Hey everyone this is my review of Echo of Soul,
There isn't really much to say because... there really isn't much to go over in the game after 29 levels of it. I was going to stop at 30 and give an evaluation but I just couldn't make it there for honest and obvious reasons. The story itself is forgettable but the intro cutscene is really nice. That's... one of the few things that's great about it. In fact I'll go over what's good about it first since that'll be quick.
The world is nice and large, it's huge. You can see many vast different environments, outposts, towns, caves, dungeons, tunnels and what have you. So you'll have a big place to explore like a giant playground.
The levelling pace in the game is decently quick, it's fast, you'll gain a level from just doing quests, and you'll never have a shortage of quests. If that's still too "slow" for you go do PvP at level 10 and beyond. Doing PvP grants you an absurd amount of EXP for unknown reasons. Anywhere from 60% of your bar to 150% if you get 2 daily quests + the battle EXP itself. The PvP takes place like League of Legends' Dominion 5 control points, circular arena, spawn on either end, it's a literal copy and paste except you don't have 100ish champions to choose from and you're battling in 3 groups of 5 totalling a 15v15.
Sounds like chaos right?
Not really, you should know what to expect when there's only 5 classes in the game and what each of them have if you just create a character of each class and look at their skills, chances are you'll know exactly WHAT they do and how different each one you come across are(I'll give you a hint, they're almost ALL EXACTLY ALIKE... as you'll find out in the next section).
Not to mention there's NO LEVEL LIMIT in these matches, so you could be level 10 facing off a level 63. Where your measly 3-5 attacks and 4k hp go against some 9-10 different attacks&stuns&buffs with 14k hp. Brilliant. Of course you have similar teammates of that strength on your team but it's rather ridiculous. My experience there isn't biased, I've done it multiple times because it's lightning fast to level up in these matches so I can go back into the open world and 1 shot every mob my quest requires me to kill. It's just that I've felt the brunt of the stupidity in matchmaking or the fact that there's no restriction or a level range in PvP.
Character classes come in its stereotype form of archer(ranged dps), warrior(tank), rogue(melee dps), guardian(tankdps), sorceress(magicdps) and whatnot. Very familiar classes. And they're genderlocked, which isn't a problem to some but also a problem to others. So that's subjective (which I don't really care if they're genderlocked I'll play the class I want to play).
Each class breaks into two subclasses at level 10, so at level 10 you can choose a job upgrade basically and you'll have skills that work on top of your basic attacks that each and every single other class has. But don't worry somewhere along the way you get some skill page so you can actually choose the other path! Or choose the same path and get the skill you didnt' grab your first time through out of the 3 choices of skills you can pick with 2 picks and have your character be a static copy of its former self with 1 skill difference. Which leads me into...
Customization is extremely limited and seldom grants you any form of choice to make you unique. Out of every class you have 3 skills every tier of levels(so every 3-6 levels) to choose from. TO CHOOSE FROM. And out of that choice you get 2 of those 3 skills.
For example Level 30 you get a new skill, great. You choose 1 of the 3. 2 remain. At level 33 you get another choice 1 out of the 2. So there's only 1 skill you'll never get out of the 3. Because the next 3 skills unlock at 36.
Get the idea? Get the problem?
The problem if you didn't get it, is that EVERYONE ELSE WILL HAVE THAT.
By way of how the bard works the more songs you switch the more powerful your attacks become, so why you wouldn't pick up a song skill over the one that isn't is beyond me. Not only does that skill choice work better with party skills there's no reason to ever pick up the single solo-use skill when the class is designed for party, so you're basically shoehorned into one path unless you want to make yourself weaker in the long run.
This wasn't the only issue, the fact that you get a skill choice every FEW levels and not every level makes for a very questionable gaming integration for character growth and player accomplishment.
You only get that one choice every few levels, its like they took MMO creation practices over the past decade and removed more of the basics of gameplay and reward and makes the game feel like an unfinished half-assed product to be honest. Just look at the above picture and look at that part at the bottom next to the 2/2 on the skill categories. The lock says 30 then 36 for the next one over. That's a course of 6 levels so somewhere in there there's 4 levels where jackall occurs for your character.
