Allods Online Review
Allods Online Review
"Allods is a game that is finding a firm footing in the MMO community. With a $12 million dollar development, the people behind the game have a put a lot into making a fantastic world and they have definitely succeeded."
I was half disappointed when I started looking into Allods Online. Most World of Warcraft clones make some effort to differentiate themselves from their “influence,” but the first thing I saw was orks and quest marks. The graphics were pretty, the textures I would say are nicer than World of Warcraft, but ultimately it didn’t seem a million miles away from things that we’ve seen before – usually by developers with much more financial backing. So I was surprised to load the game up for the first time and find that, actually, it’s has some very interesting design choices. Almost from the get-go, before you even create your character.
It starts with quite a striking image: the two armies facing off against each other against what can only be described as a massively dramatic backdrop. The picture is still but is one of the single most impressive openings to an MMO game I’ve seen. Without saying a word, without a single piece of bad animation or silly voice acting, the tone is set in an instant. I decided to play as the bad guys, because I usually play as the good guys and the opening quests tend to be a little dull. I also decided to be an ork because, frankly, you can’t beat creating lookalikes in MMOs, right?
There are a selection of characters to choose from and a nice amount of classes. It’s fair to say that, again, there is a very definite whiff of World of Warcraft, but the similarities tend to be things that work well enough that they’d be hard to improve upon. As well as the regular sort of classes and races – as well as orks, you should expect to be able to play as humans and elves and the like, and classes are a standard affair as well – there’s one race that’s noteworthy. The Gibberlings are three characters in one – dog-like in appearance and with a certain cute-factor, if one wouldn’t be enough, his two friends would definitely be along for the ride. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that before and it was impressive, even though it doesn’t make a huge difference.
Once you’ve finished deciding on your character, you’ll be dropped into the story. There’s no slow, boring tutorial here (although there is a forced tutorial and those with weak internet connections or little MMO time should be wary), not baby-step missions to acquaint you to the world you now occupy. In both the Ork opening and the Gibberlings opening, some fairly major action occurs in the first couple of minutes. As an Ork, you’re aboard a ship being overrun by enemies. Within minutes you’re learning to fight off your foes and taking part in a huge battle. I was impressed by how close to the action you feel, firing cannons and dodging flames.
Story driven MMO
The Gibberlings, all three of them, are asked to attend a meeting by a grand mage and within moments the roof is caving in. It’s a nice set up, but with so much action so close to the game, there are moments after that feel dull. All the time this emphasizes something important: Allods is definitely a story-driven game. Which is fantastic, it’s something that we don’t see very often. Sure, there are quests in every MMORPG on the market, but those quests tend to mean nothing to the overall world, Allods does things slightly differently.
There are people that won’t enjoy countless quests – the major source of experience points – and for those people I would recommend skipping the game entirely. Personally, I love the way they’ve handled delivering a consistent experience and implemented systems to make sure you’re taking part in that experience. Lesser developers would have crumbled under the guise of doing something for everybody - Allods is what it is. As with almost any MMORPG, you’ll spend your time speaking with NPCs, running quests for NPCs and, if you can manage it, running dungeons. The sci-fi/fantasy setting is nice to see and well designed.
Everything is nicely designed
Everything is nicely designed, in fact. The graphics are nice to look at, characters well designed and locations interesting. Even the music is catchy, although I don’t think you’d ever want to actually sit and listen to the soundtrack. More so than almost any MMO I’ve ever played, there seems to be constant voice acting, not reading the quests to you but for story events. It’s a nice touch and something that is quite enjoyable when you’re wearing headphones. There’s enough colour to remind you that you’re in a living, breathing world and enough to remind you that the world is at war. It’s quite possibly the biggest free to play game I’ve ever seen.
It is free to play and it really is!
One of the nicest things about Allods so far is that it never seems to push that free to play status too far down your throat. We’ve seen examples in some of our previous reviews – last week’s Thirst of Night springs to mind – that really want you to spend as much money as you possibly can and remind you of it on every menu, every screen and when entering any location. Allods is one of those free to play games that’s so well executed that it makes you feel like spending money and there’s a wide array of things to spend on.
Getting towards the tail end of the game, I’m told, will reward you with the honour of being able to fly your own ship. The world of Allods are made up of different floating islands and the highest, with the biggest, bad-ass enemies, are only accessible by those with their own transport. Only the most dedicated are likely to get a ship, but it’s still another of those features that make Allods worth a look at, albeit it’d have to be quite a long, drawn out look.
You see, for everything that Allods does well – and believe me, Allods does a lot of things well – there’s a feel to the whole thing that just can’t be shook. It’s a World of Warcraft clone in the very truest sense and if you’ve spent a lot of time in Azeroth, you’ll probably find yourself on far too familiar territory. That’s not to say that the game is a copy and paste, but you’re never too far away from something you’ll recognise. This isn’t a terrible thing; it’s not great, but it’s not terrible. Allods, I think, is a nice free to play alternative to World of Warcraft and the similarities are enough that somebody unable to pay Blizzard for game time wouldn’t feel entirely disappointed.
The problem for some people will be that the game falls at the first hurdle. There’s a sort of mini-tutorial at the beginning of the game that, if you don’t get through it in one, you’ll have to repeat time and time again. I’ve had internet issues this week and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that if I didn’t have this review to write, I’d have long ago given up. If you have only a limited amount of time to play or if your internet hates you, pick a different game until you can spend a little time getting past the tutorial. Controls are easy enough to pick up anyway, and you’ll find yourself racing through those early quests.
Fantastic MMO world
Allods is a game that is finding a firm footing in the MMO community. With a $12 million dollar development, the people behind the game have a put a lot into making a fantastic world and they have definitely succeeded. I look at other free to play games and the glitches, the spelling mistakes and the sometimes abysmal design is instantly visible, Allods has the polish that only a decent financial backing can bring. I just wish they’d taken some of that money and put it into differentiating itself from the competition but, frankly, the business plan of being a free version of one of the most popular games of all time is probably a more sure-fire way of being successful than anything else they could have come up with.
Allods Online Review
by M. Growcott
© 2012 - DevilsMMO.com