TERA: Founder’s Pack Review

Tera as a complete product, was first released all the way back in 2011 by the Korean studio Bluehole, which is now known as the machine behind the highly popular, yet stagnating Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. And it took the developer in question seven long years to port this particular title onto consoles. And while most would agree that is better late than never, then the same cannot be said about Tera, as it is clear from the very first second that it is not a current gen game.

Tera, if you are not aware, is an MMO through and through. And the nature of the title does explain why it didn’t come to the last gen consoles. As it would be borderline impossible to port it one-to-one to either PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, as it is relatively too visually intensive. However, it is now 2018, and games – even MMOs, have change a lot since 2011. And unfortunately, Tera despite of its arguably long development window, have changed very little when it comes to its console form, and worst of all, it has aged rather harshly.

Visually, Tera might have been impressive back in 2011, however, it now has to stand up to other, much more advanced MMOs. And as you might have already guessed, it looks rather poorly in comparison to titles such as The Elder Scrolls Online. And yes, visuals are not everything when it comes to MMOs – and World of Warcraft proves that this is the case. But unfortunately, Tera’s age shows through more than just visuals, as it most of all is exposed through the title’s limited technical performance, and rather underwhelming execution.

Within the world of this particular title, it is not uncommon to come across hallow objects, through which you can simply clip, or even special effects which trigger within the said objects, so you can barely even see them. But worst of all is the pop-in issue, which is persistent throughout the game, and can ruin nearly all of the in-game scenic moments. And while you could argue that these particular issues are connected much more directly to the title’s overall quality than its age, then it has to be underlined that with the eight years which the developer had to iron them out – they simply should have been taken care of.

As you can see, Tera is incredibly underwhelming when it comes to its visuals and the technical side of things. However, despite of its rather limited visual façade, and lack of extensive interactivity within its environment, it still performs rather poorly. At the best of times, Tera runs at just under thirty frames per second, but in the case of Tera, good times don’t last. And cone they come to an end, the title in question turns into a mess of constantly dropping framerate – which commonly falls to the low teens – and it likes to soft lock and crash incredibly often.

While playing Tera, I have encountered dozens of soft locks, and nearly twice as many crashes. And certain activities which should have taken me minutes, if not seconds, haven taken me upwards of an hour. And that’s because my game was crashing every minute or so, whenever I have entered a heavily populated area, and this made completing a quest within the first major player hub borderline impossible – but I have prevailed. And looking back at Tera from the perspective of time it was more than worth it, as Tera, despite of its issues, is a rather excellent and enjoyable MMO.

There is no denying that some of Tera’s most vital features lack the highly important tender loving care. However, the same cannot be said about the mechanical side of the title – fortunately. And while Tera might have been created with PCs in mind, it has been translated onto consoles incredibly well. And it controls and plays better than the vast majority of pay-to-play, and free-to-play MMOs which are available on either PlayStation 4, or Xbox One.

Tera just like World of Warcraft, features rather intimidating character bar, which features a multitude of different skills and abilities. And while it may seem daunting at first, then it has to be underlined that it works incredibly well on consoles, despite of its rather intimidating looks. In-game, all your abilities are bound to face buttons, bumpers, and triggers. However, those only allow you to execute the most basic of abilities with a single press – but as you level up, and upgrade your skills, you will unlock brand new abilities which tie into those simple actions. For example, at the beginning of the game you’ll unlock an attack called whirlwind with the melee class, which carries out two aerial attacks. But as you press on, and reach level 20, the initially simple whirlwind can be turned into a combo of whirlwind, downward strike, annihilation, and precise incision – which can take a group of opponents within seconds.

One of the best qualities of this particular title is the empowerment which it provides the player with, as from the very first second, it makes one feel like he/she is not just a pawn, but a demigod. And while the difficulty scales adequately with your progress, it never feels overwhelming or unfair, and in turn it creates moments of pure excitement and elation. And those are further enhanced by the design of the rather imposing hostiles, and monstrous bosses which are simply breath-taking. And this is exactly where Tera reaches its highs, through which it can completely make one forget about its lows for a brief second.

Tera, as a title, could be easily compared to a rollercoaster ride, as it hits highs and lows, just as often and abruptly as some of the best thrill inducing, adrenaline trips. It welcomes one with an expansive and profound character creation suite, which allows the player to fully customise one’s character to his/her preference. But the incredibly fulfilling character creation is quickly followed by the introduction, which is plagued by bugs, glitch, and imperfections. However, the introduction is then followed by the semi-open world sequence which gives the player the taste of what’s to come, and that taste alone is enough to suck one in. But the second one gets a chance to get going, he/she is hit by the first hub, which is riddled with soft locks and crashes, which can completely shut down your console. And once this comes to a close, player is finally released into the open world, where the title is at its best.

If Tera was in an immaculate technical state, then it could be something truly special. As it shines incredibly bright, whenever it escapes its own horrors. However, no matter how badly it tries to escape them, they always come back to haunt it. And for every great combat encounter, you’ll get a soul crushing soft lock. And for every fulfilling boss fight, you will be served with a combat sequence which runs at a slower frame rate than a power point presentation. And because of that, the console version of Tera simply cannot be praised as much as its PC counterpart – if at all. But if  you want to see the current state of Tera for yourself, then you can easily download it for free on either PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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