The Average Gamer
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TERA Review (PC)

Stupendously over-the-top “mammary-tronic” breasts are the first thing you’ll notice about TERA, the second thing you’ll notice are the wisps of armour pretending to offer some form of coverage – I have fairly lax  standards when it comes to the whole “female characters shouldn’t be hyper-sexualised” debate but even I was slightly surprised at how much tits and arse made it to TERA’s release version.

Whilst aesthetics should possibly be mentioned towards the end of a review, in this case, I’m definitely making an exception.

Luckily, this game doesn’t rest on its jiggly laurels and serves up a beautiful world with both familiar MMO concepts and ideas I’ve not seen used before, the most obvious innovation is what Bluehole Studio are calling “True Action Combat” – no more mindless standing in one place spamming 1,1,1,3,1,1,3,2,2! (oh Arcane Mage how I miss you).

Instead your foes will make life tricky by rolling, hopping, circling and generally trying to get out of the way – it’s similar to playing PvP without bastard Rogues stun-locking you 24/7. Thankfully, TERA does start you off gently with the earlier mobs not really requiring much co-ordination. Levelling up sees the fights becoming more complex, making the combat feel involved and ultimately more satisfying as an element of skill is needed to not end up thrashing around like a toddler on an ant’s nest. 

Group combat is equally engrossing with all party members needing to watch their step and not Hollyoaks. Priests have it a little harder as spells are cast on targets not party frames and directional abilities can be a little awkward to get in the right place. The challenge of playing a healing class in this way is appealing rather than off-putting and if I decide to cap a character it’ll be my Priest that’s first in line.

What’s your motivation for roaming the gorgeously overly-saturated lands of Arborea? That’d be quests then. No surprises there and no surprises in the mechanics either: go to hub, pick up quests, kill ten pigs, find wood, go back to hub, travel to next hub. NPC dialogue is amusing enough to make me actually pay attention, cult references will make you smile and snarky comments offset some of the more insipid aspects of the game. Story wise, it’s not great and it’s not bad… it does the job and moves you from one area of the world to the next with enough of a clue as to why you’re hunting flowers or slaying flocks of cute mobs.

So far, so good – a solid game offering an interesting take on combat with a not-too-intrusive story running alongside your genocidal urges. What else does TERA offer the roving adventurer? Only a gosh darn political system!

Players can campaign to become Vanarchs (elected officials) after jumping through a few hoops and should they win an election, actually get to have a say in the running of each Province. In practice this means they can adjust tax rates within a certain range, activate useful NPCs and earn the ire of fellow players by using the global announcement command. Whilst it’s not going to offer the Machiavellian scheming of Eve Online’s political system it’s definitely going to add something to the higher levels besides grinding dungeons.

There’s been a lot of thought and attention paid to smaller aspects of the game. Gathering resource nodes will grant you buffs. These are good enough to see groups of people roaming the countryside frantically mining before taking on a tough mob.

The campfire system allows you to share another tier of buffed improvements with anyone else who happens to be resting in the same spot. It’s these little touches that make TERA feel more like a complete world rather than scenery to pass through on your scramble to end-game.

Should you spend £40-ish on the standard download (including thirty days game time) or nearly half the price on the physical disk? Subscriptions are displayed in EUR but roughly convert at £10.00 per month or as low as £8.00 should you commit to a year. It’s a tough call. Had Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World not been on my radar or in my sweaty grasp the answer would have been a resounding “yes”, though not at the digital copy price. There’s not enough here to make me play it above everything else but I’ll definitely be subbing once I need something new to entertain my need for unrealistic breasticles.

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