There is a 2-3 level gap where you do nothing with your character except go for a massacre in the fields at the behest of some NPC who'll grant you the experience because you took out a few monsters' heads. I may as well have just stayed in the infinite dungeon hunting area and go for a spartan slaughter of 1000 men and report to the NPC with loads of quest items and bombard him until he drowns granting me a mountain of exp that'll skip me 9-11 levels ahead of my main quest line and then go back into it one shotting mobs pointlessly and tediously wondering why I have to go through this to unlock the other quests forcing me to question why the game is even structured this way to begin with.
The gameplay in the questing system is extremely monotonous, something you'd expect from MMOs in 2010 and under. Not in 2015. While the game was developed since 2010-2012ish it didn't seem like it did any research on what's out there already nor games taking different approach and succeeding and continually expanding. From my gameplay experience from levels 1-29, it has literally been:
Talk to NPC -> Kill X monsters OR Collect X quest items... OR SMASH SPIDER EGG which is literally COLLECT X QUEST ITEM except you don't get a quest item -> Talk to NPC -> Get redirected to another NPC at another area.
Okay I get that most MMOs of this type are like that, but seriously you do nothing BUT THAT. I don't mind a bit of repetition in tasks but if it's only one KIND of task that's a different story. If it was hey dodge all these projectiles or hey guard this NPC walking here BUT THERE ISN'T EVEN THOSE AND THOSE ARE IN MANY ALREADY AVAILABLE MMO'S.
I thought there'd be some sort of puzzle or challenge somewhere here or there, or a giant, or some world boss monster that'll wreck me. No there isn't. There is no sense of danger. Even certain quests that suggest you Party to take down a stronger foe, I really didn't need to party for them. A mob has about 600 hp at level 29. A party quest mob had 4k hp. I just drank potions and shot it down no problem without any struggle or near brink of death moments. It's BLAND.
The few dungeons you get every 5-10 levels are the only thing that are worth playing, but do you really want to grind 5-10 levels just for a salt sprinkle on the wound of mind rotting tedium just to experience it? (Please say yes, jk). Not to mention the later levels of looking for a party will only be griefing since no one wants to play those certain classes, which is hinted to me by people using megaphones/server shouts/area speakers to look for Bards level 60 and etc. which is why I went with a bard.
Character Aesthetics aren't any better, considering your classes are genderlocked, there's very little you can adjust about your character. Meaning the attribute of being unique is severely cut down having you look like everyone else in terms of gear. I've played genderlocked games(vindictus/c9/dragon nest) but they sure as hell don't have their characters looking anywhere alike from midway to end and that's WITHOUT real money $$$ outfits.
Inventory space is retardedly small and limited. I sure as hell will not shell out any real money for it and anyone who did I'm sorry you had to go through that. A good way to compare your inventory space is to compare it vs. the game world. Imagine if you were to travel the world collecting things to power up your weapons and gears, just bear with me in this imaginative hypothesis, and all you had was 54 slots to carry your things and a bank storage that is so cramped that even your 54 slots overwhelm its usefulness by a grand magnitude why then would you ever even go on this journey? You'll lose out on so many things be filled with regret or hate that you didn't prepare yourself better by giving yourself more bag space.
Seriously the game has gems that form into different tiers, and you have one type of gem for almost each kind of equipment slot. If I carried one high level gem of each type + a gear that I'm looking forward to equipping which obviously will pack up in later levels due to level grinding will take longer it will multiply FAST. Not to mention the potions, runes, quest items YES quest items take up inventory space and various other crap you'll be holding like food so you don't get a debuff from having high hunger.
I'm not sure what the deal with inventory space is with game companies. Seriously, gamers aren't so stupid where they wouldn't just make a copious amount of extra chars and accounts as mules, and I'm sure that makes the server database much more ugly to deal with and takes up more server space overall and being a junior programmer coding inventory space is literally setting up an array(fancy term for a LIST)that any non programmer can learn in 10 minutes.
It makes sense why some companies who give an insane amount of inventory space have people actually buying inventory space because they know they care. Path of Exile for instance, the devs literally stated more inventory space on cash shop is just so you don't make more chars and clearly stated yea you can circumvent that by making mule chars n accounts but its just an option to give players to support the game itself, THAT MAKES SENSE if they acknowledge it but I've played PoE and you don't need that extra inventory space you really don't, its just if you like to collect shit and make stupid builds. You can get by with the 3 massive pages of storage space they give every free account.
