Citadel: Forged with Fire had its open beta this weekend just days before its early access coming up on the 26th of July. The best way to begin our impressions feature is with three words: wizards, wands, and dragons. This sandbox takes what is best in games like Ark and DayZ and brings it into a solid fantasy genre where you are a wizard. Instead of guns and dinosaurs, you’ll have spells, staves, and plenty of monsters to battle and tame. It is almost as if Harry Potter and Skyrim had an amazing sandbox lovechild. Citadel has huge potential for great fun.
Right now, in early access the game maintains a basic fantasy setting. You begin your journey as an apprentice set to make your mark on the world of Ignus. Your weapon is simple, the arcane arts flow through your blood like wildfire and you can unleash loads of spells. Being is a wizard is great, not always my first choice in games, but in Citadel, they have perfected making a wizard fantastic. You have a lot of options on weapons. Wands work well, but you can hold staves, or even axes, swords, or hammers. The main focus is casting however, but building your character is part of the fun. If you decide to go with the traditional wizard hat and robes you can, but maybe a skull faced shaman is more your design. Citadel allows for both.
In terms of game play, MMO players will remember Darkfall fondly and Citadel feels a little bit like the old school MMO. The first person interface makes for fast and furious gameplay, especially in PvP scenarios. The quickly you can sling the arcane on your foes the better. You have a small hot bar on the bottom of the screen which hosts your options on casting. The fighting is straight forward and fun, it did not take long to get the hang of and is refreshingly quick and easy for a game based in magic.
Your abilities come into play with Knowledge which allows you to level up. You have a core set of Attributes and then a secondary set which helps tweak combat with armor, resistances, and chances to boost critical spells. The core stats stick to health, mana, and damage. Making a character is easy and the current spell list is fairly simple to learn so character builds will work fine for most players.
Those are the basics, let’s get to what sets Citadel apart from other sandbox games. First, the dragons and monsters attack in a very Skyrim-esq fashion. It is great to see the sky filled with dragons and demons walking the paths. The sandbox has plenty of nasty toys. The classic fantasy setting is perfect for the style of game. Not only that, but as a wizard you can tame various animals and monsters. Yes, even dragons if you are lucky. There are time limits to taming spells however. Combine the taming of monsters with other means of transportation and you have an array of smiles on players faces. We never flew on a broom in the demo, but it is on the bucket list for me.
Mix in the name Citadel and you get the crafting interface to build your own wizard's tower. It may be a wooden hut to start but as you gather more resources, you can add to it. Messing around with crafting it was easy to get started. When early access begins I have every intention of making my lone wizards tower out in the world somewhere. Don’t limit yourself though. Citadel has a lot of building options.
In the short time we played the beta this weekend, one thing sticks to mind. Citadel: Forged in Fire has massive potential. That's not a dirty word, as this one's already more polished than other recent sandbox releases. It is fun from the start and growing into a powerful archmage will be a joy. The game is not easy, and there is plenty to learn. The journey will be worth it, I expect. We’re excited to start early access this week and look forward to all the updates planned for the game.