GAMES: MMORPG | Browser | Fantasy | MMO Shooter | Strategy | MOBA | Sci-Fi | Action | Mac | Fighting | Sports |  




Free to play

Real Time Strategy MMO

Publisher: Jagex

Published: 2011

Review by: M. Growcott

Play free strategy game 8Realms

" 8Realms offers a great deal to people who want a new RTS that adds a degree of colour and fun "


8Realms Trailer

Similar strategy elements

8Realms is a game that instantly struck me as very similar to 1100AD, a game that I can’t say I especially enjoyed. The strategy element fascinated me but a dry delivery and a lack of any real story led to a game that offered so much but, ultimately delivered it in the dullest way possible. The first thing I noticed about 8Realms is how similar the make-up of your settlement is. You must build logging camps, farms and the like to keep resources coming it; it’s a strategy game through and through. It’s handled in such a great way however, that what could be just another strategy game turns into something colourful and entertaining.

Graphics are first to notice

The graphics are the first thing you’ll notice when getting into the game. You’re asked to name your settlement (I made a return to Matstown, the most originally named settlement in the world), and then the game runs you through building a few new parts to your settlement. This is almost exactly like 1100AD, the tasks you’re set and the time needed for things to build are at the very least extremely familiar. The graphics, though, and tone of the tutorial, turn what is effectively a waiting game into something a little more enjoyable. Your advisor tells jokes and hangs from the top of the screen, he peeks around windows and, on top of that, the explanation of what you’re supposed to be doing is made simpler and, therefore, more enjoyable.

The character in the game is all good and well, but it still needs to be a strong enough experience to stand as a game. Like 1100AD, the tutorial at the beginning of the game is fairly constant. It’ll give you enough resources (with a little change) in order for you to complete the next tasks and you’ll move fairly quickly. Until, that is, you start upgrading buildings and researching higher level skills, at which point you find yourself just waiting for things to happen. This is where gems come in: you can either find them out and about while you’re ruling everything your survey or – surprise, surprise – you can purchase them.

Basically gems help you skip some of the longer waits, purchasing gems will put you ahead of all those cheap devils who would rather wait it out (I’m one of them). It’s a nice option to have if you’re a little more of a core gamer than those who’re playing this through Facebook or during their dinner break, but it’s certainly not necessary – the mark of a great free to play game is that you never NEED to pay anything if you don’t want to. Big upgrades can take over half an hour but small, level one buildings can take as little as ten seconds, so it all depends how into this game you are and how long you mean to play it in single sessions.

There's a lot going on in this game, you never get bored

There are always tasks to do, although they tend to leave you waiting no matter what. At times I’ve had four or five different objectives, some of them not able to be completed until you finish others or until you wait for your resources to top back up (you get a set amount every hour, but it constantly fills). Generally though, there’s a lot going on and I’d certainly say more than 1100AD. I’d also say that you’re considerably less guided through the first portion of the game with objectives calling for you to do one of a number of things rather than making you build exactly the same basic settlement as everybody else.

Battle is simple

Battle is simple, some would say overly simple. Firstly you must build barracks and a parade ground, both tasks which are set to you by the tutorial. From there you can hire your first set of soldiers and send them out to battle. Like anything else in this game, you choose where you will send them, how many soldiers you’ll send and then you sit and wait for the result. Presumably there’s some deep system which decides whether you win or not (who has the more soldiers probably plays something into it), but the specifics of it escapes me. Either way it’s a very passive battle system: you’ll either absolutely love it or loathe it.

Play 8Realms

Social side is weak

The social side of things are something of a disappointment. While some “single player with PVP” MMOs make do with a server-wide chatroom that you can access at any point, 8Realms has a forum. You have to leave the game to get to the real social element of it, which doesn’t make much sense. In game you can fight against other players, you can send messages to others and compile a friend list, but there’s never any real constant contact with other players and, outside of getting your Facebook friends involved, this isn’t a game that you’re going to be using for human interaction. It doesn’t make much difference to the game – which is just fine – but it’s not really an MMO.


Comparison with 1100AD ( see 1100AD review here-> )

It’s difficult to finish this review and not to compare 8Realms with 1100AD: whether by coincidence or not, they’re very similar games. Both are very much built for Facebook – a fact that some may find hugely annoying – with constant chance to share your completed tasks on your wall. It’s built around playing in short bursts, thirty minutes here and there, and the game rewards you for doing that. Unlike 1100AD, more interested parties have a far better way of playing in large doses and that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to pay for anything. The pacing in this over 1100AD is far, far better. Ultimately, it comes down to a choice of graphical tastes (whether you like the more serious nature of 1100AD is probably what it’ll come down to) and there’s not a huge amount else to make you pick on over the other.


Nicely designed game

Like some browser-based games, there are some issues with the engine. Clicking some things can take a second to load and, if your connection drops for any reason, you can take a few seconds to get back into things. The design is nice but the movement on screen is at a minimum, little animations play when events are described or around some of the farms, lumber mills and the like. You never get the feeling that things are being pushed as much as they could be and this gives off an impression that things are very still, not much is happening and that can make the long waiting sessions seem even longer.

Play 30 minutes a day and experience fun to play RTS

Despite this, I really like 8Realms; it feels far less involved than 1100AD, even though you end up doing far more. Any frustration I had in trying to get through the game – waiting for things to happen is never exactly a great time – was alleviated by good writing, nice design and excellent pacing. While the base game is exactly the same, which could become frustrating for people who have already played 1100AD to death. 8Realms is a RTS (with slight MMO elements) that is well worth looking into for thirty minutes each day but is unlikely to stand up to extended play, or lots of repeated play.

Play 8Realms

In short, this is a game that is absolutely made for the Facebook crowd and there’s nothing especially wrong with that. It’s a social game and you’d find it more amusing to play with people you already know rather than with random people. On the whole though, 8Realms offers a great deal to people who want a new RTS that adds a degree of colour and fun to the 1100AD formula, although don’t expect to be converted if you absolutely hate the genre to begin with. Personally, I really enjoyed it, but I can’t see me putting too much more time into it.

© 2012
written by M. Growcott

© 2011-2013 DevilsMMO - All Rights Reserved    ||  Contact us | Privacy Policy | Employment | About