Empire of Sports Review

Last week, I introduced my weekly commentary "In the Trenches" to Ten Ton Hammer readers. For those that did not have the opportunity to read it, I explained my constant need to compete and my...

Last week, I introduced my weekly commentary " href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/61523" target="_blank">In
the Trenches" to Ten Ton Hammer readers. For those that did
not have the opportunity to read it, I explained my constant need to
compete and my express desire to find competitive MMOs, play them, and
give a fair ruling to the Ten Ton Hammer readers via either a review or
a feature article in my weekly commentary. These games will come in all
shapes and sizes, and although they will all have elements of the MMO
genre entwined within them, I'm not necessarily going to stick within
the strict boundaries defined by people with brains bigger than my own.

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Empire of
Sports is a lobby-based MMO focused on five different sporting events.

Of course, any official previews and reviews I do for the Ten Ton
Hammer network will only be done for massively multiplayer online
games, and the first of those reviews comes to you in the form of href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/371"
of Sports: Prologue Edition
. For the past few
weeks, I've been
tinkering with the Swiss-made, sports-based MMO, and have found the
game to be pleasant in an unfinished sort of way. According to the
developers, the game is still in an "unifinished" state, and even
though you can actively spend money on the title, the entirity of the
title hasn't been put into play. After learning the
basic premise of most of the sports minigames, I'd like to use this
opportunity to reveal what I've experienced with you - the Ten Ton
hammer reader.

Initial Surprises

To be honest, when I initially fired up style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports: Prologue,
thought I was going to be in for a very pleasant surprise. Unlike most
free-to-play online games, the installation for style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports: Prologue
was incredibly easy, painless and hassle-free. There was an official
download link on the website with a very fast connection speed and
within only a few minutes (thanks to my wide-open broadband
connection), I was sitting down to create my character in EoS.

The character creation system in EoS isn't incredibly deep, especially
since your character's traits aren't of any use (that I could tell) in
the game. For instance, making your character taller in the creation
system doesn't make them better basketball players or worse sprinters.
Instead, your traits are merely cosmetic touches.

Your skin color and (sometimes) your hair color are displayed, but more
often than not you're strapped into a suit or outfit or body type that
has nothing to do with your avatar. Your character is certainly
displayed in his authentic form in the lobby, but that's not really
where it counts, is it? I want to be able to go into a competition with
my sub-five-foot sprinter and juke some seven-foot giant out of his
basketball shorts.

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time between the different events isn't necessarily the best idea.

Jack of all Trades,
Master of None

Like many of the lobby-based games that have taken the title of an MMO
(a topic that we could spend hours arguing), style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports: Prologue
gives gamers little spurts of private activity in between the more
social elements found in their interactive 3D lobby. There are five
sports to choose from in EoS - track and field, bobsledding, skiing,
basketball, football (soccer) and tennis - and each of these sports has
its own gameplay features. The skiing and track and field minigames are
less challenging to learn than the more competitive and complex games
like basketball and soccer.   

With so many games to choose from (and this doesn't include any of the
training that your character can go through), I found myself constantly
jumping around between the various sports. At first this was great fun,
but I soon realized that if I continued this habit of "bouncing around"
I would never reach the leaderboard in any of the sports.

A Sports Game Made By

As I mentioned in my first " href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/61523" target="_blank">In
the Trenches" column, I've been involved in athletics for the
majority of my life, from basketball, to pick-up soccer, to track and
field. With that said, I have to admit that the actual competitions in style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports: Prologue
don't feel anything like what I would expect a sports game to feel
like. Companies like EA and 2K Sports have made a killing off of the
creation of very visceral, very authentic feeling sports games. style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports,
on the other hand, feels like it was made by individuals who had never
played sports in their lives. Thankfully, this should be improving as
the game continue its development and, over time, these sort of
feelings should disappear.

Why am I limited in how I can pass in basketball? Why can't I dunk the
ball? When does a "super-sprint" option ever occur when you're skiing
down a slope? How come I only have to mash buttons to achieve high
scores in track and field? According to the style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports: Prologue
developers, all of that and more is still on its way. Unfortunately, it
wasn't in the game I played, but learning the ropes to your favorite
sports now may not be the worst idea in the world. It's much easier to
learn a new tactic than to wait and have to absorb everything at once.

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Despite my
complaints, Empire of Sports makes for a decent, casual MMO.

Ironically, the one sport that I really enjoyed in style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports: Prologue
was skiing and with the company creating the game based in Switzerland,
this wasn't surprising at all. Yet even the skiing game was fairly
repetitive in its format. The slopes might get harder to navigate, but
why not throw in some variations like "trick skiing" or "mogul skiing?"

A Semi-Nice View

Yet despite my complaints, I still had an average amount of fun with style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports: Prologue.
Viewed as a more casual game, EoS definitely hits a number of ideals
that I would want in any free-to-play, casual game. Decent graphics, a
social option, a varied experience, and competitive gameplay are all
definite factors in what I'd want from a casual competitive game.

Finally, for those players that truly want to compete, the  style="font-style: italic;">Empire of Sports: Prologue
team does offer opt-in tournaments where players can actively take part
in cash prize venues. For me, I'd never, ever want to take the chance
of risking my hard-earned cash on a game where latency could affect how
well I score, but some are more willing to take that risk than I.

At this point, I consider Empire
of Sports: Prologue
to just be an average attempt at an
MMO sports
game. They did an adequate job of translating each sport into an MMO
environment, but I think it could have been done better before being
unveiled to the general public. Let's hope the game continues to
improve as the developers work past their initial "prologue" phase and
continue on into a more wide-ranging and in-depth sports venues. In the
perhaps we'll see some of the more veteran sports companies try their
hands at a sports-based MMO.

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(2.5 / 5

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