Otherland Review

Otherland is a free to play fantasy-SciFi action MMORPG based on the novels written by Tad Williams. In it, you embark on an adventure spanning multiple universes throughout various types of worlds. Join the PVP fray or relax and battle the hordes of PVE enemies that are bound to get in your way.

Overview

Game: Otherland
Type: MMORPG
Developer: Drago Entertainment
Link: http://www.drago-entertainment.com/otherland/

Overall, the gameplay is pretty smooth, but there is a definite lack of connection with the story and quests. It’s as though one wants to take you one direction, while the other wants to stay in one place, which is often the case with a “multiverse” idea. The game has a beautiful game world(s?) with various sceneries that make it immersive enough, but the lack of connection is pretty evident leaving you wondering what’s really going on. Either way, it reminded me a lot of some other games I’ve played before, and I can see where they are trying to go with this MMO, but they are a ways off. Lets dive into the details of what this game has to offer!       

Your Character and Class

Right at the start as with most MMORPG’s, you get to create your character that will be taken on the wild ride that is this game’s story. You get an option to choose between two different “races” as I’m going to call it. One is a being that is made of pure energy (which I’m guessing is your “true form”) and the other is the standard human type with normal appearances and skin. Both are humanoid, so there isn’t really a difference other than appearance of skin. You can change the variance aspects of the character as well though, from height to muscle depth and the other usual slider based options. There is a small variety of hair choices and colors to go with, but definitely limiting in that department.

After you choose which race you’d like to play as, you get to select your class. I noticed a lack of information right away, so had to guess on some of what these would play like. Being as they were named similar to most RPGs, it was pretty accurate. You can play as Warrior, Assassin, Marksman or Energizer. The Warrior is a typical melee tank type class with high hp. The Assassin class can only be described as a melee glass cannon. The Marksman uses range to their advantage with high damage output, a good choice for those unsure of what to expect. And lastly, we have the Energizer, which was the class I chose as my primary class to do this review on. The Energizer doesn’t specialize in damage like a mage would, but instead they are quite well balanced with a decent health pool and the ability to heal themself and allies around them. To me, playing solo worked best as an Energizer.

The Story

Immediately after selecting your class, you are thrown into chaos, created by an evil being of course. He is causing wars all over the multiverse and you’re one of the soldiers recruited to put an end to it. From here out, it becomes pretty difficult to follow since each zone you pass through the tutorial on is completely different with no consistent enemies. These zones range from SciFi style metropolis buildings to an Egyptian looking desert, and wildly between those. Either way, you have a basic tutorial that will walk you through the controls and have you collecting a bunch of orbs and other materials in order to open gates to the next region. This is all part of the selection process to see whether or not you’ll be of use to the force your being summoned to.

After you get through the tutorial, you’re teleported into a SciFi city where a massive ambush takes place, and your entire team is eliminated instantly. You wake up in a prison cell where your few surviving comrades help you to make an escape from the evil group that has captured all of you. This is done in a fun way where it’s almost like a heist, since you’re fighting your way through their facility and your comrades are stealing data in the process. Upon clearing the facility and escaping, you’ll enter the hub city. From here, it becomes more of a dungeon crawler style of game where you’re encouraged to work with other players to clear out each world as it’s becoming plagued with violence created by the hostile group that had captured you before. No two worlds are the same, and each are completely different in terms of how the story goes. To me, this caused a lack of connection and breaks the immersion created by the heist type escape, since it seemed like it was going in the direction of “you must track down their leader and take them out!” rather than “I’m sending you to all these places to help out and we’re going to forget about that guy until the end”. Either way, if you can follow it well enough, you’ll be able to understand it for the most part, but it is quite long and drawn out along the way.

Activities / PVP / Side World Content

I can only call these activities, since they aren’t really much to do with the main plot, but there are a lot of side things that you can participate in. Once you’re in the hub region, named Lamda Mall, you’ll be able to participate is a very wide variety of activities. These range from PVP in the Hacker Zone, which throws you into a sort of MOBA battle style like a bunch of the newer MMO’s are using for PVP Arenas, to other things like joining the medieval wars of EightSquared, participating in tea ceremonies, fighting hordes of creatures on Bugworld, or discovering the secrets hidden in Mars and many other variants of such activities. All of these open up relatively quickly and vastly expand what you can do in the game, other than keeping you on one solid path. You’re basically virtually living in the many novels that the game is based on using those as a multiverse network. Each world you can visit will have its own unique backstory, quests, activities, and exploration zones, all of which can satisfy most types of players.

