TERA review for PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: En Masse Entertainment
Developer: Bluehole
Medium: Digital
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

MMORPGs have never really been my expertise. I dabbled a little in games like World of Warcraft and City of Heroes, but never really got into lore of this genre. TERA was intriguing to me since it looked to bring an actual MMO to a console but retain all of the elements from PC that make this type of game fun and exciting. While TERA does a lot of things right, it still falls short of being a killer app.

The storyline you follow in TERA is a standard story of good and evil. According to legend, the two continents of Arborea are the backs of fallen titans that are unconscious, dreaming of the glorious world of Arborea, imbuing the land with peace and tranquility. These dreamers cause a beautiful world to take shape on their backs, creating Arborea and everything that it contains. The first creatures dreamed into existence were the 12 gods of Arborea. They possessed power far beyond any living creature later imagined by the sleeping Titans. With power this immense, it was inevitable that these beings would also be the first to wage war in Arborea.

First, their battles took place among themselves. However, eventually they recruited the mortal races of Arborea to their fight. A race called the Argon appeared in Arborea, which none of the other races were able to handle single-handedly. Banning together, they defeated the Argons and Arborea is now a land at peace, However, a mysterious island called the Island of Dawn has recently appeared between the two continents of Arun and Shara. The Federation has been sending adventurers to investigate this landmass, and guard the interests of Arborea. As a player, your duty is to discover what the island is and why it’s there.

You begin your journey by selecting your race and creating your character. After, you are immediately thrusted into the world of TERA, completing missions that move the story along. You are also free to explore the entire world and engage in battle at will, and it is here that you will get your first taste of the combat system. This is one of the first games of this kind where you have complete control of battle. You do have to wait for cooldowns and recharges, but you can strike and move freely while engaging an enemy. This is the biggest plus for TERA, as just clicking and watching an attack really takes the player out of the action. As you being the single player campaign, your character will begin a series of Quests ranging from simple fetch quests, to long and tough battles. They run continuously, so once you complete one mission, you are offered another almost immediately, thereby chaining the story together. The more you quest, the more of the story opens up to you. You can join up with friends online to complete quests or aid other players you meet along the way. Overall, it’s pretty standard, repetitive MMO fare. Some players may get bored quickly, especially if they are seasoned MMORPG players.

What MMORPG would be complete without PvP? Well, TERA may have a huge issue here. While questing with friends and completing missions together is fun, the vs. modes are not as balanced. It’s basically an all out war between classes, with many stonger players dominating every field. There are no factions and no real goal, other than to dominate weaker players. Going solo in PvP is not recommended until some major tweaking is done to perfect this area of the game. Going in with a group is a little more fun, but you can still get defeated quickly. I really didn’t spend too much time with PvP, but judging from what I did play, I won’t be exploring it very much.

Graphics are sharp on console with a decent draw distance for an online game. The game constantly runs at 60fps no matter how much is happening on-screen. Character animations are a bit stiff, but it doesn’t affect gameplay. There are some instances where my character became stuck in a wall or an obstacle, but the game corrects things like this quickly. Music and sound is very good, with the ambient sounds of the world around you and some really nice music selections. The roar of the monsters you meet can be heard from a distance and get louder as you approach them (or they approach you). There is a little voice acting here and there, and while not significant, is done very well.

TERA is a good attempt to bring a PC based MMORPG to consoles. The standard storyline, very unbalanced PvP and repetitive quest-ing may turn off many players. If it wasn’t for the combat system and the occasional boss battle, TERA might not have had enough steam to get noticed in a sea of MMORPGs on PC. It does a number of things right, while making some mistakes along the way. Mistakes that can easily be perfected over time. While it’s a good experience overall, it will have trouble hooking players for the long haul in its current state. Personally, I enjoyed most of my time with TERA and I do suggest checking it out since it really won’t cost you anything. It’s a true free to play MMORPG with some great action packed combat. Give it a try, there’s really nothing to lose.

Note: En Masse Entertainment provided us with a TERA PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C+