Riders of Icarus (Episode 89)
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
The standard crew tagged along this round, and despite Dreskar’s computer committing seppuku, he was around long enough in the beta, and in this game, so he saw everything I did. Dobar, Karochi and myself round out the rest.
We have been running into a common theme amongst the games we have currently been looking into, that of being totally generic. Riders of Icarus falls prey to this as well, as it really doesn’t break out of the mold save in one area. The developers wanted to hype up the whole taming mechanic, asking constantly in the beta tests how we liked their unique feature. The short answer for me was not at all. The long answer is the system isn’t unique, is frustrating, completely relies on RNG to get anything done, and you are often told creatures are untameable just because so the idea of taming everything is a complete farce. All of this was done far better in Dragon’s Prophet which came out long before this, and had the taming mechanic rely on player skill and timing as opposed to just an arbitrary number counter. The developers were at least willing to change some things from the beta, so at least we can give them major props for breaking the usual beta as hype machine norm this industry destructively clings to regardless of how often it damages their final product.
While playing I couldn’t help but get frustrated and tired at the usual tedium, nothing tries to be different, they don’t try to take any risks and everything just feels so bland. This is one of those titles where I question why it ever needed to be made in the first place, when the company could have easily just bought the rights to Dragon’s Prophet NA and had a superior product out of the gate. For me there isn’t a single redeeming quality about this title, just in the fact the developers actually changed something, everything else is just a mindless chore with little to no payoff. The developers can’t even deal with the massive spammer and gold seller problem, deciding to take away a chat channel from everyone instead of giving players the tools to report or block spammers.
Hell the systems aren’t even in place to deliver founder’s pack in a convenient manner, and don’t even get me started on the fact my Beta tester cape was locked on another character I didn’t even want. The whole thing smacks of a game that should have been put out to pasture during the initial planning stages and it’s hard to feel that this is little more than a company’s cynical, safe, and token effort to deliver an MMO. Everything the game does is done better in other titles, even other free to play titles which is about the only thing I can say in this game’s defense. At least it is free and will only be a complete waste of your time, but even that can be far too much to ask depending on how valuable your time is.
This is to say nothing of how lackluster the combat really is. Also I have a question for all developers, why the hell do you keep fucking up Assassins? How hard is to make a high burst DPS with low defenses, hell Riders of Icarus got the low defenses right but the Assassin is outclassed in DPS by the fucking priest a HEALER class. Jesus christ you guys, you need to go back to design 101 and try to pay attention this time.
Perhaps most amusingly was that my computer decided to die of old age during the latter days of the game’s review time and honestly besides being worried about losing data I was actually thrilled that I wouldn’t have to play this piece of shit any longer. It was a chore just sitting and waiting to get others to play, and myself and Karochi often found excuses not to even bother. The loss of the computer felt like being given a pardon for a death sentence, one mired in slow agonizing tedium and I feel that is the best analogy to leave off my thoughts on.
Together we rode our waxen winged steeds and made for the highest of highs; A newly released MMO to succeed amongst a sea of competitors. Some saw hope among the clouds, thinking “Hey, this mounted combat stuff might be pretty cool, I guess.”. Lo the fates had decided it not be so, and the great hopes of the riders were dashed upon the soil. Their dreams of something interesting to play torn asunder, left only with broken spirits from the fall. On this day we were reminded of the damnable presence of Nexon. On this day we learned to temper our anticipation. On this day we were the Riders of Icarus.
Lucky me, I found a game that’s worse than Allods. Now I can feel confused, underpowered AND completely disinterested. No Space-USSR as far as the eye can see and not even a clue to why you’re so incredibly fucking weak. I was shit-tier premium while playing this, so I should’ve had some of that juicy pay-to-win splashed on me, but all I got was cheaty potions. Sure, those potions did let me cheese some of the more bullshit bosses I fought so I could actually get past them, but I was playing the game in the correct order using the gear the game’d given me; Why should I have to cheese it to actually get anywhere?
I will agree with what some of the others said about this game, it offers very little that is different than anything else out there. The questing feels the same, the monster capturing mechanic is fun the first few times, but it gets old really fast. It does not help that some of the monsters you can capture are also quest mobs and it becomes a real chore to try to get some of the rarer monsters, as you either need a rare recipe, rare items, or both. In the four days it took me to get max level, which is currently 25, I had all but eight of the monsters in the game, and most of those are a real pain to get.
