Fallen Earth Impressions

Fallen Earth is one of the sort-of kind-of AAA-ish quality MMORPGs that I haven’t ever played, so being generally bored with all other games, I recently started playing it.

The key word there is "started." This is actually the second time I’ve started it up. The first time I made a character and took one look at the 1990s-era graphics and promptly uninstalled it. This time I am deliberately overlooking the weird graphics so that I can evaluate the game itself. (The graphics aren’t that bad but they are primitive compared to recent titles. It reminds me a lot of the style of Fallout 1 and 2, perhaps intentionally.)

On this second attempt I have made it to level 2. It already feels like a chore. Here are just some of the things I don’t get about this game.

You get a horse pretty early on. That’s cool. But when you get off of your horse, he stays where you left him. You can actually wander off and lose your horse. You can get him back if you find a stable guy to "tow" your horse back to town. I’m not sure what to make of this feature yet. It’s realistic, but it’s an extra thing to think about that I’ve never had to think about before.

Speaking of the horse, while riding, if you side-step using the strafe keys, you stop dead. The horse side-steps about 50 times slower than it runs forward. This is very annoying, because I use the strafe keys literally all the time to look to either side while I’m running, and I don’t feel like I can do that here. Also, when running, your guy’s strafing animation looks weird. I don’t understand why he isn’t tripping over his own feet.

The mouse controls are a bit weird too. It’s a weird hybrid of shooter controls and MMO controls. It’s a left-button-to-attack kind of game, but the way you switch back and forth between mousemove and pointer mode feels very unintuitive for some reason. Maybe I just haven’t gotten into the flow of it yet, or don’t yet have my keybinds optimized, but it feels extremely awkward compared to TERA and Neverwinter. In those games, I never have to worry about manually switching modes, it just "works." In this game, though, I constantly find myself in the wrong "mode."

Finding quest objectives is not very intuitive. You have a quest tracker, but there isn’t much of an indication of where to go. There’s no sparkly line or pointing arrows to follow, so I assume it’s a game where you need to dig up the answers on your own. Which is fine, except the quest text doesn’t give you very many hints. It says, "Find the garage," it doesn’t say, "Find the garage down the road to the west." After wandering around aimlessly for a long time, I finally noticed that there’s a very subtle red X on your radar map that points you toward your quest objective. That was a big help.

It's even Christmas in Fallen Earth. Presents right by the ammunition.
It’s even Christmas in Fallen Earth. Presents right by the ammunition.

I’m still undecided. I haven’t played enough to give it a fair assessment yet, but the "first impressions" are not very good. It’s not very approachable.

But on the plus side, it looks like it has a lot of "stuff" in it to keep you busy. Skills to learn. Gathering to do. Crafting and whatnot. Lots of fiddly bits have appeared in my inventory that I don’t know how to use or what to do with. So that part’s cool.

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