By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
The Exiled is a PvP-focused isometric RPG brought to us by Fairytale Distillery. It features sandbox features and an environment that fosters intense PVP action in an open world. It has unique feature in which game worlds are reset somewhat frequently, with them lasting up to a month. This means you can get in and go hard without having to worry about the long-term. But will these limited game worlds entice players to come play the game, or will it push them away for fear of their efforts being erased? I’ll take a look at The Exiled in this review and share with you what I find.
The game actually has more customization than you might initially think. Most of these I’ll get into in the “Gameplay” section, as they have (in my opinion) more to do with general gameplay than specifically customization. That’s not to say customization options aren’t there. The one area really lacking in customization features was creating my character. Maybe it’s in the developers backlog (they update the game quite frequently), so I’ll hold onto hope. But right now the only way to really make yourself stand out is by purchasing ‘Settler Packs’ to unlock some neat little avatar visuals. So: more than I expected, less than I wanted.
The game’s story and art style go hand-in-hand. I’m honestly not sure which was made to suit the other. I’ve played just about every MMO to come out, so I feel I’ve seen a lot and it’s hard to really impress me, but The Exiled did it. Kudos to their artist. The backgrounds and in-game objects all feel like (and perhaps are) finely detailed hand-painted artwork. Every step felt like a new piece of a massive masterpiece unfolding. The character, NPC, and monster avatars were all 3D and were quite well done, too. They even managed to make them blend quite well with the overall style of the 2D stuff. To reiterate: the graphics are amazing and I really enjoyed the color scheme for The Exiled.
The game looks great!
Controls are fairly standard fair for an action-based isometric title. It’s a lot like your average MOBA or even Path of Exile. The camera is nice, centering on the character and then roaming a little bit depending on where you point your mouse cursor. This gave combat an intense feel, especially when things got hectic and I had to move around a lot. Overall, the controls were well done, and I found very little in terms of issues.
Right now the community is somewhat small, but definitely not dead. I feel the game will see a massive population boost due to the switch from a 7-Day Free Trial to an ‘unlimited’ completely free-to-play system. Now would be the time to take a look at the game and establish yourself and perhaps your clan. Season #3 just started, so it’s a good opportunity to check the game out and learn things, then by the time Season #4 comes around the population should have grown a decent amount, and you’ll be ready to hop right in. Community plays a huge part in this game, especially clans. Don’t miss an opportunity to establish yourself while you can still get a foothold for yourself in the community.
You’ll notice a ‘Mixed’ rating on the Steam Store Page for The Exiled. This is mostly due to the game previously having been advertised as “Free to Play” and categorized as such on Steam. However, the reality was that there was only a seven day free trial. However, during the process of reviewing this game, the developers made a major change which removed the 7-day limit and turned it into an ‘Unlimited Free Trial.’ This is great for the community, and the game as a whole.
The previous 7-day Free Trial is now removed, replaced with an ‘Unlimited’ Free Trial. Just in time for Season #3!
I mentioned all that as I had written a couple of paragraphs regarding why the game has a ‘Mixed’ rating, but was honestly quite enjoyable. It, of course, centered around the developers’ poor choice that resulted in a lot of negative sentiment by a majority of the people who played the game. Well, that major obstacle is now gone, so we should start seeing a big uptick in positive reviews of the game. Now we just have to hope that the developers can figure out an appropriate and fair way to monetize the game so that it can be profitable and stay live.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into the meat of the game. The Exiled is all about player interaction, on both ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, you have tons of features and events that encourage you to work together. Then you have a ton of features and events that encourage you to kill each other. The key thing, though, is that there is always something you can be doing with other players. This is a social aspect that a lot of MMOs have been going without in the past decade and it’s quite refreshing to play a game that requires you to interact with players.
I love how there’s always something to do.
There’s always some event going on, and the developers have made it really easy to find them. There are alerts when some random event nearby is about to happen, such as when a meteorite is about to fall nearby or when a caravan is underway. These alerts are accompanied by screen compass indicators and markers on the map. Needless to say, these can be hotbeds of player conflict, especially when the goal is precious resources.
An interesting resource gathering system, though not entirely new or unique. I really enjoy the opportunities they bring, though.
Speaking of resources, The Exiled has a unique take on gathering. It actually reminds me a bit of the Thumpers in Firefall. You run up to a resource, claim it, and then you have to defend it while monsters (and sometimes players) try to kill you. Once a timer has gone off, you are then able to loot the resources and get out. Of course, you’ll have to be careful while looting the resources, as transferring lots of materials is not an instant action and it can leave you vulnerable to attack for a few precious moments. My one complaint is that the game (at least for now) doesn’t do a good job of explaining why you are being attacked by monsters that materialize from thin air while you try to get these resources.
The crafting is surprisingly fairly free form and sandboxy.
And with resources comes, of course, crafting. The crafting system in The Exiled is actually more in-depth than you might initially think. I was pleasantly surprised, anyways. With the resources you gather, you can craft gear for yourself, and you get to dictate (using special Resources and a limited point pool) how that item will modify your stats. For example, you could design a spear that is crappy in every area except for Attack Speed. You could then rename that Spear “Fast Pokey Stick” if you wanted. Or maybe you’ll make a completely trash weapon that has stats in all the wrong places, but give it some sort of epic name. Then all you have to do is get yourself Player-Killed. With the full loot system, it could result in some hilarious times.
The skill system is interesting, but I feel like it would get tedious.
Skills available to you are determined by a few things. First, your ‘class’ is determined by a combination of your choice of Weapon and Armor. Each Weapon and each Armor has a pool of skills available to them. For example, the Spear and Shield weapon offers abilities that keep enemies at bay so you can poke them from a distance, while the Cloth armor gives you healing abilities and magic to cast. Further, though, you have to gather ‘Sigils’ from killing Monsters which can then be used to unlock the full range of abilities for a given weapon or armor. After that, you can use ‘Pigments’ (also gathered from monsters) to ‘level up’ these abilities to make them stronger. I’m on the fence on this system; it feels tedious but I like the versatility.
Fast action is the core of this combat system.
And that brings us to combat. The game combat is somewhat similar to most MOBAs. Actually, the entire game feels like one big month-long MOBA match. Heck, you can even hide in the grass like you can in League. Anyways, that is to say that the game has action-combat that is very responsive. Combined with the way the camera works, intense fights are around every corner. Brush up on your juking skills, as you’ll need them in The Exiled. I really liked the combat in this game, needless to say.
Now that the developers have settled the ‘Free Trial’ issue, The Exiled is definitely one of the better games on Steam right now. And it’s free. There’s absolutely no reason not to play it… unless you absolutely abhor PVP. If you’re the type who thrives on PVP (Think Mortal Online, Darkfall) you will want to check this one out. Don’t be put off by the ‘Mixed’ reviews on Steam, the primary issue causing the negative reviews has been resolved and the game is everything a hardcore PVPer with a love for sandbox features could ever want. In case I didn’t make it clear: PLAY THIS GAME!
Features: 4/5 – Interesting and innovative.
Customization: 3/5 – More than I originally thought, but left me wanting.
Graphics: 4/5 – Interesting art style that fits the game.
Controls: 3/5 – They were OK.
Community: 3/5 – Still growing.
Overall: 4/5 – Completely free, innovative, and full of PVP fun!