Yesterday was a bit of a mixed day for me, given that I was sick and staying home. I spent the majority of it watching Iron Fist on the sofa while attempting to do other things…. and sorta fading in and out of sleep. Throughout the course of the day I played a little Tyranny, working my way closer and closer to the end. I also worked my way through the new Final Fantasy XIV patch content, that represents the last bit of story we will see before the launch of Stormblood this summer. That said I feel like it is just too soon to really talk about the patch or any of the ramifications of it. In the evening I poked my head around in Destiny attempting to get a husk to drop for the new necrochasm exotic quest. I had zero luck and instead just completed a few bounties, when I wandered away from the game to do something else. I found out that apparently Skyforge is available not on the PS4, in its pre-launch patron pack sort of scheme like they did on the PC. Now there have been a number of times in the past where I have talked about liking this game, but feeling it would play considerably better on a console. As a result I absolutely jumped on the bandwagon last night and gave it a shot. You functionally have three options that you can go with if you feel like buying your way into what is essentially console based early access. Each of the prices listed is with the PS+ discount… because really I consider plus a cost of owning a PS4.
- Early Adopter Pack – $11.99 – Access to 3 Base Classes
- Rage of the Beserker – $39.99 – 3 Base + Berserker Class
- Wrath of the Gods – $55.99 – 3 Base + Berserker + Gunner + Mount
I jumped in with both feet and went ahead and went for the pack that includes the Gunner class and mount, because in truth I already know I like this game. One of the things about this game that I wish others would notice… is all the damned beard options. It wasn’t just a choice of full mountain man vs stubble beard… but instead I had this complex set of styling options for facial hair that seriously put every other game to shame. The end result allowed me to create a “Belghast” I am extremely happy with… the lack of the whole eye scar thing made me go with an eyepatch instead even though it is on the wrong eye. Traditionally when given the option I give my “Bel” characters some sort of a scar around their left eye… and if given the choice I do the damaged white eye thing as well. All of that said I was able to create a character that I really like… instead of a character that wound up being the lesser of evils like is always the case with South Korean MMOs. The UI took a little getting used to because it varies slightly depending on the screen, but is generally navigated by a combination of bumpers, triggers and the d-pad. The square to show and hide hints piece is something super important that I took a bit to grasp, because the game inexplicably pops windows up over other windows… and the only way to remove them is to click the button.
Something important to note is that it has been a really long time since I have played Skyforge. I played quite a bit during July of 2015, and have poked my head in occasionally since but never for terribly long. The mouse and keyboard control scheme worked, but it always felt artificial. So as a result I have not seen the intro to this game in a very long time… and back then it felt somewhat random. They seem to have fixed some things narratively, to give you a better explanation of the world you inhabit and why your character happens to be immortal. The end result still feels extremely thin, but it at least flows better than I remember it doing in the past. Similarly I noticed that they fixed some of the problems I had with a few of the character models. Herida for example the NPC that you talk to as part of the tutorial had a weird design in the past of teal hair wearing a turquoise hood that flows down into a dress. The problem is the hair was not distinct enough of a color and it make it look like she was a lady with turquoise hair that somehow connected to her boobs. In the console version however she has blonde hair, and the hood itself has been moved back a bit so that you can clearly see the haircut below. As a result you have some contrast and it no longer looks like she is some sort of hair elemental.
As far as the gameplay itself… the game feels excellent but it has a complex enough control scheme that I am still getting used to it. It is following in the footsteps of console MMOs like FFXIV and using the face buttons for most of the attacks with bumpers and triggers acting as either modifiers or quick time event buttons for finishers and power attacks. It was a little awkward at first but after completing the first few missions it started to feel extremely solid. All in all I feel like this game is so much more suited for the console, with its pseudo lobby system and little bite sized missions. Another tweak that I noticed is that we now apparently have a pet that follows us around, and over time can be trained to do functions like automagically picking up loot Diablo 3 style. At some point I want to go through all of the tutorials for sub classes, because if I remember correctly each one of them unlocked a new outfit. I never really made much progress in the PC version of the game, so abandoning it completely for the console is not really that big of a decision for me. That said if you are happy with the PC, then in truth there probably isn’t enough new in the console release to really tempt you. I think the game just feels better in this form factor, but that is a deeply personal preference. Its not like I needed another game to be playing, but whatever the case it seems like I am going to be poking my head more into the PS4 Skyforge.
These are not exact comparison shots, since I failed to take a screenshot during the tutorial. However this at least shows the slight difference between the two models. Column A… weird hair elemental, Column B – someone just wearing a shawl.