En Masse Entertainment and Bluehole Studios’s Tera has been available on PC since 2011, but only came to consoles today. Because this is a port, the focus of this review is mostly going to be on how the game holds up against more modern console MMOs, because that’s what we’re really asking ourselves. We already know if Tera is good or not, the question is more the state of the game in April 2018.
The biggest selling point for Tera on console (and on PC as well) is its active combat. Unlike most MMORPGs which have numbers-based combat, turn-based combat, or some sort of hybrid system, Tera is one of the few that are pure action combat. And that combat is incredibly fun. My first crack at Tera on console was supposed to be a short character creation and tutorial session, but I had so much fun slamming combos I ended up playing long enough to rack up a ton of levels.
Levelling in Tera doesn’t take particularly long. And its not like the levelling curve has been altered much. I’m not massively over-leveled for the quests I’m running, its just that Tera isn’t a never-ending grindfest of quests, so the leveling process was designed to be rather swift. Which means you pick up skills with incredible speed to add to your massive list of combos. Because Tera combat is combo city, having more skills to use makes you better at your class, which makes the combat more fun. Its a self-perpetuating cycle that sucks you in rather quickly. In fact, I’m a huge fan of Tera‘s combat system, and it is the one reason I kept logging in to the game.
Because, lets be honest here, the things I love about games are in-depth stories, fun combat, and female characters who don’t look like re-skins of Jessica Rabbit with massive hands and battle bikinis. Tera has really fun combat. However, the game’s story is pretty much your typical MMORPG garbage. Its so cookie-cutter, I only read the quest logs to read the best bits of bad dialogue out to my roommates. But hey, its an older MMO. Of course the dialogue and story aren’t that great. We didn’t expect good stories of MMOs in 2011. And even today, most people rank a good story pretty low on their expectations for the genre. I’m just a story nerd.
And then there’s the female characters. I’m almost certain the character design team consulted comicbook artist Rob Liefeld on female anatomy because the way women stand in Tera looks like they’re posing for a cover of Avengelyne. The running is so cartoonishly hilarious I refused to run anywhere. I’d either do that weird slink walk women do in video games, you know the one that’s 99% hip swing and 1% leg movement? I guess that’s supposed to be sexy, but its at least less ridiculous than watching a female character run in Tera. Because they don’t run, they flop around. Arms swinging wildly in some bizarre attempt at being “cutesy” that falls so far short it may as well be part of a clown routine.
You can’t even alter that with the character creation options, as you don’t get sliders to adjust most parts of your character. And the hands. Don’t get me started on the disproportionate hands. Or the battle bikinis.
Trust me, guys. No one wants to wear a plate armor thong. No one.
Yes, this has been the game since 2011, I knew this going in. I just underestimated how much unintentional comedy I’d get out of the game because of it.
One of the major problems of porting PC MMORPGs to console is the button mapping. You go from having a full QWERTY keyboard and mouse on PC to, well, 16 buttons or so on console – 4 right hand buttons, a D-pad on the left, two thumbsticks, right and left bumpers and triggers, and usually some kind of “start” and “option” buttons. Which is much less real-estate than most PC MMOs are built for. The easy way to get around this is to have console players flip through skill bars using a bumper, and Tera decided to go that route. The other is to limit players to a small number of mappable skills, which is not ideal but certainly workable.
Tera on console needed to solve the button mapping problem, and while their solution works, it means many skills aren’t directly mapped to your two-bar window, but instead require you to hit the same button again to do a different skill, based on a cool-down timer you can’t always see, but is often written out on the bottom of the screen rather than giving you a visual representation for the skill. The default button mapping was not my favorite, but you can tweak your keybinds and I absolutely recommend it.
The worst though is the chat box. Nothing has been done to make the chat box work on console, and so its rarely used. Which is not ideal in an MMO that works with a guild system. Its far simpler to be a solo player and speak to no one, because you don’t have a great way to chat in-game. And that’s possibly the saddest thing about the port.
Tera unfortunately shows its age in 2018. Especially the early content when starting the game out. That’s a problem with most MMORPGs when you pick them up years after launch, but Tera almost feels World of Warcraft levels of out-of-date between the cartoonish character designs, UI, and outdated graphics. Which is something of a shame. Because Tera is still a fun game to play.
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