Riders of Icarus is an upcoming free-to-play MMO by game developer WeMade and publisher Nexon. Icarus puts an interesting focus on mounted aerial warfare, reminding me a bit of the Panzer Dragoon game series.
Players in Riders of Icarus will be looking to tame and collect hundreds of different mythical beasts, including dragons. Both ground and aerial creatures can be tamed and used as mounts, pets, or even converted into enhancements for your gear. Capturing a creature is kind of like playing a mechanical bull minigame. First, you need to actually get onto the creature, and then you must execute certain skills as they light up to try and turn the beast to your will. In our demo, we were shown a couple creative methods you’ll need to take to try and capture some of the game’s rarer creatures.
In one instance, we encountered an elite bear that could be tamed, but getting onto it required the element of surprise. We had to wait on the edge of a cliff for the bear to path below us and then jump off and execute the tame skill at the right time in order to mount the creature and begin the taming process.
The same was true for taming a “screamer,” one of the game’s flying beasts. To tame the screamer, I had to ascend above it on my own mount and then leap off and initiate the process just as I did with the bear.
Taming creatures is really the meat of the game with Riders of Icarus. Creatures have varied abilities and attacks even while mounted, so figuring out which creature is best for different settings will likely be an important consideration. In terms of the mounted aerial combat, I was able to fly around on a dragon while firing a crossbow at enemies from range or using a spear in close combat. But attacks can also originate from the creatures themselves. For example, you can mount creatures that can breathe fire or taunt enemies. Mounts (or pets) also level up and can be fitted with gear.
The game features a fairly standard array of MMO classes with all the members of the ‘holy trinity’ well represented. Frankly, I wasn’t too concerned with the class I was playing; I was just stoked to be flying around on a massive friggin’ dragon.
We had a chance to sample the aerial combat in a raid scenario where we fought a Shadow of the Colossus-scale boss in a massive body of water. I couldn’t really figure out what was going on because I was being one shot the entire time, but I can see these fights being pretty epic with a bunch of other players all mounted up and darting around through the air fighting a massive enemy.
A third closed beta test for Riders of Icarus will run from June 2-7. Head start for Founder’s Pack members will begin on June 29 and lead into the game’s open beta on July 6.