I decided to put together a little ongoing review of my travels through this game world. My experiences, opinions, hopes & ideas regarding Tabula Rasa. I will start with well, the beginning so I am going to have to look back over the last month...
To start with please allow me a brief introduction of myself (Feel free to skip). I started off playing RPGs with the likes of Suikoden II, Final Fantasy (which I have really lost faith in) and Baldur's Gate. So yes, quite a standard beginning to my love of role play games. I then began playing MMOs with FFXI (Final Fantasy XI) which I played for about two and a half years, then briefly tried EQ2 (about a week) before deciding to jump on the WoW bandwagon (a year), Followed briefly by my flirting with the F2P (Free to play) games like RF Online and now, finally Tabula Rasa.
The first thing I noticed about TR was the very nice into sequence and In my opinion that is rather important, It helps set the mood for that first time you gain control of your avatar.
For anyone who has not yet seen it, here it is on youtube, the quality is none too good but...you get the idea. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpGhOEvVURM
The problem is, every time I look at any games intro, I always compare it to the FFXI one in my head before I can stop myself, always a mistake. But still I can see they have put a good amount of effort into it.
The character creation is very basic, I noticed that I spent more time than usual on the name however, as with TR, you keep the same surname with every single avatar. It has to be something you can live with. The good news is that today it was announced that the next patch will contain "hybrid race" so I hope thats a move in the right direction for this important section, we all like to be individuals right?
That over the tutorial was simple yet I found myself forgetting all the information and working it out again for myself. Testament to my personal belief that "Press B for backpack" tutorials are unnecessary and actually spoil the mood.
Once the game Starts though I was more than impressed, not a single Elf in sight, the Bane spawn by either teleporting or arriving in drop-ships, much better than the appear out of thin air in most games. I soon got into the swing of things, looking for logos (information left by a powerful alien race), making peace with the local alien population who have joined us in our struggle against the bane invasion.
The monsters all look suitably alien the terrain in the initial zone looks like the devs were thinking "earth but with an eerie offworldish feel to it" and I like it. The graphics were good (I will say here that I can run it on max settings with my rig) and I have no complaints here.
The sound is ok, it suits the game style, the terrain, the sounds of gunfire, mobs, drop ships and explosions are all good. But still no match for the mighty Hawkwind.
The battle is allot more involved, you have to gain cover, reload, crouch and select which of your mighty arsenal this monster is going to have the pleasure of meeting. The typical elements like Fire and Water are still around but now we have the additional EMP & laster among others. Also the use of bombs and grenades adding to the fun, then there are your "Logos" powers, much like magic or special abilities. Many of the skills need you to find these Logos before you can use one of your class skills and sometimes you hear a little recording of the "Eloh" these powerful and questionably wise aliens and their reason for sharing their powers with the human race, through these some of the games very nice story unfolds.
The story, seems very well written, while we have our share of the usual collect 10 of these quests, they are all explained, some times by coming to terms with the new planet, a strategic move against our bane enemies, an Eloh crash site or shelter. It all gives the feeling that not only does it save you from the grind, it saves you from the thirty six thousand story threads I have seen in some games. And I do like a good story.