Posted by Benjamin Webb on Aug 16, 2012

TERA Review


TERA
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Bluemouth / En Masse
Platforms: PC
Release Date: June 4th, 2012
Price: $39.99USD (Buy Here)

Overview

TERA is one of the few MMORPG’s of it’s kind. It features a kind of real-time combat system and mixes it in with a creative fantasy world filled with monsters and amazing locations. As with every MMORPG there is a little bit of a grind, but with TERA it is one that feels like it fits. Read on to find out our full thoughts on the game.

Story

Much like most MMORPG’s, TERA has a very light story that feels as though it was inserted as an afterthought to the questing and grinding. Fortunately for gamers that love MMORPG’s where the story doesn’t feel forced, and doesn’t really detract from the multiplayer aspect, TERA’s story is one that doesn’t do either of those things. Or at least, it’s not as invasive as other games in the genre.

For instance, the game still does carry a player centric story, but I didn’t really feel that I was the only person supposed to be going through this story. There was only really one point early on where it felt like I was the only person supposed to be doing this, but it was on the tutorial island. It still counts, but it is kind of the point of tutorial portions.

The story in TERA takes the form of cutscenes and written text. Luckily, none of these are particularly long or feel as though you’re not really in control of your own character. This is something that a lot of story-centric MMORPG’s do wrong, and that’s have long-winded cutscenes that take away control of your character.

So in short, TERA’s story is kind of done okay. I’d prefer it if the game didn’t have one at all, but, you know, it does and for what it is, it is done kind of okay.

Gameplay

The gameplay in TERA is where the game truly shines. TERA’s biggest strength is in it’s somewhat unique combat system in the MMORPG genre.

What makes this games combat system unique is that players will engage enemy groups in a form of somewhat real-time combat. I’m not talking SWTOR levels of somewhat real-time, I’m talking videogame terms of real-time. Basically what players will be doing is aiming their crosshair at enemies and then mashing buttons to kill them. And that’s only on a basic level. Your average fight is probably going to look more like this:

  1. Hit mob to gain aggro
  2. Kite mob until it attacks
  3. Get behind it and wail on it
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until it is dead.

Like most MMORPG’s there is an emphasis on group play, and this is especially true in dungeons. Now what you might be thinking is this: ‘how does real-time battle system work with parties?’. Well, I have to say that the team behind the game have taken the traditional MMORPG party build and have made it work in a real-time environment. So, for instance, you have your Tank up the front taking up enemy aggro and taking all the hits whilst the healers heal them and the damage dealers run around and kill everything.

I also really liked loot distribution in this game. When in a party, it doesn’t matter who picks up an item, it will always be distributed in a round-robin fashion. I also like what the community has done with the loot distribution in that if someone is given an item they can’t use and someone else needs it, it is commonly agreed upon that players will trade the item over to that player free of charge.

Questing in this game feels like an easy way to gain experience. I’m not entirely sure why I felt this, but I felt that there was either too many quests, or that the quest rewards were too great. I think what gave me this impression was that early on (between levels 15-20) I had completed a few quests and handed them all in, only to level up three times within a few seconds. Though, this has yet to occur again and I’m not entirely sure how I managed it. I may have had a massive backlog of completed quests that I went around and handed in.

The one downside to the games gameplay is that it, at least on me, had that soul-sucking feel that I think a lot of players can relate to. This is a game that I had to make myself put down. Is that the kind of game you need in your life? This is something that only you can answer.

Also, I’d definitely recommend playing this game with a controller. But it’s not entirely necessary, keyboard and mouse feel fine.

Video

When I had first heard about TERA a few years ago, I thought that the game was going to look like a graphics-whore’s wet dream. However, it has been a little while since then and the game really doesn’t look as good as I thought it would.

I mean like, really, it’s running on DX9 architecture but none of the world looks as realistic as I thought it would. However, this does not mean that it is not a pretty game. TERA is easily one of the best looking MMORPGs in terms of art-direction. The world is incredibly beautiful and the character models are very personable whilst retaining a fantastical element to them.

One thing with the art direction that really struck me was how each of the playable races has it’s own style. For instance, one race will be much more seductive and sultry looking whilst another is fully clothed and more defined.

Overall in the video department, if you’re a gamer looking for a PC-breaking graphical phenomenon in their MMORPGs, you probably wont find that here. However, the art-style is amazing and suits the game very well.

Audio

If any of you have read any of my reviews before, you’ll have noticed that I talk a lot about how long it takes me to switch the games soundtrack off and play my own music in the background with Windows Media Player. This game took me a few minutes to do, only because it initially didn’t seem like there was any background music at all.

In fact, it took me until the end of the tutorial area to even realise that there was actually a background score and that it was actually okay. However, after questing in some areas for hours on end, you really do need something to break up the game and playing your own music may help to do that.

In regards to sound effects, if you’ve played any kind of action game before, you’ve probably heard a similar sounding set of effects. I’m not going to say that they were lifted from anywhere, because I really have no evidence and I honestly don’t care, but there really isn’t much of a way to do some sounds too differently without them sounding off. So as a result everything sounds as though it should.

My one complaint with the audio is that with some emotes your character will start using their own voices. The complaint comes mainly from the fact that the voice loops. My female character has this looping voice track that when minimised gives people the wrong impression about what I’m doing. Nothing major, but less loops please.

Overall

TERA is a positive step for MMORPG’s everywhere. If more developers could learn from what this game has done right, we could have a very strong series of MMORPG’s released further down the line. Anyone who buys this game will not be disappointed and it feels like it is incredibly worth the subscription fee.

Play with a controller and stick to populated servers. Buy this game if you’re into the genre or love action games.

8-5-capsules-out-of-10

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