By Beau Hindman from Massively.joystiq.com
Earth Eternal is set on a future Earth, one that was beat to Hell after the moon decided to split apart and rain down fragments of death. Eventually, and after many pages of pretty intense lore, this event led to the Earth being led by animal-like creatures. In the old version of the game there were more race choices during character creation. For some reason, many of these missing races can be found in game as NPCs. I wonder if the new developers are reworking some of those former playable races like the bears?
Of course, you'll need to have a high tolerance for cutesy characters if you want to explore this game. Don't worry, though, because the original developers struck a pretty good balance between cutesy and taking themselves seriously. I have always maintained that it's not the graphics that make a game "silly" but there's just something about certain games that makes them feel less goofy or over-the-top even while featuring cartoony characters or outrageous settings. A developer has to put some serious tones into the lore or design or the bright graphics overwhelm everything else. Earth Eternal really does feel like a "normal" MMO, and I take it as seriously as I do Lord of the Rings Online or Ryzom. It can be done. I wish more games gave us some real drama like a world changing event or post-apocalyptic background to go along with their "kiddie" graphics. Perhaps it's the juxtaposition of the graphics with the tragic story that make it more attractive to me.
There are occasional levers to operate or different items to collect during questing, but essentially you'll spend your time going from one from linear point to the next, killing 10... whatever the NPC wants you to kill. The grind is very light, though, and leveling happens quickly enough that you get to spend a lot of time deciding on which abilities you'll be using. The real fun comes from interacting with the community in the chat, roleplaying, and exploring the little details of the world. It's definitely not the deepest game out there, but the setting, lore and character design are unique enough that it keeps your attention. Also, it's completely free and runs on a basic laptop. That scores a lot of points in my book.
In one of the only real negatives, the old lag from the original beta is showing up occasionally. Once in a while you will find yourself standing there waiting for the loot to pop up or for an enemy to fall. They succeeded in defeating that beast before, so here's hoping they can do it again. Also, the NPC voice overs (the occasional "hello" and other types of chatter) are now in a different language than English. While I like the fact that I have no idea what they are saying, some of you might be turned off by this. All quest text is fine, though, possibly because it existed before in English?
Will I continue to play Earth Eternal? I think so. After all, I was enjoying it before and will probably continue to enjoy it. Fans of linear games like Rift or LotRO know how easy it is to "pause" and come back later, and the same is true with Earth Eternal. I know I'm not being rushed into anything and can take my time with the game. Its free status makes it even less pressured. It will stay in my favorites until they close it down again.
You can read full review here.
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