– Gamescom 2012 – Otherland exclusive presentation

After the presentation of Grimlands we did a short break and we all loaded up Otherland, which really was an exclusive as there was little in the way of promotion for this game at GamesCom other than the press booths and no available demo to play for the public. Based on the books by Tad Williams Otherland is a sci-fi/cyberpunk story set on Earth near the end of the 21st century and revolves around various fully immersive virtual reality World Simulations that users are able to travel through.

Each world has its own theme and storyline, including a cast of notable characters; both heroes and villains that the player will come across, but beyond that is a much larger story that connects all the worlds of the Otherland network devised in partnership with Tad Willams himself. One such world that we had the chance to try out ourselves was the medieval world of EightSquared (named so because of the 8x8 squares on a chess board), in this world the White Army is locked in an eternal battle with the Red Army, the player taking the side of the Whites in this Simulation.

For our demo I played as the Warrior class, typically your sword wielding heavy hitter who could build up a rage and spirit bar the more damage they dealt which they could unleash as a powerful attack. The starting quests were basic enough, talk to an NPC and head to the waypoints to get my quest item. The graphics, developed on the Unreal Engine 3, really showed and the world looked extremely well designed and easy on the eye, especially looking off into the distance across the landscape of this massive world.

After a little running around we were able to check out the first raid instance; we were able to film this instance though asked later not to publish as they did not wish to reveal images or clips of it just yet, but thankfully they were fine with us writing about the experience.

The instance was a red Tron-like virtual reality area that was populated by the Red Army, the objective was to move between various platforms where we had to cut our way through a number of mobs and open up huge archways that blocked our paths. Our characters for testing were quite overpowered for the instance so it wasn’t much of a challenge, but the final boss was a huge version of one of the smaller mobs we’d had to fight, some sort of knave (though in my opinion he looked a lot like Patsy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail). For this I was paired up with a marksman character and together we were able to try out our various skills and tactics.

The boss didn’t put up much of a fight and we quickly destroyed him, which opened up a final arch for us to leave the instance and also brought us to the end of the demo. All in all I walked away from Otherland quite surprised, both at the interest I took in the story and at how well it both looked and played for a game that is still only in its alpha stages, though closed beta should be starting very soon.

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