Shadowbound Alpha Preview
Looks and sounds a lot better than the other games in this particular type of genre (hero building MMORPGs). Great if you already like these kinds of games.
Too similar to other games. Way too automated. Pretty boring if you don’t enjoy games where you just click your mouse every so often.
And the new MMORPG from R2 Games, Shadowbound, has just gone into open alpha testing for a few days giving players the chance to check out the game early in its development stage. Open alpha not being that particularly common in the industry we decided to check out and see what was new from the publishers.
R2 Games have a growing back catalogue of hero building fantasy MMORPGs where players must work on acquiring new gear, items, and typically companions to help build their character strength or Battle Rating up to make them stronger in combat… and Shadowbound was no different.
If you’re familiar with their other titles such as League of Angels, Wartune, Knight’s Fable (which also recently reviewed) can stretch where you want to see the same type of game, clearly believing that they have found a winning formula they really don’t seem to be concerned about changing it up that much. Apart from different graphics, storyline and world environments and a few twists and tweaks on different features, each game is almost identical to its predecessor though the titles do not have any linked franchise or IP, just very similar gameplay. The company and its games have gained both criticism and praise, some people loving the titles whereas others feel they are not doing enough to change up the gameplay in the games they publish.
There is quite literally nothing new with the game, it is the same completely automated system from auto pathing, automated combat, automated dialogue, to the point in this game we actually didn’t have to click anything for a good five minutes after selecting our class, the game moved is around, fought our battles as usual using ridiculously overpowered NPC companions that can generally destroy everything in one hit making combat doubly pointless given that firstly we don’t get to do anything and secondly we are pretty much guaranteed to win.
As far as class selection goes they’ve stuck with the same three class formula, that the selection screen lacks any visualisations of the different characters nor any text about what each one can do or how they differ from each other. On the one hand we could say that the game is in complete and this will be included at release, but such information is provided in some of their other titles either so there’s no reason to think that. From an Alpha test point of view the game looked extremely complete, bar a few missing bits of dialogue and translation issues the overall experience seemed to mimic gameplay from the other titles at this stage we can’t imagine that there is much else that is going to change, at least not in the first 20 levels of play that we got through in our video.
The major redeeming feature about the game this time round in comparison to the other games is the quality of the actual graphics, the in game background environment artwork scenes which are essentially a static isometric map that you run around look great and even though these backgrounds in the other games were also well designed in Shadowbound it looked like they’d step things up a little. More so the actual character, NPC and monster models loot infinitely better than the publishers similar titles, now looking more cohesive with the backgrounds it was a marked improvement. The music and sound also weren’t too bad, at one point when we entered the forest the music that kicked in definitely had a Final Fantasy feel about it, which can only be a good thing.
Gameplay wise? The game was just way too similar to the other titles we’ve played, way to automated and we felt dragged through the entire story, most of which we missed as the pace at which the NPC’s talk and skip through the dialogue is sometimes too fast for even is to keep up with. If you like this can of games then in all honesty you’ll probably love Shadowbound because it sticks to the same formula but graphically is considerably more enhanced and polished.
By: Fidel Homs