS4 version of Skyforge is the definitive game, and I had way, way more fun on PS4 than I did sitting at my desk playing. It’s not likely to change the mind of someone who hates the game, but for someone new, someone inexperienced or curious? It’s more than worth the price of admission.