Strange enormous amount of CPU usage taken up by the game itself every so often. While this is more of a technical issue most of this is shown in the video footage below where an FPS meter is even on the top left, it goes and jumps from anywhere from 56-62 fps to random 10-20 fps from just rotating my camera around and sometimes even just STANDING there. I don't have anything running in the background because I'm busy making a review for gods sakes. Games like TERA and Vindictus don't even eat up as much suddenly(except Vindictus makes my computer randomly BSOD for unknown reasons),
I've ran the game on lower settings and the graphics makes Echo of Souls look like something out of a 2003 MMO so I'd rather not, even when not recording it always happens when switching from area to area or just starting combat. Not only that the game itself is massive for what it contains in gameplay.
It's a whalloping 7.74GB on the hard drive. Yea I get some of you have 1TB+ drives but that stuff adds up. There's a reason why some games don't take up so much space is because they probably have quality induced into it and good resource management. Think of texture sizing like this, a 1024x1024 texture is a bit of a standard resolution for mmo chars these days, but if they secretly stash like a 4096x4096 for a character that you see at the size of your thumb, that's like using gift wrap paper to cover a house for a fist sized rock. So I have no clue why the game files are so big. I recently played Skyforge and its only 300MB more than EOS, and that has more to do than this and overall looks more detailed.
If you're going to call the crap out on me that the game needs to be optimized then this is a great reason to stay the hell away from this MMO. If you're going to go gungho on that argument claiming that it is a glaring issue and a massive problem then this is the top reason why you shouldn't be playing this MMO if it "needs to be optimized." Because that is literally telling me the MMO does not have its shit together. Please be realistic.
Currency in the game is completely useless for the first... I don't know, 50 levels?. Gold for the most part doesn't seem to come into play at all for the first.. 29 levels I went through and sure as hell doesn't seem to apply until you're level 50+. How I know this is because I read the chat log where people are shouting random prices and also what the NPC sells for crafting materials at those levels. But the grind to 29 is already mind boggling.
I'm unsure of why this is even my level 29 armor is worth 1 silver. My stack of crafting materials is worth 20 silver because there's 20 units of it. It only suggests to me that whoever designed this might've structured this game to be a "tutorial" of sorts for the first X levels. And I don't want players to be treated like retards because that's just plain offensive.
There's a fine line with being treated like stupid in a subtle way vs. being treated stupid straight up in the face and in your face repeatedly. I can tolerate the former and I hate the latter and will only praise what is seldom found; an experience that challenges me. This game does both and doesn't challenge at all.
So that's really all there is to Echo of Souls, there's this Soul Buff thing but its somewhat convoluted and forgettable that it isn't worth your time to level it since you can activate it once every 2 minutes for 2 exp on it when it takes you about 87 uses to level it once assuming you have 172 of the souls of that type which will take you forever to grind out to obtain it unless you co-op purify with other people, and even then you might end up using those soul materials to craft Soul Expert crafting profession. Go figure.
Verdict: By way of charging people for founder packs given what the game has to offer it is a cash grab. The MMO itself doesn't lend to anything new on the market, if anything it's less than what's already out there and is missing a lot of basics and granting very few choices in terms of character development and uniqueness, I don't think this game will live longer than 2-3 years if it stays similarly the same.
If it does congratulations, there's more suckers out there than I expected. I won't even give this a number evaluation because it doesn't deserve it. A new MMO with half the features I've experienced in old MMOs chopped out and is more generic than the range of games I've played of similar type; Open-world MMORPG. Examples: TERA(free), Ragnarok Online 2(free), Guild Wars 2(b2p), SilkRoadOnline(free), Ragnarok Online(f2p/b2p/p2p), Revelations Online(free), there's more but I don't need to clutter this up any further. Literally any of these titles outdo this one by a mile. My soul is echoing, telling me to stop playing this madness. I gave it a chance played it to level 29, didn't experience anything different from level 1 to 29 apart from maybe 4 extra attacks.
As always comments are welcome! Please keep it civil among each other is all I ask thanks!