Landmark started out as a game tied very closely to EverQuest Next. Unfortunately, EverQuest Next was canceled and now Landmark has launched as a standalone game. I don’t tend to often enjoy sandbox games too much and I’ve never really gotten into the whole “Minecraft” sorts of games, so for me Landmark was really different from the usual… and it is quite enjoyable though there are a few issues.
Character creation is pretty limited. There’s only one race and just three “Appearances” your character can start out with. The appearance is sort of like picking a class in MMOs as it changes what sort of gear you have in the beginning but it’s not nearly as restrictive as class selection in a MMO is. There are also very few sliders to change the look of your character, but again these are very limited choices. The sliders are all preset options which can’t be tweaked.
Once you are in game it is possible to change up how your character looks through use of the Crimson Parlor in game. There is also a pack for sale on the cash shop which opens up some more options for players to choose from. There’s a bit of a downside here because even if you buy the Fantasy Parlor Pack from the cash shop, you still have to play Lumens (the in game currency) to change the look of your character. This is a bit frustrating as it feels like paying twice for something.
Every player starts off with one build site to do what they like with. You do not get to choose where your site is, but within the site there’s pretty much free rein. Each site starts with an expiration of one week, meaning if you do not log in for an entire week you’ll lose your site. Now this might seem sever but for every day you log in another day is added to the timer up to a maximum of 90 days. Of course each time the timer is also reset at the beginning. As long as you log in once a week you’ll still accumulate more time on your timer.
I initially found the build tools a bit confusing and unintuitive, but for players who have played these sorts of games or who have experience building things in various games the learning curve will be much less steep. It also seems like some of the tools aren’t quite fully functioning currently. For example, I was never able to get the delete tool to work. I could get something sort of similar by using the selection tool and then the “Heal” tool. This mostly worked but it wouldn’t just get rid of things I had done; it would also remove all filled voxels including the foundation all build sites start with.
For some textures and props materials have to be harvested, which makes sense. I in particular enjoyed how mining works because ore isn’t just random heaps on the ground, it’s actually in the ground and needs to be dug up. Of course if you are digging a hole to get ore out it isn’t unusual to then find yourself at the bottom of a pretty deep hole, but between the floaty physics and the grappling hook getting out of these holes isn’t too difficult.
One weird thing about gathering is the amounts of everything seem to be inflated. It isn’t unusual to get 100+ ore off one strike on a mine, but then 640 ore would be needed to do one refinement into bars… of course you’d get hundreds of bars out of it which made the large numbers feel sort of pointless. Why not reduce the amounts of everything (including recipes) by a factor of say 10? It just really feels like large amounts of stuff is required just to have big numbers, which is weird.
If wandering around gathering materials and building things gets boring Adventures offer the chance to participate in some actual combat, though not all of them involve combat. Each adventure involves going to a specific point and channeling on a crystal. Often the way will be blocked by mobs who you’ll need to fight through. Combat is set-up as action combat, though I was never able to figure out how to dodge. I even looked through the keybinds and couldn’t find a way to dodge, which made the combat feel less engaging. Everything worked fine but combat just wasn’t exciting at all. Aside from being a nice change of pace Adventures are a great way to earn Lumens really quickly.
Players start out with the designs to create a large variety of props, but if you find yourself wanting a specific thing you can take a look and see if the design for it is available on the Marketplace. The first thing to know about using the Marketplace is, it runs like an actual webpage within in the game. The second thing to know is, because of this occasionally you’ll have to sign into your account on the webpage within the game. So while signed into the game and playing you have to sign on again to use the Marketplace. That’s just bizarre.
The same system is used for finding other random build sites to visit, which is one of my favorite activities in game. A safe bet is to look at the highly ranked sites for some really amazing builds. There’s also a way in the game to follow people, though I kept having issues with getting this to work as well. Every time I tried to follow someone I would get an error saying I need to enable it. I’d then go to the page to enable following, try and follow again, and get the same error. This was pretty frustrating.
Overall Landmark is fun and really interesting. I enjoy making things and figuring out how everything works a lot more than I thought I would. Unfortunately, there are a number of areas where the game just doesn’t feel entirely complete or polished. I don’t have an old or out dated computer and the load times were incredible and having lag when working with the build tools is really frustrating. However, Landmark is only ten dollars and does provide a fair amount of entertainment.
Gameplay 6 – The core gameplay of building and creating things in Landmark is quite robust and functions well. Additionally, they have made it easy to discover and explore creations made by other players. You also have the ability to share your plot with other players to create things collaboratively. Combat is action combat but without the ability to dodge, which is just weird and feels pretty lackluster.
Visuals & Sound 5 – Initially I was a bit put off from the very basic character creation options and models which seemed like they were from a much older game. However, there is a lot of beauty in the landscapes and the different areas players can run around in. As far as sound goes nothing really stuck out to me as good or bad with the sounds… Which is saying something because I always play with game sounds and they are a big deal to me.
Polish 5 – The first issue is everything takes a bit of time to happen in Landmark. From launching the game, porting to a new site, porting into an adventure, or even using the creation tools. Be prepared to wait. Honestly the worst part of this is how unresponsive the tools in the build site occasionally are. This is most noticeable both with placing items and deleting things. In the case of large structures like castle towers it sort of makes sense, but when working with some of the other tools it can be especially problematic. For example, it isn't unusual for there to be a delay on deleting items or edits I made… Which would cause me to think it didn't work and to hit it again causing more than I wanted to be reversed.
Longevity 6 – For people interested in creating and exploring mostly Landmark offers a ton of things to do and you’ll likely stay busy for a while; even if the developer were to stop adding new things to the game. With most sandbox games the amount of entertainment to be gotten out of the game will really depend on individual players.
Value 8 – Landmark offers a lot for a ten-dollar game and while there is an in game cash shop nothing in there is essential to playing and enjoying it. Even if nothing else were to be added in it would be worth the ten dollars.