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Review: Forge [Steam]

Posted on December 14, 2012 AT 10:49am

Forge is an MMO set in a mystical medieval world complete with magic assassins and pyromaniacs. There is no story mode to this game, you simply jump into a match and hope for the best. Currently the modes available are Team Death Match, Capture the Relic, King of the Hill, Arena, and Relic Assault. Each mode takes place on a unique map, making each map have a map-specific goal. Each team as a “tower” that must be controlled, each mode requires different means of controlling said tower. For instance in Capture the Relic, there is a capture the flag type of thing. meaning to control the tower is to grab the enemy’s “relic” and bring it to your side for a point.

At the start of each match you are given the choice between two teams, The Zelos and The Devoted. It really doesn’t matter which you pick, as they are just names. You are then asked to pick your character class. The classes available are Assassin, Pathfinder, Pyromancer, Shaman, and Warden. Assassins are described as being masters of the shadows, relying on deception and poisons and all that stereotypical crap. The thing is though, they’re more like melee characters, but to truly master this character means to master their stealth abilities, naturally. It takes a lot of practice to really get the hang of it, but it’s doable. When an assassin slips into the shadows, the screen changes to a dimmed down black-and-white view, really setting the tone of a master assassin.

But he’s not the only one who can suddenly slip from view. Pathfinders, the game’s master archers have a “Camouflage” ability that also lets them hide in plain sight. What gives them an edge over Assassins though, is that when a Pathfinder is in range and using Camouflage, they can press the Camouflage key while targeting an enemy and instantly switch places with them without the enemy ever knowing what the hell just happened. Pathfinders can also set traps that do everything from slow the opposition down to exploding with shrapnel, making everyone in the area bleed for their cause.

Then we have our two magic abusers, Pyromancers and Shamans. Pyromancers can only use fire magic, and for a world immersed in magic, one would think there’d be a bit more then just flame manipulation going on, but I digress. Like their archer cousins, the Pathfinders, Pyromancers also focus primarily on ranged combat. Though they can’t become invisible, Pyromancers can still kill things with fire, and even set up walls of flames too keep the enemy at bay. Shamen however, aren’t so lucky. They have a single offensive ability, which is a close-range attack that is extremely easy to dodge. In lower tiers, they’re really quite useless, they’ll heal their friends up with their many healing abilities, but the lack of offense makes them rather undesirable under most circumstances. I can see how they might be more useful with advanced players, as parties can last a lot longer without re-spawning when a healer’s there to keep everyone healthy.

Finally we have the Wardens. Wardens are an even balance of pure offense and defense, the juggernauts if you will. They have the most amount of armor in the game, which also makes them the slowest character. To make up for this, they have an ability which, when in range of the target, allows them to instantly bull-rush the opponent, causing a temporary stun effect, which then allows them to really wale on the enemy. Not only that but they have a spin attack which reminded me of Metaknight’s spin attack from Super Smash Bros Brawl.

Now it’s time to cover the other mechanics, such as the controls. The default controls are very basic, using the standard WASD for movement, and the mouse for camera control, left click to do a basic attack, other buttons use other abilities. That part I had no problem with. The one thing I did have a problem with was Wall-Jumping. When the tutorial informed me Forge required the use wall-jumps, I was intrigued. Having already fallen in love with the Mario 3D platformers that are famous for the move, I naturally assumed Forge would use wall-jumping in a similar manner. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. First of all, in order to wall-jump one has to be running at the wall, then you have jump a split-second before reaching the wall, and then, in that split second the character is in contact with the wall, one has to press the jump key once more, it’s just really awkward, but still very doable. A mechanic that is more heavily involved in the game is Energy management. Energy is represented by two bars, in the lower left corner of the screen, it can be seen numerically, and under the cross-hairs in the center of the screen, it’s shown as a simple curved bar. Everything in the game costs Energy to happen, even if it’s just walking around and jumping. When the player runs out of energy, the character becomes sluggish, can no longer jump and only the two primary abilities are available until their Energy regenerates. I found this to a minor flaw, while I understood the logic behind it, it still hindered gameplay a bit, especially for characters that were already slower, like the Warden, or characters that were dependent on quick movements such as the Assassin.

The graphics in this game were also simply incredible. So much so in fact, that my poor little laptop couldn’t handle them, and I had to turn off all the fancy enhancements to get it to run with no lag. The game also felt a little unfinished, like the developers wanted to do more, but didn’t have the time. Tutorial mode shows this, I tried it with all classes, but the only thing I learned from it was about the Pathfinder’s Camouflage ability. It’s great for practicing abilities, but after one learns all the abilities and how to move around, Tutorial mode become usless, and this can happen in less a half hour of play.

Overall, this is game for those that love MMOs built around arena combat and magical assassins. I really would really have liked to know what kind of match I was entering and a basic description of the goal, so I knew what to expect. Not too much to ask for. Also, only Italian plumbers can wall-jump.

Summary: A very interesting game with awesome multilayer action.

The Good: Wonderful graphics, easy controls, great mechanics.
The Bad: Tutorial mode really was not that useful in the least bit. The controls are easy enough to figure out as it is. I would have liked it more if it explained each match, hell even a tutorial for each kind of match would have made things so much better.
The Ugly: N/A

Score: 8.7

James Conrad is a Pokemon fanboy, lover of the arts and is forever broke.
Tweets: @JRCnrd
Artwork: jrcnrd.artworkfolio.com
Email: jrconradATdigitalnoob.com

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