Riders of Icarus Review: Gotta Ride ‘em all!
By Jason Parker
By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
It’s incredibly hard to stand out as an MMO currently, especially in the free to play market. There are so many quality games that are available now, not to mention games that are on the way. So one of the things you have to consider is “Are they special?”, “Do they stand out?” or “What do they do that these other MMOs don’t?” and Riders of Icarus certainly picked a fun idea with making mounted combat a core feature. Riders of Icarus is also an interesting title. Who was Icarus? Icarus is the Greek myth about the boy who flew too close to the sun, the wings melted, and he plummeted to his death. I’m not so sure that’s a good call, but I do feel that unfortunately, it’s fairly accurate as far as the game goes. It’s ambitious, has a lot of really interesting things going on, but there are some flaws that border on crippling. There are quite a few things in the game that make me grit my teeth and try my level best to not just ALT-F4 and go do something else. But it’s not all bad.
So let’s start at the beginning: What is Riders of Icarus? It’s a free to play MMO published by Nexon where the focus of the game is collecting “familiars.” Familiars are animals/beasts in the world that you can tame to become your mount or transform into a pet that also fights with you. Its combat is sort of like an action MMO, but not quite. Even with the “FPS” keybinds, where you are supposed to attack where you’re facing, it still relies heavily on tab targeting. I’ve felt the sting of almost dying because my Tab Target was stuck on something about ten feet away. The main enemy is trying to attack me but I didn’t realize I was still tabbed elsewhere. I’d run away, get blasted by something, and rinse/repeat. It’s not quite an action game like GW2 or TERA, because there is no real dodge/tumble button or huge AoEs to dodge.
To me, it feels more like World of Warcraft. In WoW one of my big focuses is hunting rare/exotic mounts, and I have something like 150-200 of them. It made me feel like I had accomplished something pretty great in the game. But when most of the enemies in the world can be tamed and ridden, it sort of takes something out of that hunt. Granted, they do get their own powers and abilities, and once you have mounted combat weapons, you can do battle from their backs. But as a major feature of the game, I feel like it should be available sooner than it is. I was a little frustrated that early in the game I received a quest that said “Send a familiar exploring,” which requires you to be at your Familiar Ranch. However, it can’t go exploring on its own until you max its levels, and I could not …read more