Tera Final Review
This is a dang good MMORPG…but it’s got some serious issues with the grind, even if the basic system moves things forward. It’s the next step, but a tentative one.
Tera Final Review
All right, I feel really bad about this review. I paid $60 for Tera, gave it a good, hard look, and tried my best to play it. It’s a game that a lot of work was put into, and it’s a game that really worked hard to change the MMORPG system. IT tried to finally progress beyond the hotkey format, and make something that wasn’t just a WoW knock-off. There’s just one issue. The game is, to me, honestly boring. Note that this is a sequel to my pre-release review, so if you want more info on Tera, check that one out.
Note that it’s not a bad game. All of the things I said in the previous review are true. The basic system is fun. And it really does advance things forwards. It’s something more MMORPGS should do. The collision detection system, and the use of really good rolling, along with the really active feel of skills, is quite awesome. Even DC Universe Online doesn’t really have that feel to it. This finally brings MMORPGs into feeling like ACTION games, and not just going through the motions.
It has a secret, though. My friend Craig pointed out that he hated ‘hotkey’ games. Well, upon looking at it. It’s still, at the core, a hotkey game. You press ‘hotkeys’, like F1, 1, 2, F2, etc, to activate the skills. Or you use a controller, which is awesome. They just tweaked up the speed at which you hotkey, added skills that link to each other, and gave the game a collision detection system that actually works. The basic attack is still just a basic attack, without even DC Universe Online’s combination system. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is MILES above most MMORPGs in being fun, and is really the next evolution of MMORPGs, or it should be. It’s just not a completely unique system.
Now, the second thing I’d bring up, is the story. This is the area where I was pretty sure the game would fail. And I was right. The story is, as my friend Craig put it, “Interesting but not awesome.” And, that pretty much sums it up. The story never makes you go “HOLY SHIT”, or really smacks you over, even in one moment. Even WoW and Guild Wars have at least a couple of moments of this. The final battle with Arthas, or the end of the tutorial zone of Guild Wars, have moments where the story just bowls you over. It takes everything in a new direction. WoW especially, despite the criticisms, really does try to have dynamic characters. Whether it succeeds is up for debate, though I lean towards it doing so. In Tera, meanwhile, there aren’t any parts where the story really floors you over.
The problem is, the main plot essentially peters out once you finish the tutorial zone, and you go to do other things. While you beat a boss, and he provides a neat ‘Fools! You’ve only delayed us! You’re too late’…that plot thread is abruptly dropped. You go to fight monsters at the frontier, and the plot just doesn’t get going. Even after 13 more levels, there’s no ‘HOLY SHIT’ stuff going on. A similar problem occurs in Forsaken World, actually. The tutorial zone has a tight, well-done plot (in fact better done then this), but it grinds to a halt once you start the game proper. It’s a damn shame, since while the plot of Tera was cliche, there was promise, hints of something cool. I wanted to see if it panned out. Much like Syrim, actually. The actual ideas were good, but the presentation sucked. It does not help that each class goes through the same zone, with the same quests, so getting multiple alts is meaningless.
Now, another thing to point out is that this is not an original, made for english game. This is a translation, athough many elements are tweaked, of a Korean MMORPG. This isn’t a bad thing, but it leads to a serious culture clash. And I’m not just talking about the race of cute girls who all look like they’re 12, but are actually 7,000 years old, and can be shown all sexy-like. That was handled pretty well by the translation staff, though the edits aren’t the best.
The big issue is that, in Korean MMORPGs, the grind is something that is expected. You know what I’m talking about. Kill ten monsters, congratulations, turn in the quest, kill 20 monsters, turn in the quest, kill 30, repeat ad naseum. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad gameplay formula. It works pretty well, and most MMORPG fans are willing to put up with it. Heck, SWTOR pretty much uses it, and so does DC Universe Online. Star Trek Online doesn’t, which is a credit to it. Now, most RPGs try to handle it by keeping you getting new quests, changing around stuff, and trying to make the quests feel like you accomplished it. They minimize it, cover it up, and try to make sure there’s more to the game then this.
Tera…doesn’t. It’s shameless about the grind. Quest leads to quest leads to quest, all of which are killing basic monsters. The characters who give the quests are all pretty much flat, if not interchangable. They speak with their own voice, but they never develop, and quickly fade into the background. A few people have personality, but the game doesn’t do anything with them.
All in all, the game is a grind. While it’s better then the majority of MMORPGs, at least in basic gameplay, there’s two questions to ask yourself when playing this game. “Does it feel like I accomplished something, when I spend hours every day playing this game?”, and “Is this a better game then most single player games I could be playing”. This game doesn’t JUST compete against MMORPGs for me. It also competes against Lone Survivor, Starcraft 2, Record of Agarest War, Xenoblade Chronicles, R-Type Final, and more. This is a game that costs $15 a month to play. A player has to think if it’s worth the continual drain of income.
And, for me, well..it isn’t. This is a game that is a great way to waste time, and it’s fun to play in moderation…but it can quickly reach saturation point. All in all, however, I have to rate this a 3/5 still. It’s a damn good MMORPG. If you’re looking for an MMORPG, and don’t mind grind, then this is the one for you. It stands out from the crowd. If you’re fed up by the grindy elements…it won’t change your mind. If you’re new to the genre, I’d recommend playing a free one just for a bit. If you already have friends playing, and can get a party, pick this up. It’s a good game, honestly. It’s just not my kind of game.