Friday, 14 April 2017 00:00

Edengrad Early Access Review

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Edengrad is a post-apocalyptic MMO RPG set in the wastelands of Arizona.

Artistically similar to titles like Fallout or Rage, Edengrad seems intent on forging a new path for players who seek more malleability in their game world, without having to sacrifice a strong story that enriches their overall experience. Considering the overwhelming number of open-world survival games that offer a sandbox world, the question is, what does Edengrad do well enough to draw in a player base. The answer? Not much at all.

You begin the game in a bunker, dressed in a blue jumpsuit that has more than a passing similarity to the jumpsuit in Fallout. The character creation screen severely lacks customization options, offering but a limited range of faces and hairstyles. Considering the depth of customization available in the vast majority of entries in this genre, it seems odd that additional focus isn’t given to this feature. But, considering how limited the scope of the options is, my assumption is that this was an intentional move by developers, which is baffling.

Once you pass through one or two basic missions that function as a tutorial, you’re able to leave the bunker and get an impression of what the world has to offer.

This is, of course, assuming that you don’t have the same experience that I did, and are therefore able to continue the progression process. My own initial bunker experience ended when I was no longer able to interact with the Captain to progress his fetch quest, which at first didn’t feel like a big deal because it was my first ten minutes of gameplay; no big loss. Upon reloading the game, however, my character was gone and the “Username was already taken (presumably by ten-minutes-ago-me),” so I was forced to create a new character. Somehow, the character creation screen suddenly became hilariously buggy, and my new character was made with my avatar facing the other direction on the creation screen, causing all changes to impact only the back of its head, in my view.

The landscape offered in the game is certainly depressing and sparse, but there is an element of beauty to it that developers did a good job of capturing.

It is by no means a graphical marvel like your standard AAA title, but the grittiness of the lacking graphical capabilities actually does more to immerse you in the region than distance you from it.

Building within this landscape is fun and interesting, though the overall build system could stand to see improvement. With so many sandbox-building style titles on the market, there is little reason that Edengrad should not be able to nail this specific mechanic. Regardless, building in an MMO-style game is always cool and enjoyable, and will be a draw to new players.

Controls and interaction with the environment are lacking pretty severely at the moment, though I think that this could be attributable to the aforementioned server issues. I entered more than a few fights with the creatures of Edengrad with my ability to swing my weapon or shoot my bow completely neutered. The only thing that I could do was run to the nearest hill and jump just outside of the creatures’ reach. However, there were times when even ‘running’ just stopped working, regardless of the fact that my stamina bar was full, and therefore I should have had the ability. I think that it is fair to say that if you can’t battle without worrying about whether you even have the capacity to escape or swing your weapon, then a title is missing pretty significant elements of gameplay.

There does seem to be a skill tree that is available, and it looks fairly robust in nature, but it suffers from limited explanation and a lack of natural, organic flow for progression in the moment.

The menu structure is one of the better graphical elements of this game though, as it feels high-tech in nature, which is kind of cool in a world that is as barren as Edengrad. If more guidance is implemented, I think that the skill system could strongly differentiate Edengrad from other sandbox-style games.

Assuming that the server issues are resolved, Edengrad has a serious ability to become an enjoyable title, even if only in passing. There are a lot of features that Edengrad does fine, but there’s no singular feature which outperforms what you would get on the MMORPG market these days. In fact, aside from the building system (which just wasn’t en vogue at the time), Edengrad feels like it belongs in the early 2000s era of game releases.


The Verdict

I want to get more granular in my description of this game, but I think the biggest problems Edengrad faces are preventing a more comprehensive review. Ultimately, server issues and stability have hampered Edengrad’s initial release. Were Edengrad a standalone offline game, it would be an ‘OK’ game. The problem is that Edengrad isn’t, though, and as an online game, server performance is mandatory — arguably the most important feature, even. The crashes, the lost characters, the performance dips, and more make this game unplayable.

[EN: On 4/12, Huckleberry Games S.A. released version 0.2.5, which “managed to eliminate 3 of the 8 reasons of server resets.”]

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Alex Mickle

Alex Mickle is a gamer that traces his roots to JRPG’s on the PS1, but ultimately found his way to PC gaming by spending every afternoon after school playing Counterstrike at a local LAN gaming café. He is a father and husband that splits his gaming time into bursts whenever he can find time, or when ever he makes time. Alex enjoys variance and versatility in his gaming experiences and can be found asleep on the couch with a twitch steam on the television at the end of almost every night.