Tera – MMO Console Review
Tera Console Review
By: JoPa Writes
With the advances made on consoles in recent times, Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games have only relatively recently begun making the move from the computer. While none have reached even a portion of the success of famous titles such as World of Warcraft, they have carved out a solid market on the home boxes. Yet one of the major downsides is the games feel like PC titles were simply modified to get them onto Playstation or Xbox as quickly as possible. Luckily Tera has found a way to make me feel like the transition was rather seamless in comparison.
The combat feels natural and fluid in Tera with a controller as it is quite fast paced with less reliance on tanking damage. Those new to MMOs might find the variety of abilities overwhelming at first, but the options feel virtually endless and once you begin to master them the game really begins to shine. There are a range of different ways to approach encounters no matter which of the nine starting classes you choose. It is important to note that each class has wildly different play styles so testing them all to find the one that fits the way you want to proceed is important. Probably the best part of it all, in my opinion, is how well the lock on system can be as you move from one enemy to the next.
Like most MMOs, the grind can be long at times when trying to move quickly towards the level 65 cap. It does a good job of feeling fresh as you move to various territories early in the game but slowly loses that over time. The game is definitely best served from playing with others and finding a clan is advisable as soon as possible. This allows you to take advantage of the well laid out dungeons to a much better degree. But everything before level 65 is simply a precursor of the excellence this game can provide once you hit that point. Tera’s endgame is complex and enjoyable to a degree that I’ve been hard-pressed to find elsewhere. As a completionist, I found it difficult to skip various side quests that didn’t provide enough experience to make them worthwhile. Many of them are simple fetch or kill quests so unless you need them to level up they are not necessary at all but can be a nice break from the more intense challenges.
As a story, Tera is not overly innovative but is interesting all the same. The world is richly developed with intricate ties between a large number of factions. It has some of the more unique races you’ll see along with one in particular that is downright adorable. That would be the Popori, a fan favorite because you can look like a dog, cat or assortment of other cute animals. The other 6 are only slightly less memorable with Humans and Elves being taken directly from traditional fantasy settings while Elin, Castanic, Aman and Baraka all providing unique choices. Each race has its own history and racial bonuses that will affect gameplay. Tera’s class choices also all feel very different from each other. One downside is some of the classes and other content found on PC has yet to make its way to console yet. While one would wish everything would be released at once but rolling things out over time is a way to keep the player base interested.
There are a few different PVP modes which provide both strange and/or interesting gameplay. Kuma Royale has you take control of a baby Kuma with your teammates to fight similar enemies. One of the players controls the Kuma boss and the two sides collide in a weird battle with solid mechanics. It made me laugh the first time I played as a field of sumo babies trudge towards each other. Iron Battleground is another where you and the enemies travel around in tanks trying to blow each other up. Both can be rather challenging to learn but provide a huge amount of in-game benefits if your team wins and you are of lower level so it’s definitely worth checking out. You can play other PVP instances as well along with full PVP servers for the more die-hard player.
The game looks quite nice on console with a high science fantasy feel. Character models and NPCs look quite crisp as one would expect. There have been some server hiccups to be found as well as issues with loading into new areas in the major cities. That said the major cities hubs are large and beautiful to look at. One of my favorite things to do was travel by Pegasus, a vehicle more than creature, and watch the landscape pass by underneath. While the common enemies are nothing exceptional, the bosses are very well done and each feels unique.
Another major benefit in Tera compared to others is the lack of a monthly fee to play. While you can upgrade to Elite Status for a cost which certainly gives quite a few advantages, it is not required. As with all free to play games these days, there are plenty of cosmetics available in the store for purchase as well. These costumes provide no gameplay advantages but really allow for customization of your character so that it feels more like your own. There are also numerous mounts and pets available for you to further add variety to gameplay. Some provide minor advantages such as traveling quicker, extra storage or picking up items enemies drop but none of it is game breaking.
Overall MMOs on console have been hit or miss. Each has had pros and cons but few have been able to deliver a fully satisfying experience. Tera is able to accomplish this more than most in a variety of different ways. If you enjoy the game type and want to try a new one then this is definitely one you should give a try.