For the past few weeks I’ve been heavily playing Sony’s new MMORPG offering, Free Realms. I’ve been working on a review for here for a while, but had refrained on posting it until I had confirmation that the NDA was lifted. Tonight, while wandering through the forums, I read that they lifted the NDA on April 22nd, although they really didn’t make a lot of noise about it. I also found out that they are now going to launch on this Tuesday the 28th, after just under two weeks of a single round of closed beta. I was stunned, and can only imagine that the people behind the Vanguard launch are making the decisions. That said, what follows is a review from the prospective of both a long time gamer who has played nearly every MMORPG that has come down the pike, including beta testing launched and shelved products, and also a father of a pair of pre-teens, who are clearly this game’s target market. If you’re not interested in the long breakdown, here’s a one sentence summary:
My family took my Mom out for dinner on Mother’s Day. My Mom, my wife and our kids, my brother, my older sister and her kids and my younger sister with her son all gathered to celebrate motherhood in the best way possible – eating food and not making Mom cook or do dishes afterwards.
We met at a nice steakhouse and the meal was fantastic. The conversation was pleasant and typical. Until the nerd-fest broke loose.
[ToonTown] It was my son’s birthday recently and he asked if I could set up ToonTown for him to play another month. I figured I would, even though I had a bad taste in my mouth from the extra steps I had to do in order to cancel it last time.
I logged in and set up a subscription for the account. I hit submit and it sits there for about 5 minutes. Finally I get a message telling me to call a toll-free number for assistance. OK, nevermind – I’ll just make a free 3-day account for him and try the subscription after that expires. Three days later, same problem. They accept PayPal, so I try to pay with that hoping for a better result but I have no such luck. So, I make the call.
[ToonTown] My kids have been playing TT for a few months now. As a responsible parent, I had to try it out first to make sure it was appropriate for them. OK, I’ll admit I wanted to check it out anyway. I found a few things in the game rather appealing.
In TT, you can wander around the city streets without fear of bad guys for the most part. However, if you get too close to one, combat will begin. Combat is turn-based and pretty simple. You pick which attack (called gags) you want to use and which bad guy (called cogs) to attack, assuming more than one cog. As you use various gags, you gain skills in that type of gag. When the skill reaches a certain point, you will get a better gag (more damage) in that same line. You can get new types of gags by doing missions for various NPCs.