Mythos Europe Preview
By Nic van ‘t Schip (Nilax), OnRPG Journalist
It’s been a bumpy ride for Mythos Europe to get to where it is now. Frogster is ready to “go live” with it soon but in 2008 the sad demise of Flagship Studios, developer of Mythos and Hellgate London, made it seem like the game was lost forever.
Luckily HanbitSoft picked up the remains and had their US based Studios Redbana and T3 Entertainment work on it.
Mythos is a bit of a special case for me. A couple of years ago I worked in the company that was originally going to be publishing Mythos and I remember seeing it in its very early stages and being excited about it! Here was a game that going to combine the sweetness of isometric hack and slash games with the awesomesauce of more conventional MMOs. Think of combining Diablo or Torchlight with WoW… wow!
The comparison to Diablo, Torchlight and Titan Quest should be crystal clear to anyone just from seeing screenshots of the game. Combat, the skill, stat and leveling systems, the inventory and many more features of Mythos will be very familiar to people who’ve played these kinds of games before.
But as usual in the games industry; it is better to copy something that works than to invent something that sucks right, even if it’s original? There are plenty of things that Mythos does differently and I might even say better than the Diablos and Torchlights of this world. I will try to explain what I mean in this review of the Open Beta version of Mythos.
Before even starting the game I ran into something interesting. After the usual username/password prompt, the game asks me for my “Secondary Password”. This is a password of 6 digits that can only be entered by clicking the numbers on the screen. As the location of the numbers on the keypad always changes I imagine this would make it extremely difficult for hackers to determine peoples’ passwords using conventional key loggers. It is a clever system that I’m sure will save both Mythos’ players as well as Frogster’s Customer Support Team a lot of time and headaches!
As with so many MMOs, Mythos starts by asking you to create a character. You can choose between four different races: the diplomatic Humans, the crafty Gremlins, the ancient Satyr and the imposing Cyclops. Each of these races offers the choice of 3 Classes: The Bloodletter, a short range melee character, the Pyromancer a long range offensive/support caster, and the rifle using Gadgeteer who takes on the role of ranged DPS.
Each class has three skill trees they can progress in and Kataal on the OnRPG forums describes them like this:
– Pyromancer: Cinderblade (Mage/Warrior), Flamecaster (Standard fire mage), Coalsmasher (Pets and AoE)
– Gadgeteer: Marksmen (Rifle Expert with Stat Effects and Range DPS), Grenadier (Traps and AoE grenades), Tinkerer (Robot pets, stationary turrets)
– Bloodletter: Crimsonate (DoT, close-ranged AoE), Martialist (Generic DPS warrior), Red Hand (Necromantic Warrior, summons pets from corpses and uses magic to enhance them)
As you can see in this video, the character creator gives you ample opportunity to customize your character without going over the top. As long as you don’t expect Aion, RIFT or FF14 style customization you will be impressed!
For this review I played an impressive looking Cyclops Bloodletter… RAWR! I later tried both the Pyromancer and the Gadgeteer but I believe I’ll be sticking with the Bloodletter for now!
Isometric you said?
The first thing you’ll notice when you start the game is that the camera is stuck above your character and even though I knew this game was Isometric it still surprised me a bit. The character creator kind of threw me off I guess.
However, the game had a surprise in store for me! If you really dislike the isometric view, you have the option to play the game using something they call an “MMO Camera”. It’s not quite as smooth and flexible as the camera in “real”3D games but for the die-hards it’s a nice addition none the less.
I didn’t find the game very playable using this camera so I’ll stick to the good old Isometric view. The cell shaded/cartoony look of the game is pretty sweet and the bright colors in the outside world are a nice contrast between the really dark and gloomy caves and cellars you’ll often visit.
I recorded the first couple of minutes of game play and you can check that right here. As you can see the game has a pretty decent (if somewhat intrusive) tutorial that will teach even the noobest of game noobs how to play. I understand that tutorials are important to get “new” gamers into your game but I am not sure if that is the demographic they should be looking for with this game. All in all it’s pretty hardcore and I doubt many people who have not experienced Diablo, Torchlight or Titan Quest will be playing this.
Combat feels nice and responsive if a tad click heavy, but for a hack and slash game I guess that is expected. The starting ability of the Bloodletter kicks ass and I really enjoyed going STAB STAB STAB EXPLODE with him at every opportunity!
The flow of the quests and the development of the story are solid and smooth. I wish the same could be said for the translation. Even though US based studios have been working on Mythos, it is very obvious that native English speakers did not write the English translations.
I hope that Frogster isn’t quite done with this aspect of the game yet. They have another couple of weeks before the commercial release and perhaps they can use that to fix some of the blatant mistakes. It has to be said however, that other than making me chuckle, these badly translated texts didn’t have a truly negative impact on the game. It was still very clear what the quest givers wanted me to do, and I never ran into a translation that made the story incomprehensible.
MMO Hack ‘n Slash
Following the quest line I quickly found myself in caves, cellars and meadows, dispatching big groups of wildlife intent on making me their lunch. The leveling system quickly managed to draw me in and the item and inventory systems feel nice and familiar without seeming stale.
All in all Mythos is turning out to be a solid hack and slash MMO, and although I hardly grouped up with other adventurers while playing, it is clear that the system for grouping is excellent. If anything I wished the earlier quests and dungeons required grouping a bit more. Diablo was ok as a single player but it really shone as a multiplayer game and the single biggest complaint about Torchlight has always been that it lacked a multiplayer option. Mythos is an MMO from the ground up that just happens to have many of the good things from those other games on top of it!
I’m looking forward to seeing the game improve further over the next couple of months and OnRPG will keep you posted on any updates!