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Review: Forge

Greenlight Steam PC Dark Vale Games indie Forge

Developer: Dark Vale Games
Publisher: Dark Vale Games
Platform: PC (Steam)
Release Date: December 4th, 2012
ESRB: T



Have you been looking for a class-based multiplayer game that requires actual skill to play? Are you in the mood for an independently-developed title? Are you perhaps looking for a game that is showing signs of potential but still requires work? If any of these apply to you, or better yet all of them, then perhaps Forge will be a nice addition to your collection.

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Forge is a title which recently made its way onto Steam thanks to Greenlight. It is certainly not the first but one of the few which has currently gone through the process to being sold. This is an interesting point because the game is in fact still in beta. Keep this in mind during the review as there are multiple points that may be resolved down the road. However, as I am no mind reader, the game will be assessed as it is right now.

First, let’s discuss the classes and gameplay. There are currently five very different classes who can be chosen at any point during play. Each is actually quite distinct both in design and ability. They all have their own play styles and ranges they work best at. Some players may only ever touch the short range characters while others will opt to take on a sniper-like class. The amount of effort put into keeping each class from overlapping is easy to see. Unfortunately, they are not as tightly balanced as they should be.

In the game, you currently have three modes: Capture the Relic (flag), Team Deathmatch, and Arena. There are more modes listed, but they are not playable, such as King of the Hill. Obviously they are meant to be added in later. The modes work as you would probably expect. Most interesting though is how characters themselves control. Each uses abilities like you might expect to see in World of Warcraft. After using an ability, you must wait for cooldown. For “melee” attacks the rate is very fast, but you’ll be waiting longer on stronger skills.

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As the game is so fast-paced, the system of waiting on cooldowns seems an odd choice. It certainly adds more strategy into the mix, but when there are hordes of enemies piling around you, it’s easy to quickly lose focus. The fact that each ability has its own visual flair too really clutters the screen if you’re in a small space with others. Still, players interested in that sort of gameplay will probably not find it much of an issue.

Visually, the game looks really good for something to come out of an indie studio. Each class has a refreshing look and the landscapes aren’t shabby either. Although the game will win no awards for stunning graphics, it in no way makes you think “indie.” That’s not to say it all is perfect. The UI is a bit cluttered, but manageable. Less excusable is the incredibly low lit nature of some of the levels. At first I thought it was just me having a hard time seeing, but then more and more players commented on how dark they are. Of course, you can turn up brightness in game but it ends up washing out the world more than anything else.

While each game mode is competently put together, the method of accessing games is not quite there yet. You will find no server browser, only click on a game mode and get thrust into a game. It is a shame that there’s no way to hop into a specific game yet as it causes issues from time to time. For example, sometimes you’ll enter into a server and find that you’re the only one in it. A server browser is such a simple thing that you don’t realize is important until a game doesn’t have it. Again, this is something that will almost certainly be added in time, but it is not currently available.

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Dark Vale Games has managed to do something quite amazing with their game. Not only did it manage to capture the interest of thousands of Steam users, but it was not destroyed by its ambition either. It is rare to see indie games with visuals rivaling the current generation, and even more so to see any independent team make an online multiplayer game. There are a few, but so far Forge feels like the most competent product. Unfortunately, it still has a ways to go before it can truly be recommended for a general audience.

 

Pros:

+ Five available classes have distinct play styles
+ Ambitious multiplayer gameplay works quite well
+ Nice visuals complement the game

Cons:

- Lack of expected tools like server browser
- Missing game modes taunt player
- Balance still needs work


 

Overall Score: 6.5 (Out of 10)
Decent


Those willing to jump into the game now will see that Forge shows a great deal of promise.




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