Forsaken World by Perfect World Entertainment presents a pleasing fantasy MMO filled with sweeping vistas, vainglorious attention to detail, and a wide range of swords-and-sorcery that should captivate most players.
There are a number of races to choose from, each of which have their own distinct affect and they pretty much conform to the standard fantasy set: human, elf, dwarf, stonemen, and kindred. The kindred are more-or-less vampires—fangs and all—with their own Bram Stoker effect going on and the stonemen are a bit interesting. The rest are staple fantasy when it comes to what humans, dwarves, and elves happen to be up to. Altogether, each of them have their own distinct look, set of attributes, and even apparently gestures.
Character creation is a little bit bland, but we see this often in games nowadays. Everything is a slider with between 6-8 options for facial features, makeup, and hair type. And from there skin color and hair color for certain races can be chosen from a huge palate. Notice, though, this doesn’t stop the culture from enforcing certain norms (the number of red-headed, female kindred with cascading hairdos seems to be at the tipping point.)
Stonemen, of course, are only male–but that they only come with one class seems a little bit restrictive, Protectors. A sort of warrior/paladin role. As a race they felt rather locked in, but looking at the lore it makes sense. They are men carved from living rock and animated to one purpose: protect the land from the siege of evil. As characters, stonemen feel slow (although they seem to move at the same rate) they are huge, ponderous, and inexorable in their motions. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a sound-effect of thumping footfalls when they moved.
Dwarves can also only have one class—Marksmen—but they’re permitted both genders. Drwarven girls, in fact, look a lot like very petite women wearing huge dresses. Almost oddly Victorian, almost as if dwarven women feel the need to make up for a lack of girth as compared to their male counterparts.
You do enter your birth month and day when creating a character that sets your astrological sign. The sign changes day to day in game and during certain times you will be cast under a favorable sign increasing attributes and providing a temporary buff.
Character costumes in Forsaken World are extremely elaborate and detailed, although they tend to blur together a little bit as a result. Their articulation does strike me as different from other free-to-play MMOs that I’ve taken the time to delve into, and I appreciate that. It makes up for the sense of a lack of individuality when it comes to individual morphology. Even with all the sliders and color decisions, most characters of a particular race/gender look almost indistinguishable. You can eventually pick out the details (for example: makeup on some is quite striking) but they trend towards the same themes. The clothing does really seem to “make the man” in Forsaken World.
Attack and casting animations are full of definition and motion. Particle effects, special effect sheets, sparkles, billowing clouds, electricity, watery-distortion, you name it you’ll probably see someone produce the effect. While the graphics aren’t really that great when it comes to all these effects, they still combine to produce a sort of awe-inspiring firework display. Weapons and some armors (especially in the case of NPCs) have aura effects that come with them that look like clouds of darkness, arcs of electricity, billowing plumes of fog, and other interesting visual effects.
Their decision on what text to put on what background for quest text is a little hard to read on my laptop LCD screen (dark brown on light brown) perhaps it’s just a gamma issue, but really they might want to deliver a different contrast color for the font used; worse activity text is a lighter brown on the light brown background… Full screen mode and you won’t have trouble reading it. Perhaps the game just needs some typography lessons when it comes to helping players read what they need, especially paragraphs of quest and mission text. And there’s a great deal of it.
Forsaken World would appear has a story to tell and is a bit long-winded about it.
When it comes to art direction and detail the environments in this game really stand out. Each starting zone has its own theme and the graphical elements that appear in them instill a sense of atmosphere that prevails down to the tiniest detail. The vampire starting zone is covered with gothic, draconian architecture; guttering candles dripping on candelabras; even a graveyard with stunted and withered trees. The stonemen start in a cavernous, rock-laden area with a lot of browns and grays, and sharp angles everywhere—you can almost hear stone crumbling as you run about your business. The elves start in a jungle, crawling with foliage and dripping with water—in fact, much of it is swampy and shows off a brilliant water effect—with the trunks of trees vanishing into a distant fog, or turning towards the sun produces a lens flare in your “camera” that desaturates the screen.
The music and sound are present but properly subdued. Although, it seems like there’s a lot of sound effects currently missing—like the sound of stepping on leaves, different types of terrain, or wading through water; perhaps it’s just my settings—attacks, interaction, and other events do produce lifelike and quality sound effects so you know what’s going on near you. I haven’t encountered much grim battles yet, but I suspect it could become rather cacophonous as is proper for a game of this sort.
The zone musical scores are excellent; although a little bit short and looping. They seem to match well with the atmospheric art direction and ambient noises. For example, the creepy gothic undertones in the kindred areas are ethereal and haunting; the chittering of animals in the elven jungle mixes well with an almost choral ensemble of singing voices and harp music.
And so on, the developers certainly spent a lot of time in creating a game that feels cinematically immersive. Plus, there seems to be a lot to explore, even for a beta.
In game there’s a calendar system of events that provide competition (probably also PvP) and a way to get players to gather. There seems to be a fishing contest that runs every few hours and a couple other events for players to take part in. On the daily front there’s experience rendering events, although all of them seem to be closed at the moment. The calendar shows a lot of room for expansion and will probably provide a brilliant feature for players who want to jump into the experience.
The cash shop contains a variety of aesthetic items and some useful game-enhancing effects such as an extension to your bag space. Further, beautifully rendered and extremely involved outfits sets are also available there for those who are into the sheer aesthetic (like most of us.) There also seems to be several pets available, and they appear to be combat pets. Two mounts available, equally elaborate and well rendered—and quite flashy—possibly the Ferrari and Lamborghini of the Forsaken World.
Overall, the game feels well put together. The characters move and interact in a manner that doesn’t disturb the eyes, attention to detail in both graphics and music, servers have been stable the entire time I’ve been playing without much lag or interruption. Quest givers are obvious and easy to locate when there are quests available or to turn in and it’s not hard to determine what to do from reading the text itself.
As long as Forsaken World grows itself a strong community I would say it has a solid foundation of a game to take root in.