Tree of Savior – Steam Backlog Bonanza [Blaugust 24]

821 words.

Yesterday for the Steam Backlog Bonanza I tried out an MMORPG called Tree of Savior. It launched in 2016, but I’m not entirely sure how it got onto my list. It’s free-to-play on Steam, so I never actually “bought” it, so it’s technically not in my backlog. I might have placed it in there manually because I wanted to try it, but I don’t remember. I made the game list weeks ago. Who can remember that far back?

Much like Max Payne 3, Tree of Savior started out with a slew of technical difficulties. As with most MMORPGs on Steam, what you download is not the game but the launcher for the game. So I had to sit through a second download after Steam finished. I should have figured that would happen, but it was kind of bummer to sit down to do a stream in 10 minutes and find out you haven’t actually completed downloading the game.

Next, the game started in a window on my desktop. For reasons beyond my comprehension, there was no way to change the graphical settings on the first game screen. A lot of games do this. It’s utterly baffling to me. I couldn’t change the screen resolution or change to full screen, and I couldn’t change the volume of the music blaring from my speakers at full volume. I had to go through all of server selection and character creation in a tiny window on my desktop, all the way up to the point when I actually entered the game world. Then they saw fit to give me a menu to change the screen setup.

I love to ping games for failing to provide audio and video settings on the first screen because it makes such a horrible first impression. Please stop doing this, developers. Why shoot yourself in the foot right out of the gate? I just don’t understand it.

Here's how I had to play the first 15 minutes of the game.

As for the game, it’s adorable. It’s got a beautiful, artistic JRPG visual style. (It’s an Asian import game, if you didn’t know.) Unfortunately for me, I don’t particularly like isometric games. It always bothers me that I can’t see past the edges of the screen like my character should be able to, and movement in only orthogonal directions always feels awkward to me.

The music is pretty good. I liked the energetic title screen music, despite it being too loud and blaring in my ears the whole time I was creating a character (and beyond, actually). The music during gameplay sounds a bit like elevator music. :)

There’s no voiceovers in the English version, and the text translations are a bit sketchy. Besides the failures in word-wrapping, there’s something just a bit off about the grammar, and the story of the quests don’t quite flow like I might have expected.

The gameplay mechanics are fairly simplistic at the start. It plays a little like a Mario Bros. game. There’s not much chance of dying. Mostly you just click a button repeatedly to kill the enemies. I’m sure it was meant to be more cute than challenging. There are level ups after every quest in the beginning, and new skills to buy, and none of it felt particularly satisfying or earned.

I got tired of it fairly quickly. I didn’t get any sense that the game would change very much if I continued to play for another hour, or two hours, or ten hours, or ten weeks.

Oh, there isn’t any way to change the font size, either. That’s something I definitely will complain loudly about in every MMORPG that requires reading the text.

And yes, there’s a cash shop, and yes, you get a huge advertisement for it in your face when you log in.

Will I play more? I doubt it. It’s cute, but just not very satisfying. It might be a good game for kids who have never played an MMORPG before, though. (Then again, I only saw one other person, so the game might not be around much longer.)

Live Stream - Tree of Savior

Stream Production Notes: I absolutely hated that it started in a window. Games like this drive me nuts when I’m trying to record a “first impressions” video of them. I had to change my OBS setup so I could record my desktop for the stream, so the first 15 minutes looks super lame and you can see all the stuff I keep on my desktop. (I hope I didn’t have anything embarrassing on there.) I suspected I’d be able to change the settings later, but I didn’t want to skip over the character creation for the video. I wanted it to be on their permanent record, so to speak, so it will haunt them forever. How else are developers going to learn?

Previously on the Steam Backlog Bonanza: Max Payne 3.

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