The flying mechanic did not feel great at all and fighting was worse, especially as a wizard. As a wizard, I did what I could to fight on the ground and had some really odd bugs happen when I did that, like when a guy on a flying mount would fly far away from me until he reset, then he would act like he was on a mount, even though there was none.
It took me four days to go from 1-25, which is max level at this time, and I probably spend a third of that time hunting monsters or doing dungeon parties. I probably could have made it to max level in 20 hours of playing if I wanted to. It has been over a week since I have spent more than a few minutes in the game. There is very little to do, as there are just three dungeons, a 10 man fight that does not seem that fun, and just trying to capture the few remaining monsters.
Some may say there is farming the same one dungeon over and over again to get gold, hope to get gear that might have better stats (and the stats are randomized), and upgrading gear to +20, but none of that matters because of the level cap increases. There is so little to do that the premium on my account is wasting away and I have little desire to keep playing.
While I think this is not a bad game, it baffles me that they would release this game with a level 25 cap, especially since it feels like the game would not take off until 50 or 60. Even the people who did not buy the founder’s pack are probably bored, unless they are hardcore fans of the game before the launch. Even when the cap is increased to 35 in a week or two, we will probably be back in this situation. At this moment, I would wait until the cap is at least 50 before even trying the game out. The game is absolutely swarmed with goldsellers and there is nothing that is new and different in this game that is worth dealing with them. It might be better once the crowds begin to thin out and there is more to do, but at this time, just wait.
Recommended?: NO. Wait about three or four months, and maybe try it then.
Looks like I get to play the odd man out here again… Yeah, I understand how people could get burned out on this. Hell, even I was getting a little “ho-hum” about the title, but then again, I saw it all before in the beta, and since I long since gotten over my alt-oholism, I don’t take any sort of enjoyment of playing the same set of content over again.
But what Riders of Icarus has is a solid foundation and idea, that helps blend the classic mentalities with modern gameplay and interesting twists FAR better than say… Asta. I loved the look of the game, I loved the character creator, I found the pet and mount collection intriguing, if not a bit convoluted and frustrating at times, and for the most part, it’s a game that I am remiss to uninstall because I see so much general promise here.
There are a few odd quirks to go over I didn’t really mention in the review.
First, the flying mount height. I kinda liked the system as it helped gate off some content, and gave you a reason to hunt for stronger mounts, rather than just thinking “Welp, got a bird. I’m done.”
What I don’t like about it is that the height is relative to “sea level”, not how far you are off the ground. You’ll get quickly used to soaring around at great speeds on a flying mount, only to end up questing on a raised height somewhere, hop on your bird, and have it immediately despawn when you hit space. The first time this happens is a real “WTF” moment, quickly followed by, “Oh, are you fucking kidding me?!” I still like it better than Dragon’s Prophet‘s “World of Invisible Ceilings” approach, but it just seems goofy.
The voice clips do not bother me. At all. I actually really like them, because they remind me of my WoW days, using mods to have my character speak a specific language via addons, and use that language to cast spells. Sure it didn’t cast with every spell, but even 1% was enough to piss off the bro raiders whenever I queued cross-server, so I guess some people just don’t like words. Hell, the game even says “Liat!” when casting a light spell, and that’s the exact word I used for “Light” in that custom language, so I thought it was really cool. That’s even where my character, “Liatania” comes from!
And speaking of Liatania, I was all ready to make her a Berserker and head out into the game to try melee when I was reminded of something from the beta. I hit start when “‘atan’ is not an accepted word!” appeared on my screen. I googled “atan” it gives me a couple cities in the Middle East, Indonesia, and Armenia, as well as some matches for programming languages, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s a banned word. I even submitted this to Nexon support after the beta. Glad to see they never got on that.
Speaking of “support”, Dreskar and I were given beta codes via Nexon through their launcher, while our Headstart codes were given on Steam. This refused to link up both our accounts, and made it so all those goodies we earned on our CB characters were gone, and contacting support was basically “Well, you can’t link them without overwriting your characters and founder’s packs. Sucks to be you.” No offer to place those capes on our account, just “lol, deal with it nerds.” Then of course they spammed my inbox with customer feedback surveys, asking me how they did.
Altogether now: “THAT’S NEXON QUALITY!”
I won’t fault the game for that, though. It’s a solid, if not unpolished showing, and could easily improve with time. I can definitely see the audience here.
Recommended?: YES. It’s a far better attempt to blend classic and modern than some recent titles.