Project Genom - A Very Early Alpha Look at a Futuristic MMO
ByDate: Oct 16 2016 Views:
Project Genom is a new MMO currently being developed that brings about a futuristic feel and different gameplay mechanics than most of us are used to. This is an early look at what it’s like now, but it is important to note that it is still being actively changed. As such, this should be taken as a preview of the style, rather than an exact look at what to expect with the finalized version. As of this writing, for example, character customization and the in-game shops are offline, so they will be looked at later.
An Immersive Experience
From the moment you log into the game, you are already immersed into the world around you. From the starting position, looking around, there are new icons to learn about, which represent things like interactive objects and little tutorial windows, which show up as mini videos and text. Unlike how these are handled in most games, however, the tutorials show up as little billboards that pop up as you near the objects, rather than as a text popup – and they also respond to mouse movements, as if you’re looking at a page within the game itself.
It’s at this point that you start to learn a bit about how the game works, and there is one flaw with the tutorial for some players (which is a huge bonus for others, like myself): it doesn’t spell out what you’re supposed to be doing. For example, when you get to the first door, it’s clear that you have to do something to open it, but what? You are able to find a laser cutter near the door, and the quest points out two latches you should be trying to open. Internally, you think that this means to go to each latch and use the “action” key (default is “e”) to open them with the laser cutter, but that isn’t working. Opening the inventory, you find a couple items you can equip, so you do. And you return to the latch to use it… nothing. Luckily, you see a tutorial that explains how to equip your weapon (a gun), find bullets, and load it up. Firing at the latch, you find out this is exactly what you needed to do.
Now, this setup, due to being all based on your own problem solving, can be a great asset or a horrible nightmare. The general path of MMOs has been to make things easier and spell everything out – this is so far different from that that players might just not take it too well. Especially if there are other, more difficult things you need to work out later. In any case, it is something to take into consideration if you’re not into trying to analyze what you should be doing. While most quests do appear to be straightforward, this is an early example of what just might not be.
Active combat is something more games have been moving towards, where you don’t target enemies, and instead actually aim your attacks at whatever it is you want to hit. The combat system within Project Genom definitely needs some work in this area. When you start fighting, you’re dealing with these little bugs that dash up to you, and you are unable to attack at point blank. Instead, it’s a battle of aiming a gun at multiple moving targets, while at the same time trying to keep moving backwards while they attack you. Using terrain (like standing on a box) helps out a lot here, but the system will hopefully make these battles a lot easier. As they are, they’re a bit annoying, to say the least. Especially with how many enemies you have to fight. Think of it as being like a FPS, but with constant backwards movement just so you can target your attacker.
Tons of Voiceovers
When you talk to NPCs, it’s like they’re alive. You aren’t dealing with just a lot of text to read, but you can hear them. And they sound great, too – it isn’t shoddy voice acting, you can actually feel their troubles as they talk. Of course, text does come with this as well, so if you just want to read, that’s possible too. There’s not enough to fully examine how much voice acting there is later on in the game, but so far, there’s been quite a bit.
On the Looks
Despite being an indie game, the graphics so far have been pretty decent. Introduction videos to the game show much better graphics in other areas, but at least for the starting area, they’re fairly tame. That said, when I arrive at places that look a lot better, comparison images will definitely be posted!
A Game to Watch
Project Genom is very different from other MMOs, and looks to be on the right track. Keep in mind that it is currently in its Alpha state, so it has a lot of work to be continued, and systems and looks are going to be tweaked along the way. If you want to get involved with the game while it’s still being developed, this can be done through Steam Early Access here. And if you want to learn more about the game, stay tuned – I’ll continue coverage as I make my way through the available content!