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Not So MMO: Eden Rising Review

Paul Eno Posted:
Category:
Columns Not So MMO 0

Explorers and discovers. Two of the more prominent descriptors we humans use to describe ourselves. Is it any wonder, then, that when faced with the discovery of a mysterious alien portal to an unspecified location that there is no hesitation in the decision to plunge headfirst into the unknown? It’s not our fault that there is a peculiar alien AI waiting to coerce you into servitude and set you against the nearly insurmountable obstacle of an entire alien planet’s natural denizens in an effort to reclaim various empirical outposts in order to further the exploitation of the planet's resources. But don’t despair! Your friends can come, too! And, of course, the views are lovely this time of year. Don’t let the “anti-establishment” rhetoric worry you, this game has a lot to offer. This is our review of Nvizzio Creations and Meridian4’s open world, multiplayer, tower defense hybrid, Eden Rising.

First things first, Eden Rising is beautifully stylized in a stunningly detailed, yet simplistic fashion. Eden truly is something to behold, and certainly not something you can fully take in during a few minutes of play. Throughout various different biomes, the player will encounter a continually growing variety of flora and fauna and even rival aliens, some of which resemble earth’s vegetation and wildlife, others most definitely do not. With each biome comes a slew of new things to discover, and you should. Saying that is probably a moot point as you will need to wander the landscape to retrieve valuable resources in order to beef up each area’s outpost or crucible. But enjoy the visuals and lovely varieties as you go, that is, before they try to kill you.

Yes, Eden is a good sized playground of beautiful and imminent death. Okay, it’s large. But don’t let that intimidate you. As you wander through various areas searching for various resources, you will encounter platforms that you can activate that will open up a form of instantaneous travel from that platform to any other you can see from that vantage. I rather enjoyed the way this form of travel was implemented as it appears to turn your avatar into a stream of reddish light as it traverses between the two destinations. For even quicker biome-to-biome travel, players can access each biome’s crucible and travel instantaneously to any other outpost they have activated. But for quickly zipping around the biome for specific resources, the platforms are the way to go.

You will find yourself spending ample time gathering resources, the most prominent of which is the “module” that allows for upgrading the crucible and its inherent functionality. That, of course, won’t be your only focus. As you progress from biome to biome, new resources will become available and new technologies and schematics can be found or won. This includes everything from schematics for updating crucible defense turrets to schematics to help broaden your personal armory. Be warned, some of the challenges for obtaining said schematics can be very challenging, and I would not suggest casual players attempt it on their own.

While you can choose to play on your own, Eden Rising allows for up to eight players to work together on the session host’s world. Hosting a game gives you the obvious benefit of having companions to assist your world’s progression. Whereas, playing on other people’s worlds also grants you benefits. Any schematic the host has unlocked, fellow players will have access to those schematics while in that session. While most resources will not transfer between worlds, your nanochips, which are rewarded for defeating waves of assault against the crucibles, will remain with you, and the experience you earned while there. Also, any weapons or armor you have equipped at the time. Hopefully, you can make friends, or bring some along, that will give as much help on your world as you do on yours. Many of the challenges are nearly impossible to do on your own.

The different types of equipment and weapons can greatly influence your playstyle, and I would suggest getting familiar with them all as each has its specific efficacies and the nature of a biome’s fauna changes as you progress. For example, in the Fungal Preserve biome, you will want to obtain schematics for the Sulfur Seed armor, which is highly resistant to corrosion and nearly every creature you battle there have powerful corrosive attacks. Learning the benefits of each armor and weapon, as well as their different playstyles, will be of great help in your adventures.

Eden Rising’s central aspect is the crucibles, and you are tasked with reactivating and upgrading them each, as you can, in order to survive Eden’s sieges. This is where the “tower defense” aspect of the game comes in. From each crucible core, you will have access to both improve the defense of the crucible and to determine and initiate a siege. While not having to worry about stray assaults from wandering bogeys is always nice, I find it somewhat amusing that the native fauna defers to your preference in regards to when their sieges take place. How very Canadian of them.

Once you have laid down some defenses, you can go ahead and start a siege, in which you will be free to move between different chokepoints to assist your defensive matrix in annihilating assailants. As you defeat each siege, you will receive nanochips and links, depending on your performance. Usually, this will unlock the next siege and you will want to pay attention to the handy siege map and reform your defenses to compensate for changes. Some may require you have a prerequisite number of links, and if you find you don’t have enough, it’s likely you didn’t acquire all the links in a previous one. Each siege can be done as many times as you’d like, once unlocked, and doing them multiple times is a good way to also earn nanochips.

The crucibles’ sieges and tech trees are divided into tiers, and getting to the second or higher tier usually requires going to another crucible and completing a tier there before you will be allowed access to the original’s next tiers. This will mean that you’ll be visiting each crucible multiple times as you work to progress through the game. While each siege has multiple difficulty levels; solo, group, and tribe. I have yet to experience a “tribe”, but I’m assuming that means a full group of eight.

To be honest, aside from having a great deal of fun playing the game, I wasn’t sure what to feel about the premise. I got the feeling that beneath its beautiful world and great gameplay it was essentially a jab at the prospect of imperialism and its inevitable need for occupation or “colonizing” to extort resources. Even the music, which affected a tribalistic nature, seemed to be suggesting the player was on sacred grounds… or at least lands not their own and therefore have no right to appropriate, and the legions of creatures sent to tear down your crucibles are ready to back up that sentiment.

To conclude, the game is a blast, both as a lone wanderer and in a group, though working in a group ensures a more satisfying result. If you don’t care much for story and just what to get to the action, this is your game. Story bits are few and fairly easy to ignore. If you are a story hunter like myself, be prepared for a fixating and alluring story that follows the pretext of “less is more” as it leaves you to ponder the complexities and relevant results of aiding this obvious re-occupation attempt. Either way, this game offers hours of fun.


Score: 8.5/10


Pros

  • Artistically beautiful setting
  • Can play solo or multiplayer
  • Great game mechanics
  • Very challenging

Cons

  • Tower energy is too restrictive
  • Damage and Durability boosts not player placeable

Note: Our copy was reviewed on Steam with a code provided by PR.


sythrael

Paul Eno