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Review in Progress 3 - Combat and Replayability

By Victor Barreiro Jr. on April 29, 2016 | General Articles | Comments

Review in Progress 3 - Combat and Replayability

Before anything else, I’d like to apologize for the lack of new screenshots of my gameplay. My computer crashed – and corrupted my Tree of Savior install ~ as I was saving my latest progress screenshots via Steam, so I’m missing roughly 30-plus levels of progress captured, which would put me partway through the first rank-up.

As you may have noticed, I’ve been tackling the game at a snail’s pace. This is partly because of time constraints in the day job,  but also because of two other factors.

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For one thing, sometimes the game isn’t even online when I’m done with work. More noticeably, there are very limited branching options in the game world, enough to make a replay of the game’s early portions seem like quite a slog.

That said, let’s get into the meat of today’s review-in-progress.

Defining Tree of Savior Combat

Coming from my experiences with Final Fantasy XIV, Tree of Savior combat feels rather comfy with the controller-keyboard combination scheme.

As a melee-fighter type, this means holding down the attack button to get most of the early game enemies down to zero health, throwing in damage-increasing abilities or special attacks to speed up the process while dodging attacks by reading boss attack patterns.

As it feels easier to move around with a controller to avoid attacks, this makes the early levels and some of the bosses more manageable.

The issue of survival, however, becomes more noticeable when even the boss atttack patterns are more like bullet-hell or Dark Souls-like strategic endeavors (referencing my beta gameplay time here, apologies).

You have to pay attention to the art direction, which in itself is a godsend, as a good number of the tells on the bosses can be quickly discerned, even if you’re not quite sure what they’ll throw at you at first glance.

For instance, area of effect ground attacks can easily be inferred if a strong-looking boss raises his hands in the air as if he’s ready to pound the ground. You get out of the front of the boss, and keep hitting his backside after dodging. The same can be said of giant poison mushrooms, and even larger giant flying insects and spider-types.

One thing that’s come up with my game time, however, is a sense of boss battle fatigue. Tree of Savior is so light on general story that bosses are easily forgotten after being killed, since it’s unlikely you’ll see their nameplate pop up again. Bosses can be defined by the type of enemy they are, rather than their actual given names, which lends a certain impersonal feel to gorgeous world you’re thrust in.

Limited Replayability

Unless you’re a fan of action MMO types of games, there’s also a sense of limited replayability should you decide to try a different base class. While the game does have two starting zones, they both eventually converge as you adventure in the later stages.

While there are plenty of locations to visit, there’s also very little freedom to explore without consequence as higher level enemies are likely to trounce you the farther along on the world map you travel.

Side activities do help, however. You can try to get 100% map exploration completion on your character and redeem the benefits of that at one of the NPCs in your local town. There’s also another NPC that rewards some permanent statistical bonuses to characters if they find a collection item and pick up all the items on that collection.

As such, repeatedly killing mobs (or the mass slaughter of cute animated onion-radish thingies), while thrilling fun when you’ve got powerful capabilities, is part of the game’s appeal or detriment, depending on how you look at it.

In another two weeks or so, we’ll be coming to the end of this protracted review process for Tree of Savior. Tree of Savior is now expected to launch on May 10, so we’ll have a condensed verdict by then. Till that day comes, however, let’s keep on hacking and slashing our way through the Tree of Savior universe.  Cheers!

Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains the the Landmark/Everquest Next and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler (Rappler.com) as a technology reporter.
7.6
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