Updated Mon, Jun 13, 2011 by Stow
I’d like to think I go into every game with an open mind. At the official website, I was bombarded by a series of systems that seemed promising. How can you go wrong with a feature list like:
- Open PvP
- Repeatable Quests with consumable rewards to further speed leveling
- Offline skill training
- A fairly original setting of heaven vs. hell over the planes of the 7 sins.
- Free to Play with a reasonable amount of stuff unlocked without any cash invested.
I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve jumped the shark folks, and so we begin our lovely review of the train wreck you can’t help but stare at for a while, Faxion Online.
Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice about the game is how sparsely populated the world is. NPCs are few and far between even in Purgatory (the starter city) and mobs rarely number more than three on screen at any given time. Even though there is only one server for the game, people aren’t all that common and conversations in trade or faction chat aren’t common. There are two factions in the game, Heaven and Hell more or less, and Hell certainly seems to to have a stranglehold on the game.
The world is barren, but occassionally you'll run into a horde like this. Does anyone test these spawns?
There are various objectives in each zone to conquer, and each one confers benefits to those in the zone. Contesting them alerts all players to try and divert players to the area for open combat. Note that these battlegrounds are also the spot for PvE questing, so all hell breaks loose in a hurry.
When the combat breaks out though, things break down. Cooldown indicators sometimes show up when you use abilities, and sometimes they do not, making it all but impossible to figure out a rotation or know when a critical skill is back up. Ranges on skills are all over the place, and you have no idea what buffs or debuffs are that are placed on you (the icons are there, but hovering over them just gives you a name and duration.)
Really? Why am I suddenly playing Call of Duty when I take fall damage? At least it fades and regenerates just like the game it mimics.
Almost every spell is instant cast, which is nice for a PvP centric game. It would be nicer if every fight in PvE as a mage didn’t devolve into a PvP style fight, with you running for dear life peppering your opponent with spells. No snares and no roots are given to mages. What the hell kind of design decision is this—it’s not like casters are more durable than in other games, they still go down to a stiff breeze.
There aren’t even any indicators of elite or boss type mobs in the game, so knowing the strength of your target is just a crapshoot. It’s rare for me to wish for more WoW-style simplicity and interface copying, but holy crap is it frustrating to die repeatedly because of this. Sometimes they don’t even have enhanced health totals, they just hit like goddamn trucks because they feel like it. So the game slowly turns into ‘grind here, it’s the most effective’ and kills the variety of the game.
Quests are just “deliver X, kill X” type quests that have you running all over the damn place and sometimes don’t even indicate where the monster is. The daily hunts that have you going after specific NPCs are frustrating because everyone would like to do them, and yet the NPC is on a fairly long respawn timer. What’s the point of having easily accessible daily quests when they’re time consuming and agonizing to complete?
While my rig is somewhat behind the curve, with an E6600 quad core and Radeon 4870 1GB HD video card, there’s no excuse for Faxion’s downsides in graphics. The frame rate in particular needs help, as it bogs down with lots of objects on screen regardless of how devoid of animation or detail they are. The character art style is a jarring mix of realistic and super deformed. Needless to say, it’s pretty ugly.
This would be acceptable if it was an Everquest 1 character select screen. Actually, I'm pretty sure I've seen fancier models in Freeport a decade ago.
You can’t really expect much from a free to play game, but if I could show you a .gif of the jumping animation in this game without falling out of my chair laughing, I would. It’s that bad. If you ever decide to give this a try, push your space bar a bunch for a good time guaranteed.