Free to play games have earned, through the machinations of the business model’s purveyors, a terrible reputation. In the most common cases, money is either used to unbalance the game for the folks that throw in ridiculous amounts of cash, or actually playing the game is barred to a few short sessions a day. Perfect World Entertainment know how to do it right. Sure, the various currencies can get to be a bit overwhelming, but they are eager to give even the non-paying players a quality experience. Witness the fact that I was able to take the top spot in many a PvP match without spending a dime. This works for me, and makes me interested in actually forking over some dough because it’s fair based on the enjoyment I receive. It is with this mindset that I checked out their newest offerings.
Starting off with Neverwinter, frequent visitors to this site know that we here really appreciate the title. The RPG and skill systems stress the importance of moving around the field, instead of standing in front of an enemy waiting on a cool down. The constant stream of new loot and gear do a great job of keeping the carrot placed tantalizingly close to the player. When one factors in the quarterly, and huge, updates that the MMO sees, it seems as though the adventure simply cannot end. Cryptic Studios really know what they are doing.
This time, Neverwinter, was shown off on the PlayStation 4. After getting a chance to put it through its paces, I am glad to say that it works quite well. I was able to pick up the controller and sling magic spells around the high level area without missing a beat. In short time, I was defeating drow slavers and rescuing their captives, all while using some impressive looking spells and attacks. When it releases on Sony’s box later this summer, it will feature all of the current content from the other versions. From then on, expansions will release at the same time as the Xbox One version.
Moving on to Star Trek Online, I found myself surprised. Yes, somewhere in the back of my head, I knew that the game was releasing for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I didn’t know all of the work that was being done in the transition. Most impressive was the controls. The PC version pretty much requires all of the keys on the keyboard. The transition to a controller required some smart thinking and design. Cryptic Studios nailed it. Less than a minute after grabbing the controller, I was firing phasers and torpedoes at the enemy, calling “come back here so that I can negotiate with you!”
This confused the dev sitting with me. I explained that this was Star Trek. I figured that I should at least suggest the peaceful option. “Oh, those are Borg,” he responded. “You can’t negotiate with the Borg.”
“Well, has anyone ever tried?” This question was met with silence.
After negotiating the enemy into hyper-radiated, digestible space chunks, my party beamed down planet side. Here, I was able to negotiate with a phaser rifle, mowing down the enemy before they could assimilate the colonists. These sections were not twitch based, and featured some generous auto-aiming. Those without dexterity to play action games won’t be left out here.
The final item about this game is that the graphics have received a massive update. The dev stated that the game is over six years old. It simply would not have felt proper to port the game over with the assets as is. So, ample time was taken to update the models and textures to give the game a more modern look, something that belongs in 2016. The work is absolutely appreciated. The bad news actually goes to the PC players, for once. While they will see the graphical updates as well, it won’t be released there until well after the console versions have dropped.
Finally, I got a chance to check out Dynasty Warriors Mobile. Despite the name, this title is not a massive, battlefield based beat ’em up. While it does utilize the character models and story writing from Dynasty Warriors 7, the tablet and phone version is more of a one on one fighter. When I gave it a try, I took control of Guan Yu. Chaining combos and juggles was a breeze using the virtual buttons, and it is possible to swap out characters with the tap of another. Unfortunately, I had issues with moving the character forward and backwards and found myself fighting the air to step forward. This title also features horse riding, which allows the player to dodge obstacles with simple swipes and attack enemies at a button press. Overall, I find myself taking a wait and see approach with Dynasty Warriors Mobile as it is way too early to judge the game. Since I enjoy the main games enough to actually read Romance of the Three Kingdoms, I honestly want this to succeed.