A while ago I asked my friend why he played WoW. He simply responded with “efficiency”. What he meant by this statement was that he is a struggling graduate student with very little cash. The fifteen bucks a month gets you almost unlimited entertainment. I spent 15 bucks going to the movies last weekend for only two hours of entertainment. However, in the last few years (and especially recently) we have seen an explosion of the free to play model for MMORPG games.
Most of these games are the same tried but true formula. They are usually fantasy RPG styled with the same click and spam your abilities grinding game play that we all have come to have a bittersweet relationship with. If you’re anything like me, you have grown tired of it. That’s why when I heard about Black Prophecy while reading on my phone I kissed my Smartphone and the person standing next to me. After fighting off some girlfriend agro and after waiting a number of months for its arrival, I am excited to report my findings.
Black Prophecy brings what a lot of gamers have been excited for: A space combat MMORPG. Like a lot of the online community, I too delved into EVE Online. It is a beautiful game with a complex economy and awesome combat. However, as the elitists out there will gladly tell you, it lacks full controls. I am not saying that you can’t do anything in Eve, but I cannot move around as if it is in a FPS. With the arrival of Black Prophecy, we can rejoice!
Black Prophecy has a realistic and somewhat dark look (duh! its space). As far as game music goes, it does very well. Granted most of the time Pandora gets turned on and we turn off the game music gets repetitive. You won’t want to do that for Black Prophecy; the stunning voice acting is essential. We get a good array of young and old aged characters from your young and by the book commander to the senator that needs to ask you a “favor”. We also get great voice triggers from your teammates and enemies. If you are into the “in your face” action with having to deal with all the voices and chatting, (much in the same way Mass Effect fights are) then you will enjoy the voice acting.
Character creation is extremely detailed. You get more control over your appearance than most games out there. From the size of your ears to what type of scars you have and where you have them, this game breaks it down to each pore.
Combat. Combat is one of those things that create a great divide among players. Personally, I love new and innovative combat systems. For those of you who remember Age of Conan and its vector based combat system, I loved it. It was a little tough to use, but a lot of fun and a great new development for gaming. The point here is that a 3D skill shot combat system is exactly what the competitive community is looking for. While these three dimensions give great control, it still lacks that extra something. Luckily, the folks over at Reakktor agree with me here.
While in combat, there is a combat only resource called adrenaline. You can then spend skill points in tactics to get new and innovative maneuvers to “ace” your opposition. These tactical abilities use up adrenaline thus adding a new dimension to game play.
The game is divided in a major way between two factions: The Genides and the Tyi. Once you make this decision, some things change for you. The ship you fly is one. However one non-aesthetic change is what abilities you have access to.
Black Prophecy is a game full of potential for the futuristic pilot in all of us. However it has a lot of room for growth. Reakktor has done some amazingly original things with Black Prophecy and I hope they continue. But it’s not perfect.
Open world design. The idea seems pretty standard and most of you are out there saying “so what?” Well, turns out Black Prophecy does not have an open world design. It is an instanced based game and lacks a lot of the advantages that come with making it an open and seamless world. The geography of the game therefore loses meaning to players that just have to warp to a certain place.
The game has fantastic graphics. It is honestly one of the strongest parts of the game. Before all three readers go straight to the comment section and ask “Why is this in the bad section then?” let me explain. The graphics in Black Prophecy are so good that your computer may not be very happy with you. For all those out there with a decent gaming setups, fear not. However, if your gear is older than five years or so, you might want to hit up Newegg.
All in all, you definitely need to check out this game. It deviates from the white noise of hack and slash fantasy games out there. You can expect to see a lot of great stuff from a game and a studio that is breaking boundaries. Black Prophecy is a blast. It’s making tons of content additions (two expansions have already been released and for free) and we can expect to see a lot of great changes in the future. Check back later for our full review. Just remember, do a barrel roll kid!