Some small gameplay spoilers may be revealed through screenshots. Please note that Riders of Icarus was in closed beta 3 at the time of this review and the game is not finalised.
Neat character design? Yup. Dragons? Yup. Aerial combat? Yup. Welcome to Riders of Icarus, an upcoming massively-multiplayer-online rpg (MMORPG) that is currently in it’s third and final closed beta test. Icarus was developed by WeMade Entertainment, the creators of The Legend of Mir series, and published by Nexon, a purveyor of free to play online games.
Icarus caught my eye about a month ago when my cousin linked it to me via Steam. I am a huge mount/cosmetic collector in almost any game that allows it, and I was immediately intrigued by the idea of mounted combat – something that is never really offered by any game, and certainly never fleshed out very well. After watching the introductory video, I was convinced that this was a game I’d need to try out, and I picked up a Founder’s Pack and waited.
On June 3rd 2016, Icarus released beta keys for it’s third and final closed beta before open beta begins. After installing (yet another) launcher, I had the game downloading – around 10gb – and was ready to play.
Icarus doesn’t break the mould where MMOs are concerned. There are 6 classes, none of which travel very far from tradition, and while character creation is more detailed than some, you don’t dive into every little nuance as you would in a game such as Elder Scrolls Online. Upon finished your character, you are offered one of two types of fighting style (this is able to be changed later on) – a more traditional target ‘n’ cast MMO style and a more fluid melee combat, action style. It is recommended by the game that those playing casters stick to tradition, while those playing more up-in-your-face melee may prefer the second option. I chose standard, since it is what I am used to.
The game starts you in a short tutorial in which the basics are covered – this is how you loot, this is how you interact with others, this is how combat works, and so in. It introduces mounts and flying at the end – a small taste of what is come, and something that I found to be pretty enticing. After all, one of Icarus’ main selling points is the ability to fight while mounted.
Icarus‘ storyline is introduced quickly, being set up from the tutorial. You’re given a main objective to work toward, with typical side quests thrown in. While these are, kill x of these, collect x of this, the numbers are quite small and the quests reward enough experience that it doesn’t make it seems like an endless grind of rinse, repeat. I delighted in the side quests that allowed for interaction with mounts, taming and flying, and these are not as few and far between as I would have thought.
While I did not managed to level enough to unlock mounted combat, I did earn my first flying mount (due to the teaser “daily rewards” system that was implemented, presumably to encourage the purchase of Founder’s Packs), and while it was fun to fly, the game from the sky seemed very flat and empty. There was a lack of texture throughout the world, and while this could become apparent from the ground, it was far worse from the sky.
Overall, Riders of Icarus provides the same MMO experience that you would be used to, introducing a fresh perspective from the point of taming and collecting your mounts and companions. While the graphics are polished, they are, at times, disappointingly low-res. Once the game comes into open beta, and finally, release, I am excited to explore the world more and get experience in combat and max-level content.