In my ongoing quest to try out various free multiplayer games, I had heard of, even if only slightly, all the games on my list except one. Skyforge. Granted, I hadn’t gone out to research every MMO ever made, so maybe me being in the dark about this title was to be expected. I watched a couple general videos about the game, but, since I wanted to avoid spoilers, I didn’t go to deep into any single one. So, upon actually starting up the game, I didn’t know what to expect.
My first discovery was that if Skyforge departed from other MMORPGs in one significant way, it was with one’s own character. In a vast majority of RPGs, players start out with nothing and must build themselves up. In Skyforge, players start out essentially as gods, with “celestial” powers and gear already in tow. As immortal beings, they are tasked with protecting the game’s home world, Aelion, from an invading force. Aelion is broken up into different sections, and each section comes with its own set of missions. There’s no leveling in the traditional sense, but players must obtain enough “prestige” in order to be able to access further content. In doing away with leveling, the game allows players to switch between classes, with three to start and more to open up, at any time.
After spending a few hours in Skyforge with a magic-based Cryomancer and completing quests in two different regions, the most complementary thing I can say is that it was fine. The game looked nice and played well. While it took me a few missions to get a handle on the controls and understand how to gain different, swappable powers, I had no quibbles with the combat. A few of the larger fights were enjoyably dramatic, and I never felt as if I was constantly on the edge of death.
Notably, upon entering a new area, I found myself alone. Once I had an NPC by my side, but I didn’t see any other players. (The game’s central hub in Aelion was hopping with activity, though.) This led me to think that questing might be instanced in some way. Either that or there were very few new players on the server. The game also sways away from its MMO brethren in that a player can only have one character. There are no alts – you make your one god-like hero, and that’s it. Given that players can switch classes on a whim, this might make sense, but it does take away from any sense of replayability, which would seem to be an MMO staple.
While the game’s general mechanics didn’t feel very impressive, or at least didn’t bring anything new to the table, its stylistic mix of science fiction, steampunk, and high fantasy was quite nice. I enjoyed playing within its weird smorgasbord of environments, from factory tech to forested wilds. It’s unfortunate that each only provided linear gameplay – follow path to beat mobs until reaching the final boss – and there wasn’t much reason (or ability) to explore beyond any given path. Loot happened, and I did end up grabbing a few new items, but nothing on my character changed cosmetically when equipping them. The game would seem to have a robust cosmetic slant based on all the folks I saw in the game’s hub, but how they were obtained, I don’t know.
“I don’t know” also described my feelings towards what little I saw of the game’s story. It was…okay? But I honestly don’t know. I couldn’t repeat much from its plot. The game is voice acted, but the delivery on the story within cutscenes wasn’t very attention-grabbing. There did appear to be one mastermind bent on taking over Aelion, and it appeared as though my only goal in life was to help the folks on the side of good. There was likely much more to it, but I couldn’t say that I was all that interesting in finding out.
Though my impressions of Skyforge told me that its not worth pursuing personally, the game’s hub told me that plenty of others saw the game quite differently. I didn’t hate Skyforge at all. It played well, its combat was fun, and it was enjoyable to look at. If it had more drive and story, I’d probably keep going with it. I imagine the game is better with friends, and I’m sure it has a devoted following that is and will be pleased with whatever the game offers.
All images, include lede, and video captured by author during PS5 gameplay of Skyforge (©Allods Team).