Post-Creation Customization

As you progress through the various worlds and stories, you’ll find yourself gaining all sorts of new equipment and outfits. You can wear pretty much anything and everything, allowing you to create the custom look that the creation process limits you on (mostly the hair/face type limitations). This allows you to go to the worlds you like the style of, do the quests/activities there, and come back to Lambda with an entirely new style than you had before. There are quite a few different outfit styles you can gain throughout your adventures, and you can mix and match all of them to make a unique style only you could think of! I did enjoy this bit, since I’m a huge fan of vast customization in games. Some parts are more difficult to get than others, such as huge boss battles with colossus type bosses, or exploring vast dungeons to uncover the treasure you seek, which could take quite some time.

eDNA and Crafting

One of the most unique bits about Otherland is the eDNA and crafting system. Every item and NPC is made up of Electric DNA. You can collect eDNA from any enemy by simply defeating them and extracting it. This will give you access to unique crafting recipes for various items (or outfits) or the NPCs themself. Since every NPC and item is made of this special DNA (since you’re in a virtual multiverse afterall so they’re all code), you can play the game strictly with the goal to extract and collect every NPC and item’s eDNA, which in turn will allow you to vastly improve your customization comparing to other players. The majority of the crafting system is pretty much this process of gathering eDNA and unlocking new recipes for items, weapons, customs, or the NPC themself, all of which will aid you later. The problem I found with this is that it’s quite clunky and there wasn’t a great explanation on how to do it.

Player Housing and Clans

Welcome to USpace, a virtual home designed for well….you! Otherland has a unique player housing system that allows you to own your very own virtual apartment called USpace, and in it you can freely decorate and design it to fit your desired style. USpace is important since it is the only place you can grow Soma, which is the game’s primary resource for various things like crafting. What’s unique about this type of Player Housing is that you can attack other players’ USpace, and essentially raid their Soma for yourself. This can lead to PVP encounters pretty frequently, if the gameworld was vastly populated that is. You can defend your USpace by using the eDNA you gathered from the NPCs before. If you managed to get the recipe for the NPC themself, you can utilize it to create defenders to protect your home for you.

You could also form a clan with friends and wage Clan Wars on other Clans’ worlds to steal their resources and prove dominance over those who provide no challenge! A clan has its own world that can be decorated and upgraded much like your USpace. It can also utilize the NPC eDNA you’ve gathered if you donate it to the clan, and use it to create an army to defend against other Clans with. Each Clan|Space can be expanded, upgraded, and explored to get the full experience of just what your clan can be capable of. There are unique clan perks within the Clan|Space that can be utilized daily as well.

Conclusion

Otherland was alright, not great not the worst game I’ve ever played. It gets very confusing at times and the main plot doesn’t really connect with all the side plots other than the primary bad guy is causing all the other chaotic events that are taking place. It’s almost like a Legion of Doom type thing where he’s just “recruiting” other villains to cause chaos while he does the same in the virtual world that is your character’s reality. A multiverse idea for an MMORPG is not really a good thing, since RPG’s are founded on a solid story, and this game just doesn’t have a connection between each story to make that happen without major flaws. The controls get clunky at times, and you can expect to fall in combat many times because of it, to NPCs that would otherwise pose no challenge. Enemies also respawn rapidly, making gathering resources in many areas to be quite difficult since they can just kill you while gathering. Aside from the flaws though, the game does offer quite a bit of uniqueness since it does have so many expansive worlds to explore and partake in the activities on. The main story, when it was actually the main story, was a pretty fun adventure which had many types of quests from puzzles and combat, to dungeon exploring and massive scale boss battles. All in all, I did enjoy the experience and found myself liking several of the worlds, but it was obvious why so many don’t like the game and have given it really bad reviews on Steam. So, if you’re able to bear with the flaws and enjoy the unique experience that is in this game’s multiverse, then give Otherland a try and see if it’s for you!

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