Fallen Earth is an MMO quite unlike other more mainstream titles of late. This is exactly why more people need to play it. Initially it seems to be just your regular, clunky and drab looking MMO. Actually it is at times, but it’s also so much more than just its looks. We’ve all seen the bleak wastelands and zombie infested future which games seem to adore showing us but it’s the way that Fallen Earth portrays it that makes it so much fun. Persevere through a slightly mundane tutorial section and it doesn’t take long to realise just what is so compelling and unique about this post-apocalyptic MMO.
There’s not a huge amount that can be said about the tutorial. It’s functional at best with nothing particularly grabbing me. In fact my expectations were very low initially thanks to my experiences with a very clunky combat system. I suspect my over reliance on auto attack modes has made me lazy when it comes to MMO combat, so having to aim at my opponent myself felt quite unnatural and awkward. Once the game opens up away from the instanced tutorial, things become very different. There’s no sign of the hand holding that is apparent in other MMOs in recent years. This is both a curse and a blessing as I can see many people giving up far too quickly in favour of easier, but less rewarding, games. It’s worth sticking by Fallen Earth though as you’ll be eventually rewarded with an experience that gives you more choices than nearly any other MMO in years. The desolation of the bleak wastelands around you are intimidating in their vastness and it’ll be many hours until you adjust your expectations appropriately and simply enjoy the fact that there’s no ‘set’ path to take. This really is an MMO that makes you feel entirely free in your options, something I haven’t experienced since my infatuation with space based MMO, Eve Online.
Unlike more conventional MMOs there is not even a class system to be confined to. There are templates that you can choose to follow but for the most part you can mix and match your skills however you want. This really opens up a lot of options and it’s refreshing to see a game treat its players so maturely, allowing them to really mould their character into a bespoke model. This is demonstrated even further by the impressively complex crafting system. As you would expect in a post-apocalyptic world, useful items are hard to come by in their complete form, so you’ll quickly rely on the items that you can create yourself. To create such items can take quite a while as initially core materials must be found amongst the rubble, before you even start to form more useful items. That’s not forgetting the matter of acquiring blueprints to know exactly how to make said item. After this the actual crafting element can take a long time, comprising of hours sometimes, but fortunately this can be left to finish while you are offline. Something that was used to great effect in the past by Eve Online’s skill system. Crafting is immensely rewarding but much like the rest of the game, players do need to be committed to the effort. At least if you’re the lazy sort of MMO player, you can always buy items from other players through an auction house system, although the snob in me can’t help but see that as cheating.
The crafting system was what really drew me into Fallen Earth. Being able to craft all my weaponry and even build my own vehicles felt like a great accomplishment, much more so than ever levelling up in other, more mainstream MMOs. It made things feel less like a grind and more like a battle for survival, which is surely exactly what should be felt when playing an RPG set in a bleak world. Frequently Fallen Earth felt more like a single player RPG experience by my own continuous self-reliance on myself rather than others. Despite this I still found the online community as mature as the game’s content, being (for the most part at least) extremely helpful and supportive.
It’s not all plain sailing for Fallen Earth. As mentioned previously, it does have a steep learning curve at times which is sure to put some players off persevering. However give it the respect it deserves and it becomes an extremely rewarding experience. It’s a culmination of small, initially mundane sounding things that make it so enjoyable. The fact that it explains your ‘respawning’ upon death by showing that you are a clone, or the fact that you can have horses or motor vehicles to travel with but they all need maintaining in some way. It gives the allure of true independence and choice, something that too many MMOs don’t bother with even though surely that’s the entire point of having an entire virtual world at your disposal.
Fallen Earth isn’t for everyone and I can see why some players will be disappointed by the lack of strong structure here, and the unconventional manner of the game. However others will thrive upon its openness and complexity. It’s the nearest you’ll get to a Fallout MMO which is surely high praise in itself. Just don’t expect an easy ride at first, good things come to those who persevere.
- Ideal post-apocalyptic MMO gaming