Skyforge: Free-to-Play MMO on PS4 and PC

Skyforge-screenshot-1

I’m currently tearing myself away from Skyforge just long enough to write my first real entry on this blog. I’ve been wanting to start this blog for a few weeks now, and actually began a similar project some years ago but never followed through with it.

Enter Skyforge.

This game is exactly the kind of thing I needed to get started. While trying out the free week of ESO (Elder Scrolls Online), I unfortunately found myself getting bored with it after a few evenings. I actually went to PSN (the PlayStation Network) to download Final Fantasy XIV when I saw Skyforge in the “featured” section. As I usually do, I quickly scrolled away to find was I was looking for, ignoring the marketing ploy, but something about the image intrigued me. After starting the FFXIV download, I went back to check it out. The short video didn’t overly impress me, but it did intrigue me.

I clicked through, and seeing that it was a free-to-play MMO I figured it would be worth downloading and giving a shot. After going for a walk and returning home, I was pleased to see the download had already finished, which seemed awfully fast. Without further ado, I fired it up and got started.

It’s been a little over 3 hours and I’m still impressed by every new thing I learn about this game. The creators seem to have struck an excellent balance with just about every aspect. The graphics are appealing, the HUD (heads-up display) is simple and clean, the story is unique and interesting, there’s decent voice acting, the gameplay adds a good amount of action to an MMO, and most recently I was impressed with the background music on a mission that reminded me of 8-bit era techno.

That’s not to say this game is perfect. A little online research showed me a 6/10 rating from Steam. The animations and graphics aren’t super polished. Some parts look choppy, unfinished, or just plain silly. But overall the graphics (especially the environments) are stunning and easy to look at. I also had some trouble figuring out what I was supposed to be doing in some of the menus, though overall the menus are much less overwhelming than other MMOs. They seemed to have tried hard to streamline and trim the fat with this game, letting you focus more on the game itself. This sometimes goes too far, as I couldn’t find how to log out, and it looks like other people online have been confused about this too. Maybe you don’t log out? If so, that’s a streamlined way to do it, but also confusing. The only other complaint I have with this game so far is I’ve noticed a clear mistake where the PC version was not translated to the PS4 version, being asked to double-click something. This isn’t a big deal, but I’m sure there will be more instances like this. It should be noted, however, that the PS4 version at least is still in alpha/beta.

But with the negatives aside, I just played 3 hours of a F2P console MMO and want to go back for more. I couldn’t say this about ESO, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever had this much fun out of the gates with an MMO (it took me quite a bit of warming up to get into FFXI and WoW). I downloaded Skyforge out of the blue, fired it up, and got right into an intriguing story and was thrown into combat. No fetch quests, no lengthy tutorials, just a streamlined entry into a populated world.

Hero creation was quick and easy. Like many other things, it has clearly been streamlined but still leaves enough options to do what you want. Whereas other MMOs I seem to spend an hour just making my toon, or make a generic character with plenty of identical twins online, Skyforge let me create what I feel is a unique guy in about 10 minutes. He looks cool, kind of like me, and I was off to the races pleased with my avatar.

You’re thrown straight into a combat mission as I said, with a nice little cutscene intro. As I also mentioned previously, there is an impressive amount of voice acting where most MMOs would simply have you read, and plentiful cutscenes are a nice change of pace and make the game feel like a high-quality production (even if the animation and talking sometimes looks silly or incomplete). I did notice many of the voiceovers seemed to cut out before finishing the last word, which was odd and a tad annoying, but I assume they’ll iron that out before long.

While getting my feet wet with the intro, I was impressed with the blend of action and MMO gameplay. Clearly the game is an MMO, but the controls, animation, and timing feel much more like an action game than many other MMOs out there. Your character doesn’t auto-attack, it’s not just trading blows, you can move with precision and execute combos with almost a brawler/hack’n’slack/MMO hybrid that I thought, once again, was incredibly balanced.

After completing the intro, you are introduced to the “city” area which is the nexus/hub where you can prep for your next mission, learn more about the story, upgrade your character, socialize with other players, etc. I haven’t gotten far enough in to join a party or anything, but assume that’s all pretty standard.

One unique thing about Skyforge is it appears to be more level/mission based that other MMOs. You aren’t in a fluid world where you wander around finding things to do; instead, you are in the nexus area and going out on missions where you travel to an enclosed area and complete a mission. It looks like you can repeat missions and increase the difficulty for greater rewards, and each mission/level so far was a decent size and I found a few secrets off the beaten path. However, this is not an open world experience like World of Warcraft and other MMOs.

So I chose my class, can switch to others as I please, got a mount, knocked out a few missions, did some upgrading, and beat a few bosses. So far, I’m really impressed by the overall flow and feel of this game, with any drawbacks being little more than minor annoyances. I’m excited to delve back into Skyforge and enjoy more of this unique and just plain fun MMORPG. My character already looks and feels like a badass, and his well animated abilities, temporary weapon pickups a la the brawler genre, and quirky little robot buddy who follows me around with funny dialogue, makes Skyforge something enticing to pick up and play for a single mission, or a 3 hours grind.

I hope you enjoy the first entry in Cheap Gaming 2017, and I’m confident you’ll enjoy Skyforge, which is free on PS4 and PC. It looks like this game came out last year on PC, and only recently made it onto PS4, which made sense to me how it would be so well put together for an open beta.

Thanks for reading.

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