Tower of Fantasy appeared to ignite in hype and recognition in a single day, proper? Positive, these invested on this explicit model of RPG might have been conscious of its arrival for a while, however who might have anticipated it to seize a lot consideration — to change into the subject of dialog in gaming areas. Off the again of this hype, I jumped in wanting to see what’s occurring amongst 1000’s of different like-minded of us.
Whereas initially nice, the warmth and hype radiating off Tower of Fantasy whittles away shortly. It’s a flashfire, catching your eye at first earlier than smoldering to a fast and disappointing conclusion, burning up your time (and maybe your pockets) in that fleeting second.
However what’s Tower of Fantasy? First off, it’s not a brand-new sport by any means. Launched in China a while in the past, the action-RPG has now been launched globally for each cell platforms and PC. It falls into the class of ‘ever increasing and ludicrously worthwhile open world Gacha ARPG’, a style at present dominated by Genshin Impression within the west and with increasingly more titles with shared DNA trickling over.
Tower of Fantasy does an exquisite job at instantly snatching your curiosity with a dynamic and explosive fight system, the place even your first sword feels weighted and highly effective within the tutorial. The sport allocates you three weapon slots instead of get together members in conventional RPGs, and these will be freely swapped within the midst of a battle, permitting you to drag out the suitable instrument for the job at will.
If there’s one a part of Tower that retains me enjoying it truly is the method of preventing the rank-and-file enemies unfold out on the planet. A fast have a look at every weapon’s combo web page will present you it’s not an endurance check of how laborious and quick you may mash buttons — there are distinctive strings that may result in high-flying strikes and aerial acrobatics that persist in its depth.
As such, fight has a wholesome quantity of depth to it. Every weapon has an elemental attribute that enemies could have resistances or weaknesses to, forcing you to choose and select your lively loadout fastidiously in difficult content material. Weapons have skills and supers connected, typically forcing you to swap between them to be environment friendly. Dodging on the good time freezes enemies in place, permitting you to freely heal or money in free harm. Oh, and don’t overlook Relics! Obtainable objects that may be geared up and used on-cooldown for highly effective results, these add one other a part of your package it’s essential monitor and squeeze for that further oomph.
All of those separate elements mix to make the method of killing off random enemies out on the planet pleasant, and extra highly effective foes came upon on the planet or in instanced group content material downright thrilling. Don’t get me flawed, this isn’t Satan Could Cry 5, however it stays participating, nonetheless.
However what concerning the world itself? You’re not simply preventing in some white room in spite of everything, the place do you truly go? Effectively, the world featured in Tower of Fantasy is a fractured one, cut up into six areas; every a post-disaster cocktail of wilderness and technological spoil. Whereas the conflict of futuristic previous world and pure new is featured all through the whole sport, the vibrancy of the sport makes the panorama instantly fascinating. You’re assailed by shiny oranges and deep blues that catch the attention and hold issues energetic.
Enemies replicate the world round them in a manner that basically differentiates themselves from different colossal Gacha-ARPGs on the market proper now. Borderlands-esque gang members referred to as Hyenas roam round with cobbled collectively armour and weapons, whereas the mysterious forces of the Heirs of Aria — the principle antagonists of the sport — have a extra refined appears to be like with up-to-date tech and laser swords. There are some actual winners in there, just like the hunched-over blokes that exist on Raincaller island, strolling round with a half-tire on their again as extra elite forces native to their turf.
What of the story? It’s a combined bag. Whereas I normally wouldn’t discuss a lot concerning the narrative and its twists – nobody likes spoilers in spite of everything – I can’t see the purpose when the sport has one of many large twists plastered on loading screens, server choice, the official web site and, as of writing, the star of the present particular occasion banner. As soon as you permit the tutorial you meet a woman referred to as Shirli and her brother Zeke who allow you to out, just for the bubbly Shirli to change into contaminated by Aberrants (principally techno zombies) and doomed to die. Zeke, not liking the concept, as an alternative goes out and groups up with the massive bads to be able to save her, which kicks off your journey the world over.
This preliminary narrative is bland and unremarkable. It’s the core string that ties collectively your journey the world over, however it’s the threads that spin off from it which are much more interesting. There’s a degree within the story following your time in Banges that begins to dive into what precisely occurred to the world to trigger the calamity that’s much more interesting — a lot in order that I used to be actually within the temper to blast my manner by way of it. Nevertheless, that’s when one among Tower of Fantasy’s most irritating points rears its ugly head… time gating!
I hate time gating. If I wish to end work at 5pm and physique Tower of Fantasy till 2am, I need the liberty to try this – to mess up my sleep schedule and throw actual life sociability out the window instead of progress in a online game. From what I’ve heard, this solely will get more durable if you hit 30, so I wish to do it now. Making an attempt to take action in Tower of Fantasy could have you slam right into a concrete wall, with the phrases “This Quest can be accessible in 8 hours” plastered on in shiny purple letters. As of proper now Tower of Fantasy’s narrative isn’t within the sport — not in full. You want to come again tomorrow, or the subsequent day, or subsequent week to be able to see what occurs subsequent.
