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Caught Between Heaven & Hell

Robert Fooks Posted:
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Faxion Online, the most recent product of UTV Ignition Games, is a F2P MMORPG based on what will most assuredly happen to you once your soul slips the mortal coils of flesh which anchor you to this Earth. That's right folks, Faxion is the game with the spirit which embodies everyone's favorite past-time. What is our favorite past time you may ask? Killing things in the name of an ideal. Fear not though, just in case you were worried that the eternal afterlife would be filled with countless hours of arts and crafts all the while lacking such basic necessities as Pabst Blue Ribbon, .50 deer slugs and Mountain Dew for the young'uns, Faxion is here to let you know the Hereafter may be just as big a play ground as Earth. After all, with the state of the world today one just might conclude that after this life comes to an end, the next would be jam packed with-explosions, American Express Black Cards and ghillie suits for all.

If you have yet to discern just exactly what Faxion's subject matter is, I will spoon feed it to you. Religion, more specifically, Heaven, Hell and the eternal conflict between the two. Have you ever desired to learn of the magical source from which the Rastafarian's gain their true power? If the prospect of enlightening one’s soul through the attainment of such knowledge as the true nature of fortune cookies peaks your interest; I would suggest downloading Faxion Online with the greatest of avidity if just for the humor.  (Spoiler: They are actually Confucius' sacred texts! Who’d of known!) Before I move onto the meat and potatoes of this review, a warning would be prudent. If the prospect of someone taking comical pot shots at your faith fills you with a sudden desire to proclaim blasphemy, you will most assuredly not appreciate the campy manner in which your given faith's texts are butchered for humors sake. With that in mind, if you are of the vast majority of god fearing individuals and possess the ability to explore such subject matter with light hearts and open minds there will most assuredly be laughs a plenty. But will you garner anything beyond a few cheap laughs from your time in Faxion?

Aesthetics 6/10

If you are homeless yet possess the ability to play Faxion, you just might feel at home in the digital world created for the game. Having already spent considerable time dwelling in cardboard boxes you are likely to be cozily familiar with a world made near exclusively of right angles. For those of us with the luxury of residing within a domicile which the words parabola, ellipse, conical or curve could be used to describe them; Faxion fails to impress. Put simply, the geometry in which the game is built upon is both overly simplistic and uninspiring. In fact the contrast between the fun, delightfully gaudy manner in which the characters are presented and the dull boxy design of the world they inhabit is striking if not sobering when the player first enters the world. While I fully understanding the need for games targeted at users with low system specs to maintain a strict polygon count, when the finished product looks as if it draws its artistic influence from a Mondrian Composition there exists a disconnect between the artist's vision and the designer's technical constraints.

For those who despise the stylistic approach to visuals in gaming, Faxion's character models will cause you to enter a state of mental duress. If, like me, you enjoy female characters with gigantic, gargantuan, disproportionately large --- heads, then you should find some level of joy from the character you create. (Yes I'm aware that female heads are relatively proportionate in the game. Someone was excited if just for an instant though.) They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Though I would argue that few if any see true beauty in Faxion's character design, it is safe to say fans of cartoon style characters will feel healthily satisfied with the look and feel of his or her character. Even if the customization on hand is limited to little more than preset faces, hair styles and colors.

Gameplay 5/10

The game's biggest asset is the way in which it in no way takes itself seriously. From the moment you log in and are met by the Angel “Tutoriel” who's image was most surely crafted in the likeness of Buddy Christ from the film Dogma, to the very instant you are clobbered to death by an obese mass of corpulent flesh who's only weapon is the very ham hock he so covetously hangs from his waist; humor and lightheartedness are forever at the forefront of the experience. But what of the whole package? Does the game play have what it takes to stand the test of time, or is it simply a gaming lemon? Much like a 1970 AMC Gremlin - something is wrong under the hood - and you will never really get over the choppy handling. Look on the bright side though, you can make quite a bit of lemonade with what life has given you here.

