Where to buy: Steam
As most of you already know, I’m not usually one for MMO’s, and very rarely do MMO’s ever ticked all my boxes. Otherland fails to tick any of them. To try and keep the review as unbiased as possible, I had a friend of mine take a look at the game who just happens to be a massive fan of MMO titles, so having him here to help me write this review, in particular, was quite helpful.
I was honestly very disappointed that this game lets me down so much. I saw the trailers, I saw the screenshots and I genuinely looked forward to trying out an MMO after taking a hiatus from the genre since my credit card divorced me. The game’s marketing campaign looked really promising, and then the game booted up. I really wanted to like this. I really did.
Okay, so Otherland is set in what seems to be a futuristic/cyber-space setting where the worlds you explore can vary from anything from “That looks pretty” to “Where the hell am I?” Otherland thrusts you into the tutorial where you are able to choose from one of a few classes, including warrior, ranged & assassin. In this tutorial, I learnt how to interact with NPC’s & how to equip items. Unfortunately, the game did not teach me how to fight, or anything else for that matter. When my co-writer had a blast through, he found the same problem, that there was no tutorial for combat, before the first fight scene. I find this strange since you are required to win this fight in order to progress, and I ran around helplessly mashing my keyboard until my character decided to swing back at the enemy.
The hotkeys in Otherland are another issue I found, seeing as there were five different menus to navigate and only one of the hotkeys I found actually open the menu, so navigating to my equipment or trying to find my characters statistics was often cumbersome. Alright; do you want to know what really turned me off this game? The lack of narrative and lack of purpose. From what I could tell, there was no discernible story in which I could engage with nor did I have any idea what was going on. The first hour or so of gameplay were generic fetch quests whereby the player goes to location A, picks up some stuff/kills a few enemies and returns to location B, rinse, repeat. The quests are without any real purpose and don’t offer any change in the style of gameplay, there is no curve balls, or anything of any real substance to keep a player interested.
That’s probably the hardest thing to get right when making a video game; making it engaging to the player and making them invest time to learn more about the world they now inhabit. Otherland fails to achieve both by being as bland as vanilla on a beige wall. Honestly, I’m at a loss for what to say about it, since it’s just boring. There isn’t a cool soundtrack that makes those tedious moments pass by whilst we hum to our new favourite OST, there is no real effort put into the customization of characters meaning you have a 1 in 4 chance of running into your clone, and there is very little to say from an aesthetic point of view is: “meh”. There are a ton of places to explore, but they all play out the same and aside from the visual difference, you aren’t getting any change in gameplay.
It’s almost like they decided to make an open world MMO RPG without delving into making a good solid foundation, which would involve the world’s lore, the backstory, basic stuff. Without this, the player has no reason to want to invest time into it; and it clearly shows. I managed to log into a server where there were 0 players on the server. That should not be the case when the game was only released in September 2015! I was utterly surprised when I did finally run into someone, who actually asked me if I’d played the game less than 2 hours and if so, I should consider a refund. Otherland screams out for a decent story.
Otherland’s combat did not gel with me at all, and since it’s something I’m going to be doing a lot of; it needs to be good. Unfortunately, it’s not. It seems to work when it feels like it, sometimes I hit things, other times I just stand around getting bonked over and over before retaliating. I thought at first it might be my internet connection or something on my end, but having played a few hours into a different MMO a few hours later, I can confirm that my connection and my gaming rig is not under question.
I honestly don’t know what else to say about Otherland, other than don’t waste your time, it’s boring & with the arrival of new features, I can predict (although don’t quote me on it) a whole mess of premium content which could turn a nice idea into a pay to win style environment. My co-writer here tells me “Ryan, go play FFXIV instead. That game works. Otherland doesn’t.” There’s a bunch of great idea’s here, but everything in Otherland is just so bland, so tired, so boring.
- Graphics: Looks pretty good, sometimes. Other places remind me of Quake.
- Gameplay: Almost none existent.
- Sound: Not good. Not much music and the sound effects are horrible.
- Presentation: I like what it tries to do, but I’m not feeling it.
- Tries out some interesting concepts for this genre of game.
- Looks visually appealing (at times)
- Combat system is awful.
- Visually unappealing (at times)
- Very long loading screens
- Lack of tutorial that makes sense
- Lack of narrative
Ryan Griffiths is a British gamer, known as a bit of a lone wolf. Retro games are his passion, with newer releases not living up to his expectations. Of course there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to Dynasty Warriors & Total War games.