The World of MMOs is currently about as packed as one of Bob Marley's joints, so any new titles will have to bring something different to the table to be noticed. On paper, RF Online looks like just the candidate; a futuristic fantasy setting plays host to three competing races, thus providing scope for plenty of PvP action. There's also a pretty graphics engine with a heavy Anime influence, a mass of well animated enemies and an economy that's directly affected by the players.
The three races are a great mix: the cyborg Accretia look like they've been lifted straight from Japanese Anime; the Bellato are an advanced but miniscule race with a penchant for technology (Phantasy Star Online anybody?); and the Cora, with their magic and summoning abilities, have more than a hint of Final Fantasy about them.
GRINDING YOU DOWN
However, once you've hooked up that broadband, it quickly becomes apparent that things aren't quite so great in reality. The first thing you notice is that RF Online is an unashamed grind-fest. Not only do the quests consist almost solely of 'kill 20 of these', 'kill 20 of those', but there's virtually nothing else to do should you wish to take a breather. Apart from mining. So, nothing then.
There're also a range of other issues, such as a poor draw distance, a woefully inadequate chat window, lots of translation mistakes, quest buttons that don't work and a general inability to find any kind of useful information in-game, all of which means that the first 20 or so levels leave you feeling cold.
RF Online does pick up at a higher level, when you can start contributing to the chip wars (essentially a massive slice of PvP action where all three races battle for control of the mines) that occur every eight hours. These are far superior to any personal PvP battles,
which more than often than not become a war, not of wits, but of who's stacked up the most health potions.
Unfortunately, an hour's excitement out of eight is poor going, so RF Online is best played only if you enjoy continual grind with minimal reward. Most of us get enough of that at work.
- Large-scale PvP action
- Good economy system
- Interesting combination of races
- Major grind-fest
- Unimaginative quests
- Lots of little niggles