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An Acquired Taste

Victor Barreiro Jr. Posted:
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For the past eight weeks, I’ve been playing Tree of Savior while also tending to my day job with our Philippine elections coverage for the news organization I work with. Needless to say, it’s been a very fruitful two months for both this job and the other one, but with all that time spent came a pang of guilt at not being able to truly face everything Tree of Savior had to offer.

Then again, in most MMOs, you never really get to see everything it has to offer unless you go completely all­in on the game with a central character.

Sadly, that sort of method of focusing on a game has passed me by, and I look for enjoyment in my games where I find them.

While I would like to dispense with scores in this final entry for my Tree of Savior review, I know that numbers speak volumes when it comes to helping people find out if Tree of Savior is worth playing.

Here’s the thing: Tree of Savior is a fun game, but how much fun you get from it will depend primarily on your sensibilities as a gamer.

A killer’s feedback loop

Tree of Savior does not provide a player with many activities, but the activities is does provide are worth enjoying either in short bursts or in prolonged campaigns. 

Most of the activities – from improving weapons, to achieving new things, to acquiring zone­based collections and exploring the map – feeds directly into an enjoyment loop where killing bosses and farming monsters for loot is the norm. If that’s where your enjoyment lies, you’ll certainly find a lot to love here.

As I’ve mentioned previously, however, this also means you’ll be going through the same zones constantly if you want to make a new class type as an alt. This can get boring, but if the appeal for a player lies in slaughter, you’ll find your place here.

An artist’s panache, an engineer’s headache

The game’s style, as I’ve said in an earlier post, is one of my favorites. It feels like I’m playing in a 2­D anime­painted  world that’s set in three dimensions. As such, it’s enjoyable to be in, even if you’re just wandering around a map or putzing about hammering an anvil to improve a weapon.

One of the glaring issues,, however, is that the game – as of its recent May 10 launch – still feels like an engineer’s headache. 

Despite postponing the launch and adding more servers, the game still has its small set of bugs and graphical glitches. For instance, in the above video, there’s a visual glitch where your character’s head or body keeps facing different directions while moving. 

You’ll also hear of reduced (though still frequent for my tastes) instances of downtime for the various servers. As someone with a limited and set time to play, the unpredictability can sometimes be annoying, but then again I’m not entirely addicted to playing any one game these days and can let it slide. I don’t know, however, if it’ll be the same for you.

A merchant’s steal

With all this said, It begs one specific question: Is it worth playing? Right now, as the game is currently free­to­play rather than requiring a purchase to join in, I’d say it’s a great time to enter the Tree of Savior world to experience what it has to offer.

You can enjoy the game, keep it on your steam account, and come back for casual play, or you could also throw yourself into the game world with reckless aplomb. Either will work well.

As long as you aren’t looking for the deeper meaning of gaming life in your games, I think you’ll find Tree of Savior to be an acquired taste that’s worth having every so often in your gaming diet, or as part of a full­course meal of action MMO­dom. 

GAMEPLAY: 7 ­ There’s not a lot to do other than follow the storyline and kill everything that stands in your way, but the various game systems lend their support to this playstyle in a satisfying way.  

VISUALS AND SOUND: 8 ­ The game is beautiful, but some visual glitches can sometimes break immersion. Aside from this, battle sounds are sufficiently crunchy and painful­sounding, while the music (when it plays) is worth listening to.

POLISH: 7 ­ I think that the game could use more tweaks. Specifically, server stability and bots remain an issue that they’ll need to address moving forward. The game would also be served well if it had a more in­depth tutorial for the various systems – even an MMO vet like me would appreciate some guidance with the game.

LONGEVITY: 7 ­ If you take your time to enjoy the scenery and play casually, this game will last you quite a while. If you want to go hardcore into one character, that will also be fun, though you may end up wondering what to do later on. Alternate characters, while a nice time sink, will lose their luster, unless you find a secondary archetypal class that you think suits you better than your main.

VALUE: 9 ­ Despite its shortcomings, the game provides ample fun for players who enjoy a return to Ragnarok Online­like fun with a modern twist. At the same time, the game is free and the patching and downloading isn’t as filesize­heavy as other MMOs, so there’s not a lot to lose in trying it out.

That said, if you’re able to find your niche in Tree of Savior, supporting the game with a purchase of a subscription token would likely be the best way to help the game prosper in the long run. 

  • Beautiful art direction & music
  • Low barrier to entry
  • Mass slaughter of cute veggies never looked so good
  • Grindy due to combat focus & low replayability
  • Needs improved tutorials for newcomers
  • Needs to iron out some buggy behavior


Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains The Devil’s Advocate and The Secret World columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.