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Closed Beta 3 Thoughts

William Murphy Posted:
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I’ve been dabbling in the closed beta of Riders of Icarus since its first iteration. Each time, Nexon’s latest MMORPG has improved. But is Riders of Icarus (a port of the popular theme park MMO in Korea called Icarus Online) more than “Just Another Theme Park MMO”? Read on for our early impressions of WeMade Entertainment’s fantasy MMORPG.

Riders of Icarus is not inherently a bad game. In fact, it’s plain to see why Nexon would want to bring it stateside: it’s pretty, it’s got a strong cinematic storyline, and the mount and pet system is akin to the now defunct Dragon’s Prophet. But while Riders of Icarus’ gameplay is better than Daybreak’s ill-fated import, it’s not by much. A lot of what Riders of Icarus brings to the table of MMO-dom is simply archaic design that feels more “quaint” than entertaining.

The main USP (unique selling point) of Icarus is indeed its mount and pet system. Hundreds of creatures throughout the game can be tamed, leveled, customized, and used as both combat pets and mounts that run or fly. The act of taming itself is pretty straightforward. Go into taming mode, sneak up on a creature, jump on it and then perform the short mini-game to make the animal your own.  It’s not exactly hard, unless you count when players steal your target or kill the animal you’re trying to tame.

There are a lot of things Riders of Icarus (originally released in 2014 in Korea) does that are just a little old fashioned, especially when it comes to theme park MMOs. Named quest mobs aren’t shared targets, combat is pretty strictly tab-target, and the usual culprit of quest-hub syndrome all rear their ugly heads. I’ve only managed about 10 levels so far, but the straightforward linear path of questing through the content is just getting a little too long in the tooth for me in 2016. It’s not “bad” per say, it’s just something we’ve all seen one too many times.

Crafting is a thing, judging by the copper, silver, and other resource nodes I see scattered throughout the land, but I haven’t yet been able to start crafting and something tells me that it’s just an ancillary system which won’t really play much of a role in the game’s greater scheme of things. In fact, most of your first several hours will just be running from quest area to quest area progressing the starter zone and its story. Is said story any good? Well, it’s presented well enough with the pretty visuals of CryEngine 3 and nice cinematic flair, but I’ll be damned if I remember or care about any characters or what’s really going on so far.  

I don't want to mount that guy...

There are dungeons, solo story instances, and stuff like that but this early in the gist of the game is about running solo. I’ll have to play more to find out if there’s actually any content worth grouping for and to find out if the pet and taming system becomes more than just a novelty. Aerial combat is supposed to be a core component to Riders of Icarus, and if that’s the case I hope the game doesn’t make it take too long to get to that point.

Right now Nexon’s latest publishing effort feels like an MMORPG that would have been good about five years ago, but was already an also ran when it launched in Korea first.  It’s not a bad game, it’s just dated and generic in both aesthetic and gameplay.  It’s a shame too, because we could use more solid all around MMORPGs, but Riders of Icarus does too much that we’ve seen before to truly make an impression.

Open Beta is slated to begin for Founder’s Pack purchasers at the end of the month with a full launch in early July and we’ll be there with bells on to make sure we give you our full review of the game and whether or not it ever reaches the potential its core mounted combat idea presents.


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.