Fallen Earth Review
If you've ever dabbled in the post-apocalyptic genre, be it books, video games or movies, you already know the score - the world as we know it has been decimated, and all of humanity's hard work has been for naught. Little more remains than a barren wasteland. Your mission is simple - Survive.
In a market currently overflowing with orcs and elves, Fallen Earth brings a new approach to a template that is otherwise quite familiar to gamers - post apocalyptic futures aren't exactly rare in this hobby, after all. It's never really been explored in an MMORPG though, and what Fallen Earth does it mostly does well.
It takes an approach to its gameplay that is uniquely inspired by its setting, that of surviving and getting by with what little remains of a world where law and order has all but collapsed, where resources and luxuries are almost non-existent, and it's every man for himself.
So how does it do this, exactly? The answer lies in the games crafting system, and a large portion of your enjoyment of Fallen Earth will depend on how much you love or loathe this particular aspect of the game.
Fallen Earth's crafting systems is certainly one of the most elaborate seen in any MMORPG to date, and due to the post-apocalyptic focus it fits quite harmoniously with the setting. Your character possesses 10 trade skills ranging from Armorcraft, to Ballistics, to Construction (a recent addition), and much more besides. If it exists in the world, you can craft it.
In many cases you won't have a choice, especially if you want some speedy transport around the absolutely huge game world, seeing as the game possesses no fast travel whatsoever. Whether this is a good or bad thing is entirely up to your own personal preference.
The most unique spin on the crafting system is the way the items are actually created; things you make are created in real time. Making a sandwich takes only a few minutes, but complex items such as motor engines not only require very complex parts, but can take over eight hours to be constructed. Thankfully, item crafting times pass even while you're not playing, saving you the burden of sitting at your computer for half the day just to construct a dingy ATV.
Of course, there's more to Fallen Earth than its crafting system, and the combat system, the bread and butter of every MMO is functional and does its job, though it feels a little uninspired in places.
First things first - there are no classes in Fallen Earth. Your character's path through the levels is completely free and up to you to define, but be warned, there's currently no way to re-spec your character, so you're stuck with the decisions you make. Fallen Earth unfortunately doesn't explain how a lot of these stats affect each other and different elements of the game, which can be quite overwhelming for new players.
Combat is handled like most MMORPGs, with your standard menu bar of abilities that you can choose from, and new abilities to learn, but without any predefined classes, progress can sometimes feel a little aimless. Fallen Earth does one thing quite uniquely here though. Guns and melee weapons can all be used from a first person perspective, almost turning the game into a first-person shooter if you develop your character accordingly.
Grouping is not that common, and the game is quite solo friendly. Although the lack of fast travel or re-specs, alongside the exhaustive crafting system, makes it seem to established MMORPG players that this game won't be friendly to casual players, it really is. The game doesn't seem to be going out of its way to prepare you for the group dynamic that typically supports the end-game of most games of this type, and the solo content itself is a breeze if you keep within your level range.
It's a good thing the character customisation is up to scratch, because this will be the major way you'll really make yourself stand out from the crowd in Fallen Earth. There really are no limits to how diverse you can make your character look, and the crafting system helps push this even further.
Speaking of the players, the game has an extremely friendly community of people that are always able and willing to help, something which is sadly uncommon in most MMOs nowadays. Icarus Studios have done a brilliant job in creating a generous and decent community of players.
At the end of the day, Fallen Earth won't be for everyone. It depends a lot on what you want of out your MMO. I've had a while to enjoy to enjoy the game and it's take on a post-apocalyptic future, and while there are still a few rough edges, the developers have been extremely quick at sorting out any teething issues the game had at launch. Many complaints by earlier reviews on other sites, such as the lack of explaining features or mounts early on in the game, have since been sorted, and the game is constantly being patched and expanded on.
Fallen Earth will not hold your hand like many MMORPGs do nowadays, but considering that you're left to fend for yourself on an Earth that has been utterly devastated by war and corruption, you shouldn't expect it to. It's a dangerous world out there. Are you prepared? It's a pretty decent journey, decaying planet notwithstanding, as long as you're willing to look out for yourself.