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War of the Immortals Review

War of the Immortals review

 Genre: Action MMORPG

 Publisher: Perfect World Ent.

 Free to play

War of the Immortals
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War of the Immortals is a Perfect World MMO set firmly in the age of mythology. Taking place after a battle between Odin and his archenemy Loki, you are brought back to life because you have yet to fulfil your life’s goal, whatever that might be. Download was a little slow, both by torrent and by direct download from the website, but later attempts have been mixed; it seems perhaps downloading at certain times of day is a bit of a no-no. In all it took a few hours to get the game onto my systea while longer. In all, the installation/download size is a bit smaller than Jade Dynasty and quite a bit smaller than some of the bigger games we’ve reviewed in recent months, so it’s a good option for anybody on a bandwidth allowance.

War of the Immortals character creation War of the Immortals


Creating your immortal

When I first started up War of the Immortals, I was genuinely surprised. After having just finished playing Jade Dynasty, I was expecting to go out of one game and into another slightly different, but mostly identical Perfect World-published title. My fears were all but confirmed when the character creation screen offered the same bland character customization options as Jade Empire, and by the time I’d finished I’d all but given up on the title. Once again, we have minimal options: far too many silly haircuts, a collection of disgruntled looking faces and not a lot else. If you enjoy making your avatar a representation of yourself, you’ll really have no luck getting too close to yourself in War of the Immortals (unless, of course, you’re a constipated young fellow with a silly haircut). I was left with what I felt was the least silly looking character and, if you take a look at the screenshot, that’s really saying something.

War of the Immortals War of the Immortals review


Surprise Graphical Style

So getting past the character creation screen was something of a relief. I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again: a decent character creation screen is often the first sign that you’re in for a good game. If the developers have put a lot of effort into letting you customize thing that early on, it’s not a huge leap to presume they’ve put a lot of effort into everything else. So, expecting a run-of-the-mill World of Warcraft clone, I started the game and was met with quite a surprise: War of the Immortals is a top-down adventure. Perhaps taking influence from another Blizzard classic – Diablo – the developers have created a world best seen from an angle. There are other options – you can zoom right in and control it like a regular MMO (WASD to move, space to jump) – but playing with the mouse more than the keyboard is how the developers intended the player to get through the game.

The camera angle surprise aside, the graphics in War of the Immortals are fairly good. Lots of colours, big structures and natural wonders to gaze at in awe and low system requirements make it a definite hit in the graphical department. Less impressive - and I see this as a fault of the style, rather than as a fault of this game specifically – is the level design can get very repetitive very quickly. Because of the limited scope if you’re playing top down, it isn’t long before you’ve seen almost everything the level has to offer and, other than at a few pre-planned moments, you’re not going to see much to surprise you. Music-wise, I found the score in War of the Immortals to be a tad overbearing: it tends to sound huge even when nothing is going on and it can get very tiring. The music itself is fine in and of itself, but you feel it intrudes on the game rather than supports it.

War of the Immortals War of the Immortals review


Odin out for a happy ending

Immortals tend to be a common theme in MMOs, I suppose it’s a “clever” way to explain how re-spawning works. So what does War of the Immortals do differently in terms of plot that makes it stand out from the crowd? In short: nothing. It’s nice to see a game based around mythology that doesn’t jump straight to Rome and Greece, but I’m not sure it’s different enough from said games to really stand out based on that fact. The story is your average man-vs.-demon epic battle sort of plotline that just means you’ll be fighting endless monsters and performing meaningless quests for people. The last bastion of human civilization, Atlantis, must be kept safe and you, a representative of Odin returned from the dead, must be one of those lucky few willing to save the day. As is always the case in this sort of game, the NPCs tell you how unique and special you are while simultaneously saying exactly the same thing to the dozens of people around you.

Massively Single Player

Although perhaps saying that there are dozens of people around is something of an overstatement. I’ve seen a lot of people around you but, very rarely those people are with others. This is multiplayer game made up of lots of people playing a single player game and, even at times when I’ve been told “a friend can help,” I’ve not struggled to defeat the monster alone. Perhaps later in the game, when the story stops being ever so engrossing (!), there are more opportunities to play as a team but, if there are, I’ve seen no evidence that anybody on my journey is at all interested in me or what part of the story I’m at. Saying that, the developers have tried to make things as group friendly as possible and, even in the very early parts of the game, you can use your magic and skills to benefit friends and potential allies. There’s also a chat box, but it’s hardly the most populated social facility in the MMO world.

War of the Immortals War of the Immortals review


Canned action

War of the Immortals calls itself a hard-core action MMO, and at least some of that is true. Action, like we discussed in a review a couple of weeks back, isn’t sitting watching your character perform cool moves with your having any control over them, and it certainly doesn’t make it any more action-packed than any other MMO out there. In War of the Immortals, you press an enemy and your character attacks that enemy. Sometimes you’ll use special skills, but for the most part you’ll just click and wait. In terms of hard-core, well, I’m not certain of that either, but given that it’s a harder word to define than action, I’ll just give that one to them. Considering the way quests are largely based around that “action,” though, granting them the term hard-core isn’t much of a concession.

Quests, hitting monsters and talking to strangers

Quests are handled to the MMO standard. You talk to a stranger, the stranger gives you a meaningless task – usually you find yourself killing a set number of some semi-defenceless creatures. Once you’ve killed five fairy bunny queens (not an actual monster, but it should be), you’re granted experience and, in some cases, money and items. Experience, money and items which boost your stats and help you acquire equipment with which to complete further quests. War of the Immortals manages to combine mundane gameplay with stereotypical writing and you’ll read more thines and thees within five minutes of playing than you would reading an actual old book. You’ll find yourself quickly bored.

War of the Immortals review

The Conclusion

War of the Immortals is a good game and, despite not expecting to have to write this sentence when I started writing this review, is a much better game than Jade Dynasty. While it still pretty much adheres to every MMO rule in the “big book of how everybody does it,” it still manages to be quite good fun, to look good and to entertain. While I wouldn’t suggest it’s perfect, some of the issues are immediately noticeable, it’s a fun game to play to get through an afternoon. Long term play is a completely different issue and I don’t think I could stomach the generics for too much longer.

M. Growcott
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