Faxion is one of those games where many of the ideas behind the parts which make the whole were done right, yet the sum of those parts is somehow less for it. Three classes per faction are available for play though they all fit well with in the structure of the “trinity” which we are all so very familiar with.   The potential, for what many of the legacy MMO gamers have been asking for since WoW decided challenge was bad for profit, is there. It's all simply below a layer of unpolished dock side iron. First and foremost, much of the game feels dated. Movement, combat, questing and chat all lack the streamlined feel which has become standard in today's MMORPG scene. I also feel that Faxion is suffering from an identity crisis of sorts, knowing what it wants to be but not quite willing or able to go the distance.

At its core, Faxion strives to be a competitive PVP MMORPG, in many ways it succeeds.  There is PVP, it is easy to find and it has a clear and concise goal – capture territory. In fact little choice beyond PVP is available at high levels. Players will form groups, and then proceed to throw themselves at one another for hours on end.  The rewards in place for participating in PVP are rather standard fare. Faith points are earned for contributing to the deaths of the opposing faction which may then be spent on Items for sale by faith vendors. Capturing and controlling a zone unlocks the Faith Vendor while slowly, overtime, contributing purgatory points towards your factions “Armageddon” event.

Armageddon is yet another feature where I feel Faxion's potential held promise but failed to deliver. Worse yet, it is touted as an end game to the end game. Once your factions purgatory points reach the magic number of 5000, an event is triggered in which waves of PVE encounters are spawned and 7 lucky players are given the honor of playing an avatar of the 7 deadly sins. Win or lose, nothing will change.  In many ways that is the folly of Faxion. In this competitive PVP centric MMORPG there lies a fundamental flaw, an overwhelming vacuum of persistence. Win or lose, nothing will ever change. 

Unresponsive, clunky and rushed describe much of what is wrong with Faxion as a whole. There is no crafting.  None.  Nada.  Abilities are slow to activate and often require multiple attempts to get them to respond correctly, this becomes particularly daunting during the PVP battles which Faxion claims are its bread and butter. Combat as a system is just that, a system of combat. It gets the job done; someone ends up taking a long dirt nap while the other walks away. The problem with the game's combat though, is that it feels very much like a system and very little like combat. Lacking the viscerally choreographed displays of battle which most modern MMO games have long mastered, Faxion again feels as if it never quite found its identity.

Have you ever seen those bottles of Mountain Dew Throwback? Now have you ever noticed a difference in flavor between the regular Dew and throwback? Neither have I. Faxion's character development system is... well a throwback to old-school RPG gaming, a homage if you will. Similar to the soft drink, Faxion's throwback to the RPG games of old leaves its consumers wondering exactly why the label is different if the experience is not. As players advance through the levels in Faxion, their characters are allotted attribute points which they are then free to allocate to any attribute of their choosing. While this does allow ultimate freedom to develop your character as you see fit, there are problems. Just as you are free to go beyond the established bounds of character development within Faxion, you are also free to beat yourself over the head with a brick until your IQ rivals that of a Chimpanzee – in both cases the end result is you being capable of little more than occupying space. While characters are free to distribute points as they wish, Faxion's stat system is designed in such a manner that specific classes require specific stats to be allocated in specific proportions with little opportunity for experimentation or variation. Thus greatly deflating the potential value of such a promising system.

When all is said and done, Faxion's game play fails to deliver on its potential.  While smiting your opponent in the never ending open-world PVP point capture game is fun, there is little apparent meaning to victory or defeat beyond access to vendors and the ultimate goal of Armageddon which, win or lose, will change nothing.   

5.4 Average
  • Creative, outside the box game
  • Friendly community
  • PvP succeeds on certain levels
  • Bugs, clunky UI and frequent crashes
  • Only dedicated PvPers will be satisfied
  • Unsatisfying character movement

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Robert Fooks