[Review] The Chronicles Of Spellborn

Platform: PC
Developer: Spellborn
Publisher: Acclaim
Engine: Unreal Engine
Gameplay Modes: Multiplayer
Website: spellborn.acclaim.com

The MMORPG genre has spit up a few original ideas not so long ago(Tabula Rasa, EVE Online), but nothing too original. Almost every attempt to break from the typical gameplay results in an almost immediate failure. Most developers loose too much resources in developing the game, and the game just isn’t successful enough. Unfortunately, The Chronicles Of Spellborn suffered that same fate.

Killing swine is a tough job.

So why am i writing this? Simple – the game went free to play. Automatically making it one of the best free to play MMO’s out there. If you compare TCOS(The Chronicles Of Spellborn) to any free-to-play online rpg, you will find it amazing. But, if you compare it to any retail MMORPG you will find it.. amazing. Wait, what?


The first thing that comes to your mind when you first run TCOS is wow! The game blows your mind within seconds. From the great character customization system, to the incredible battle system, which is the best one i’ve ever seen in an MMORPG.

Brave words, you say. Can i back it up. I’ll try to explain the battle system as simple as possible – everything happens through your skilldeck. It’s the place where you place and select skills while in battle. Once you have selected a skill from the skilldeck you simply press the left mouse button and your character will cast/use it. Nothing out of the ordinary. But wait – the skilldeck system isn’t so simple. First, it’s made up of tiers(minimum 2, maximum 6) which are used to place skills. Once you cast a skill from a tier it automatically scrolls to the next tier(see where this is going?). The key is to place the key skills at the key spots of each tier and place them perfectly, so that you have a convenient skill on each tier. But wait – there’s more. The game has an FPS like targeting system – no auto atack, no nothing. That makes TCOS quite the action game if you know how to handle it. A simple test shows that it’s entirely possible to kill an enemy without loosing any hp. This would require lots of effort on your account – lots of jumping, running, evading and so. Of course you can just do things RPG style standing in one place and getting hit, while hitting. Oh, wait – there’s more. The battle system also includes chain combos that, if done right can result in a pretty solid bonus and can turn the entire battle. Ok, that was a long explanation for sure. But the battle system of this game is just so complex and follows the golden rule of arcade gameplay – easy to learn, hard to master. It requires a strategic thought not only using  your skills, but arranging your skilldeck.

Bye, bye life..

But a battle system isn’t everything in an RPG. The game has to have a solid rpg system to back everything up. Fortunately, the RPG system in TCOS is just as good as the battle system(they are both linked in a perfect synch). At the end everything comes down to your stats and how well you’ve arranged your skilldeck. The game has  3 attributes in total – Body(equivalent to strength, but also increases Rune Affinity), Mind(equivalent to intelligence but also increases Spirit Affinity) and Focus(equivalent to agility but also increases Soul Affinity). Of course each class depends on a different attribute. But we’ll talk about classes later. The battle system also has 3 main states – Physique, Morale and Concentration. The first one affects Movement Speed, the second one – Damage Output and the third – Skill Rotation speed and atack speed. The game uses two types of leveling systems – Fame Level which is the equivalent to your average leveling system seen in every mmo – you gain exp and level up – hurray. The second one is called PeP and stands for personal expirience points. Each time you defeat someone or complete a quest you gain both fame and personal expirience points. What the PeP does is enhance your Attributes and and shifts your default Base Level for State Ranks of all three State Bars up by one rank. The PeP has a maximum of 5 levels and eventually decreases. Here is a list of all the effects, depending on the PeP level:

• PeP Rank 0 – No effects.
• PeP Rank 1 – Raise all Attributes by 1 and gain 1 additional rank Base Level
• PeP Rank 2 – Raise all Attributes by 2
• PeP Rank 3 – Raise all Attributes by 4 and gain 1 additional rank Base Level
• PeP Rank 4 – Raise all Attributes by 7
• PeP Rank 5 – Raise all Attributes by 11 and gain 1 additional rank Base Level

Everything is chained together so, if you know what you’re doing, you can have a level 5 Adept that can easily take on 2 Level 5 Adepts depending on your PeP, attributes, states and all this crap. Ok, enough statistics.

The skill book.

Now let’s talk about the character classes. You have 3 archetypes that specialize in different elite classes called disciples. The base classes are standard – Warrior, Spellcaster and Rogue. Once you reach level 5 you can select a disciple. The warrior ca be either an Adept, a Blood Warrior or a Wrathguard. The spellcaster – Ancestral Mage, Rune Mage and Void Seer. As for the rogue he can advance in either a Death Hand, a Skinshifter or a Trickster. Each class is well balanced – there is no weak and strong.

Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper.

What’s next? Oh, right – Story. Spellborn has a solid lore behind it. Basically the story tells us of a revolt from the enslaved humans that ended up ripping through the world. Five centuries later, the remaining human population awakened – the world had changed. The game is post-apocalyptic fantasy, with a dark setting. The world of The Chronicles of Spellborn is rich, to say the least. Humans go through their daily chores, beasts roam the woods and wastelands.. You get the picture. I think now it’s the time to mention that the PvP(well, it isn’t but i will 😛 ) is amazing. As for the quests and content  – the game has packed and incredible amount of quests, enemies and a large database. Ok, moving on.

I’m a looker!

The graphical side of the game left me confused.. The character models could use lots of work since some of the look horrible. Surprisingly others look really good. But that is all compensated from the outstanding design and look of the environment. The armors and weapons are also greatly designed.

The sound and especially the background  music is outstanding. I’ll just mention that Within Temptation have composed a couple of songs for the game. 🙂 I’ll end this article by saying this – The Chronicles Of Spellborn is one amazing MMO that can easily crush every free to play MMO and a large part of the Pay2Play ones. The game is just so original, so deep and makes you want to play more and more. If you’re an MMO fan – don’t miss out. It’s free.

Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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