Riders of Icarus Pre-Beta Preview
Riders of Icarus is the latest MMO to be added to Nexon’s library. Similar to Dragon’s Prophet and Dragomon Hunters, Riders has a focus on monster capturing for both mounts and combat companions. Set in a lore-rich world, you’ll encounter tons of amazing beasts to tame, in a variety of environments. Some rarer creatures will require that you perform special tasks or make use of special items to be able to capture them. This could be the monster capture experience you’re looking for.
Riders of Icarus offers what can now be considered the ‘standard’ of modern MMOs, in terms of customization. You are given a decent variety of options, along with a selection of presets. However, if those presets aren’t to your liking, you can do some fine-tuning with various sliders to get your character to look just right. It’s not on par with something like Black Desert Online, but it’s not disappointing either.
Let’s just say that the amount of lens flare used in this game would be impressive even to J.J. Abrams. Not that it’s a bad thing; it results in a very cinematic experience, especially while flying. In general, I enjoyed the graphics in Riders of Icarus. They’re not over-the-top impressive, but they’re pleasing. I would suggest getting your hands on a flying mount ASAP, because with the high flight ceilings, you can get some amazing views up there.
This is the last portion of the opening tutorial quest that begins immediately after you create your character.
Riders of Icarus is pretty convenient when it comes to controls. You can choose either the traditional point-and-click system, or a pseudo-Action system for controls. I say pseudo-Action because once you play the game you quickly realize that it’s really still point-and-click. I’ve run into a glaring issue a couple of times where, while in Action mode, I will somehow select an enemy in the distance while trying to fight something right in front of me. Each time I used an ability my character would start walking off to attack the enemy that was several meters away.
Rider’s hasn’t yet gotten a chance to develop much of a community. I see it mentioned fairly frequently on various forums, but not much actual discussion about playing the game. Many people are on the fence about the title; they want a good monster capture game but they’re afraid Riders will be generic and pay-to-win. Only time will tell, just as only time will tell what kind of community Riders of Icarus will get.
Combat feels smoother on ranged characters. The control scheme gets a bit wonky when enemies are right in your face.
For the most part, Riders of Icarus is your standard themepark MMO. It’s not a ground-breaking game by any stretch of the imagination. However, it does the whole themepark thing very well. If this were just a few years prior (which is a bit funny, considering Riders has been out in foreign markets for two or so years now) I would have probably sunk a decent amount of time into Riders of Icarus and made it my primary game for a while. As it stands, it’s a solid game but one I would only play sparingly.
One noticeable thing is that the game has a lot of instances. Often, they’re just tiny things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. And don’t get me wrong, there are large open zones to explore and quest in. But you’ll run into several instances that are often private quests. It’s kind of a bummer as someone who prefers more open worlds. The game is made up of zones you have to load into and this combined with the instances and dungeons means that there is a lot of loading new areas. This isn’t a big deal, because most of the time you’ll only get an instant of lag when entering for the first time. Plus this doesn’t detract from the game at all, it’s just a preference thing. So really, it’s not something to complain about.
Combat in Riders isn’t the best I’ve encountered. The point-and-click controls as a ranged class is enjoyable, but melee in action can get annoying for the issues I discussed under Controls. My favorite class to play had to be Assassin, which I’ve played since CB1. Unfortunately, this time around I chose to go with a Warrior and found myself getting bored of the combat. I will be playing a Wizard in the Open Beta, I think. If you like movement and throwing enemies around, both Assassin and Warrior will be enjoyable by you.
The taming system in Riders of Icarus is a mixed bag. It has some really awesome features and some not-so-awesome features. For example, there are rare monsters that will require you to do special things or get special items so that you can tame them. However the taming mechanic is quite boring. Especially when compared to other monster capture games, such as Dragon’s Prophet. In Riders, the taming ‘mini-game’ is like a very slow, slow motion quick time event that drags on beyond its gimmick lifespan. I remember in Dragon’s Prophet every new attempt at capturing a dragon was an exciting event. I’m not sure if the comparison is fair; Dragon capturing is a lot more central to the gameplay than monster taming is in Riders.
The problem is that you simply jump on the monster and then wait to press single prompts. There are, like I said, things to spice this up. Some rare monsters will require you to get certain items or do special tasks to be able to tame them. Unfortunately, these are the minority. I think it would be neat if the game went the Witcher route, where all the mythical beasts have a sort of kryptonite (or maybe a catnip?) that will allow you to tame them. It would have added an extra element to the game that may have made all the difference.
It’s fluid and has a natural feeling.
The mounts are beautifully animated. The developers could have easily taken the lazy route with this, but it’s impressive that they took the time to make so many different movement animations for the mounts. I’m so used to mounts in games being a sort of tacked on feature with relatively poor animations and textures. Riders of Icarus is a stark contrast to the norm. That’s not to say they’re all perfect, though. One of my major complaints is that when you tame a mount, it changes sized to fit you. This isn’t a new thing in MMOs; a similar system is used in Black Desert and TERA. However, I was disappointed when my tiny-as-I-could-make-it character tamed a Gallant (Unicorn) and the thing almost shrunk to half the size as it was in the wild.
Mounts aren’t all there is in Riders, though. You can transform your captured creatures into pets to fight alongside you. I wasn’t able to delve too deeply into this system, unfortunately. But at least when you first do it, it seems that the creatures you turn into pets get shrunk a great deal. These pets can help you in combat and add an extra layer to the game that is enjoyable.
If crafting is your thing, Riders of Icarus doesn’t actually offer much in that regard. It has your typical themepark crafting system. You’ll gather resources from random nodes in the world, open an interface, select a recipe, and click “craft.” Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed with the system. It’s not completely bad, as the developers threw in a progression that may make crafting enjoyable to some. Who doesn’t like a sense of achievement, right?
While Riders of Icarus could be called a generic themepark experience, the mount and pet system is something I want to experience further and the reason I’ll be spending more time in the game. This is a game that unabashedly caters towards those who truly enjoy the monster capture genre of games. While it may not be the ‘best in slot’ it certainly is one of the better titles in this niche genre. I can see a lot of people, especially those who enjoy the achievement of ‘catching them all,’ really getting into the game. If you’re wondering whether or not Riders of Icarus is worth your time, I would say that you should ask yourself, “Am I fan of monster capture games?” That’s your answer.