You may be considering “go and discover the world! Loot some prizes and unlock some fancy stuff”. Nice concept! There are many chests and provide orbs round, which may drop assets and even in-game forex in case you discover one thing actually good. The sport is even fairly good on this regard, providing you with precise areas of the actual invaluable stuff in your minimap from a good distance away, which means you don’t spend as a lot time scrapping the corners of the map as you would possibly anticipate. In your rootin’ and lootin’ journey you would possibly even come throughout a Dream Orb – principally a randomly dropped mini-game that helps combine up the tedium of speeding round and opening packing containers. Enjoyable, proper?
Besides even that is time gated. As a rule, particularly at launch, half the packing containers you’d come throughout can be locked for twenty-four hours, 48 hours, or sometimes even longer! I completed up a puzzle within the Crown Mines and opened up a warehouse with a golden provide pod inside, solely to be met with a 48-hour timer till I might declare the reward for my laborious work. When you’re maintaining with the sport, logging in daily and exploring the highest-level areas accessible to you, you’re punished for doing so. It’s terrible.
The explanation why that is right here is obvious, and whereas I initially tried to consider extra optimistic the reason why this was the case, I used to be losing my very own time in naivety. It’s the gacha, the monetary engine that powers not simply this sport however all video games within the style. When you might sit down over a weekend and beat the story, you would possibly depart content material. As an alternative, sit round and gather login bonuses over every week, come throughout treasures you may’t entry with out information chips you possibly can purchase, require loot from a joint mission however end up missing the in-game vitality to do it till tomorrow. All of those nudge you to purchase, and the longer you end up enjoying the extra urgent the urge to drop £4, £10, £20 and extra.
Provide pods are locked and story quests are time gated to make sure a drip feed of rewards — quick at first as the sport heaps rewards your manner within the first few days earlier than closing the faucet slowly. Are you 100 darkish crystals away from shopping for the ten purple orbs it’s essential use on a restricted banner that’ll go away in every week? Effectively, you may’t get them out on the planet, so I suppose you’ll have to attend. Or… purchase them.
If this side of the sport was in a closed off area, separate from the remainder of the sport, many might stay with it within the background. However the tendrils latch onto every of the sport’s main and minor issues in a manner that makes it not possible to disregard. Purple tremendous uncommon characters look okay I suppose, however it’s these golden Tremendous Tremendous uncommon characters that explode off your display screen and pack the best appears to be like.
It additionally makes the sport’s issue laborious to parse. I lucked out large time by pulling King and Samir — two of the sport’s strongest characters as of writing — from banners utilizing forex I earned by scrounging round. This made the early hours of the sport, and all the story content material pish simple. That is after all the case, since in case you anticipate gamers to dump actual world cash, they should have a neater time, no matter how that dominoes into wider issues for different gamers.
Add onto this the sluggish rising issue of group content material — one thing you clearly wish to see in video games like this to present devoted gamers one thing to do — and the temptation to blow a couple of quid on rolls is palpable.
I consider the largest casualty of that is PvP, which as of writing, solely consists of a 1v1 area mode. Whereas stats are neutralised between each gamers in addition to tools upgrades, every weapon comes with its personal transfer set and assaults. If I, with my scythe, ice greatsword, and Chakram, can create large AOE hearth strikes, Chakram kill packing containers and waves of uninterruptible ranged greatsword strikes, what likelihood does somebody who acquired unfortunate and pulled worse, much less optimum weapons have? The issue isn’t with the numbers, it’s with the assaults you achieve from getting the most effective and rarest weapons.
This additionally has me frightened about the way forward for the sport PvP-wise. If energy is tied to weapons and their transfer set, and a brand new weapon is launched to banners that’s high tier, are devoted gamers meant to cross their fingers and pray they get the recent meta gear? After all not, they’re meant to drag out their card and pay for rolls till they get it. There can be a battle royale mode that seemingly will repair this downside, however as of penning this isn’t current within the sport so I can’t touch upon its strengths or weaknesses. Because it stands proper now, PvP left me wanting – a mode with standardised weapons would make sense.
It’s laborious to disregard one thing like this when it worms its manner into so many features of the sport. It makes it laborious to forgive smaller errors and points that normally would fall beneath the radar when the sport appears like a whale manufacturing facility relatively than a sport playable off its personal deserves. My favorite little mistake in Tower of Fantasy will be discovered on safety keypads, which have the quantity 9 changed with “10% off” in what I can solely interpret as a reminder of what’s valued most with this title.
On the finish of the day, you may have a good quantity of enjoyable with Tower of Fantasy however it’s laborious to see this title having a lot of a future. Simply subsequent week, Genshin Impression has its model 3.0 launch which is able to drain a lot of the content-hungry gacha crowd away, whereas Zenless Zone Zero seems to be a looming large that’ll current a post-apocalyptic sci-fi setting with nice high quality. Investing a lot money and time doesn’t really feel proper when the strengths of the title can’t overpower the overwhelming negatives.
The hype round Tower of Fantasy won’t survive the winter, it might already be on its manner out.