Over the past few weeks we have taken an in depth look into Perfect World Entertainment's latest free-to-play MMORPG, RaiderZ. Along the same lines as Tera and C9, RaiderZ offers up a fantasy action MMO, where you'll be taking on huge beasts in the bid to be the best monster hunter. What I've experienced in RaiderZ has been equally fun and frustrating at times, but that's not to say that you shouldn't give this game a shot.
Aesthetics - 8
Graphically, RaiderZ is great. The engine that is being used provides great visuals, although some elements can seem a bit off sometimes. Zones are well crafted and each one has its own theme which provides for some variety when crossing through to the next zone. Much like Tera scenery, characters are very vibrant and colorful. Each armor set, weapon and area are all blasting with vibrancy, making good use of the games "anime-ish" art style, standing quite highly amongst free-to-play MMO's in the Aesthetics department. The UI is very simplistic; I didn't encounter any problems with it. All in all very easy to navigate through menus and the like.
Aesthetics of any MMORPG is important, the art style, architecture and character items inspire me to progress through MMOs, always wondering what is next, what do I get to feast my eyes upon? RaiderZ stands up to this with interesting design of armors and gameplay areas.
Gameplay - 6
In terms of gameplay, RaiderZ is a shed-load of fun. The combat draws upon that of Tera and C9, where you use the mouse to control the camera and attacks, immersing you in the heart of the action. Combat is tactical, dodging attacks from your foes is critical to getting your next hit in. One wrongly timed dodge could cost you a lot of health.
This is how it plays out, and the way it plays out is very fun. Each weapon has its own different style of attacking whether it be a slow yet powerful war-hammer, or a swift one-handed sword. It is up to you to find the style that suits you best.
There are a few tiny little bugs with the combat: one being your attacks sometimes may not register a hit. I have mentioned this previously in the review-in-progress, but it is rather frustrating when your attack goes right through the enemy and then you end up getting a beaten because your attack didn't register. A small point, but something which annoyed me during my time in RaiderZ.
I feel I also should complain about the questing in the game. Questing in RaiderZ is very linear. For example if you want to miss a quest it could mean that you might not be able to progress into the next zone. So your route throughout the game is very much set out for you. Markers on the map tell you where to go to collect items or kill monsters for quests and so on. Along with this each zone is instanced from the next, so it is not a truly open world to explore.
Crafting presents no challenge whatsoever as well. Much like Capcom's Monster Hunter series, you hunt the monsters you need the items from to craft a piece of armor or weapon. Monsters which drop the certain item needed are displayed on the item description. You take these items to an armor or weapon crafter, select what you wish to craft and after a few seconds it drops right in your inventory.
It's also worth mentioning that as of now, there's no real PVP system at this time outside of duels. Players looking for that sort of action, won't find it here. But whether PVP is important or not is purely subjective: just note it's lacking in Raiderz.
Skill advancement is probably as good as it can be, with each class having a set skill tree. Every time you gain a level, a skill point is gained to be placed into a certain skill. This prevents some form of variety, but when a certain number of points is put into your main skill tree, you have the option to specialize in another tree of your choice. Although some skills require certain weapons to execute. For example I put a few points in the cleric tree, as I was using heavy weapons, the cleric could only use a war-hammer. So inevitably I had to change my weapons to use my cleric skills.
It is a shame that some elements of the gameplay have been subsidized for simplistic themes, as just adding that little bit of depth could make RaiderZ a lot more interesting and unique.
The cash shop as it stands at the moment isn't really imperative to a player's experience. Upon launch a pack was offered which gave players a variety of items, as well as mount, to help the player through their time in the world. Items such as crystals which boost your end-game enchanting rate, or life stones which resurrect you at full health on the spot where you died, all hint at the start of a game which could rely on the cash shop for the hardcore players. While I found life stones quite useful in dungeons, if your whole party gets downed you can fully resurrect on the spot. Quite useful when you don't have to trawl through the entire dungeon again.
Innovation - 4/10
I wouldn't be quick to say that this game offers up something new or unique or innovative. As it doesn't. But what I would consider somewhat unique about the game is the combat. While we have seen the inception of this style in Tera and the like, it is still a fairly new and unique feature in terms of MMOs and it's done well here.
Polish - 6/10
I've had a fairly smooth time in RaiderZ, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience. But the game does need some polish. I experienced a lot of connectivity issues, maybe it was because I played the game at launch, but sometimes I couldn't get into the game at all with no warning or reason why on the site, forums, or launcher.
Endgame is something which frustrated me a lot. After a bit of research, it seemed that the last few questing zones were treated as endgame and after these were completed there seemed no other option than to run dungeons to farm gear. While it is still the early days, there isn't enough to keep me coming back regularly. Maybe events or new content will be introduced soon. But it is a fairly important issue which leads us to the next category.
Longevity - 6/10
Currently RaiderZ doesn't have enough content to keep me going for the future and I think some of you may agree. While there is the option to re-roll a different character, or inevitably farm gear, there just isn't enough endgame content to keep a player going for the foreseeable future. Although you will find yourself leveling your first character for a fair while. Dungeons will keep you busy as you progress through the game. The interesting design and challenge of these had me running them at least two or three times.
Social - 8/10
Socially, RaiderZ is excellent. Everyone I had the pleasure of coming into contact with in-game were equally helpful as they were easy to party with. If you're looking to play with others in RaiderZ, you'll have no trouble finding groups or a guild for that matter. RaiderZ is all about working together to overcome quests and dungeons, so good social features is imperative for the game. It is always great to see an MMORPG that encourages interaction with others, as I find myself often playing alone and it becomes quite tedious at times.
Don't bet on finding a group in the main cities though. Gold spammers near enough dominate these chats, it is something which a lot of players a complaining about and a problem which I hope PWE will crack down on soon. Although this is a huge issue for a lot of MMORPGs (especially the free ones).
Value - 7/10
Despite its issues RaiderZ offers some pretty good value for a free-to-play MMORPG. The features offered in the game are very enjoyable, and even with its issues the structure and design of RaiderZ is of high quality compared to a lot of free MMOs out there today.
Whether you'll be emptying your wallets into RaiderZ is your choice, and you can happily progress through the game without spending any money at all. But should you choose to buy something, you can improve your character rapidly with the use of enchanting crystals etc. But the cash shop is not imperative to RaiderZ, and this is why it is good value on the free-to-play market.
RaiderZ is a very fun action-oriented MMORPG. With action combat and very good monster/zone design, it's one of the better MMOs on the free-to-play market at the moment. Although it is not without faults, it still makes for a very enjoyable casual experience. With the design and challenge of the combat and dungeons you'll be wanting to log in more and more just to cut down these huge monsters. While it may sound at some points in this review that I'm being highly negative about the game, it still makes for a solid entertainment experience. Graphically the game is lovely, and socially it is brilliant. So at least give RaiderZ a shot, you'll have no trouble finding someone to play with.
How did we arrive at this score? Find out by reading our Review in Progress articles!