Monday, February 11, 2013

Broke Video Gamer: Forge Review

There are times when I don’t even want to pop into the open world environment of MMOs. Those days, I’d just like to turn the game on and head straight for combat. For that, there is Forge and it is available on Steam for $20. At this price, it is on the high end of my budget for individual games. I am loathe to spend more than that.

Last year, when Forge was still in alpha release, it was already getting rave reviews. When it officially launched at the end of 2012, the critics couldn’t stop talking about it. Some called it revolutionary and unlike anything seen before. Well, I didn’t buy it. I waited, bringing a review months after all the hype. Where is Forge now?

Click through to find out.

There are those who log into an MMO and immediately queue up for PvP. I am one of those people. Traditionally, one has to go through the PvE aspects of an MMORPG to gather gear and build some skills and abilities to fight with. Forge has no PvE whatsoever and goes straight into the match. Players have universal skills available for their chosen class. Gear isn’t a factor, either: everyone is supplied with standard issue stuff. What your character carries and wears is specific to their class and cosmetic in nature. Skipping all the character building has it’s appeal: Sometimes, I just want to go straight into battle. However, what’s missing is the pride that goes along with bringing hard-sought arsenal into the ultimate arena against other humans.

There are five character classes to choose from. The Assassin is the classic thief class with abilities to go into stealth mode and use melee to slay opponents. Pathfinders are like World of Warcraft’s hunter class, using ranged combat and the ability to make themselves invisible. Pyromancers are fire mages, able to summon powerful burning magicks to dispatch enemies. Shamans are the healer class and can be highly valuable to a team. Last, but not least, are the Wardens. They call upon strong melee and defensive capabilities to fight. During an ongoing match, a player can switch into any class to adjust for the balance of their team and compensate for what the dynamic battlefield requires to win.

Mechanics are tough to learn and get used to. Forge breaks away from the traditional keyboard keys of 1 through 0 to trigger abilities. Instead, it uses letter keys E,R,T,F,G,C,V, etc. Unless you’re really good and quick about switching from the WASD keys to move around and launching your spells at the same time, binding these keys to your MMO mouse is highly recommended. My mouse doesn’t have enough buttons, so I went ahead and played without doing so. Needless to say, I was slain quite a bit before I acquired the finger dexterity to properly do battle with a keyboard.

The game modes available are standard fare for PvP games: Team Deathmatch, Capture-the-Flag, and King of the Hill. The maps are what makes the different modes interesting. With multi-tiered and highly detailed environments to fight in, it’s hard to master the fights. It isn’t easy to learn the maps when the other team is coming down with all the firepower they can muster. My first few games left me confused and wondering about my bruised ego. However, once I got the gameplay down, accomplishing my first kill was highly satisfying. I was also rewarded with experience points to level up my characters. Experience is earned through prowess and contribution. Dealing damage, playing the objectives, and supporting teammates all produce shiny medals of experience. I wanted more. I became bloodthirsty.

Sadly, since the hype has died down, activity on Forge has been a little sparse. The matches, while still fun, aren’t heavily populated. I’ve been in plenty of matches when there are only two players on either team for a TDM. There have been times when there are no games going at all. It is best to wait until EST evening hours to play. Similar complaints about player inactivity have been voiced over team chat. This is likely a dying game. Without a playerbase, an MMO cannot survive.

The raving reviews were spot on. This is a good game and worthy of your money. The dev team promise a lot of updates for maps and game modes for the future. It just needs people to play. I just spent twenty frickin’ dollars on it, so pretty please, with a cherry on top: Get it. Find my gamertag so we can be friends. Then, we can do battle and I can set you on fire with my Pyro.

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