March 31, 2023

When Tower of Fantasy (ToF) by Hotta Studio first dropped on August 11 (Malaysia time), I wrote an article about it just about raving concerning the free-to-play sport. At that time, my playtime was barely an hour or so, and I used to be excessive on the hype. 

However I’ll be sincere—since then, I hadn’t felt that inclined to maintain taking part in. Serious about it now, I simply wasn’t that invested within the characters or storyline (but), one thing respectable gameplay can’t make up for me. 

Over the weekend, although, I made a decision to offer it one other shot. This time, I attempted it out on the PC, as a result of I actually couldn’t bear to delete any extra apps (cough, Genshin Influence, cough) to make room for added content material. 

Earlier, my managing editor, Sade (die-hard Genshin Influence enjoyer), had tried the sport on PC too and gave just a few scathing remarks about it. 

Based mostly on critiques on-line, it looks as if ToF, very like many different video games, has been a hit and miss relying on private choice. 

Some describe the sport as having a “slight jank that’s exhausting to miss”, whereas others say it’s “really one thing particular”, and in a great way. 

So, regardless of Sade’s reducing phrases, I blocked out her critiques and delved again into the sport with a hopeful outlook (warning: minor spoilers forward).

First, a rundown on the sport 

An open-world journey roleplay sport, ToF’s plot is one which we’ve heard earlier than (most likely throughout quite a lot of media). 

The primary character, whom you may customise, loses their reminiscence within the opening sequence and finds themselves in a shelter known as Astra. 

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Right here, we shortly meet Shirli and her brother Zeke. Some misfortune ensues, and Shirli overloads on Omnium, a product of human folly and greed that turns residing issues into zombies (or aberrated creatures, as this sport calls it). 

Aberration is rampant within the cyberpunk, dystopian world of Aesperia, and suppressors assist hold the aberration at bay, although Shirli’s couldn’t deal with the overload, therefore her illness later.

However excessive above the shelter rests Hykros, the place the nouveau riche reside. For no matter motive, these people get to reside free from the hazards under.

The individuals in Hykros reside good

Difficult this established order is a insurgent group known as Heirs of Aida, a gaggle that Zeke joins after Shirli grows ailing. 

In some way already tremendous hooked up to this sibling duo, the principle character units out with somewhat malfunctioning and lovable good robotic, Mi-A, to search out Zeke and rescue Shirli. With that, the true Tower of Fantasy story begins to unravel. 

Admittedly, somewhat worse than I remembered 

I hate to say it, however after a considerably partaking begin, the sport began to get somewhat too uninteresting somewhat too quick. The intro that I simply summarised was sluggish but had no correct build-up. 

As a lot as I personally discover Shirli to be lovely, the sport doesn’t do an excellent job at fostering an actual friendship between our character and the others. We’re supposed to simply naturally be concerned in Astra’s drama, for no motive apart from… kindness, possibly?

Permit me to attract a fast comparability to Genshin Influence. In HoYoverse’s hit sport, I instantly felt a way of kinship with the characters as a result of I knew their ambitions and (some) reasoning behind their actions from the get-go.

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However with Zeke and Shirli, apart from the brother’s possessive streak over the sister, I couldn’t actually inform what it’s that drives them as individuals. 

Initially, they appeared to simply be… current in Astra with none actual function. Overlook difficult the established order, they didn’t even appear to be involved with simply bettering their very own lives within the first place. It wasn’t till Shirli grew ailing that issues have been put in movement.

On prime of this, I discovered sure cutscenes have been pointless and the voice traces had begun to really feel stale (Zeke’s monotonous voice particularly grates on my ears). 

Paired with the truth that you may’t skip dialogue till the textual content absolutely performs, the “skip” button I normally keep away from is beginning to look increasingly more interesting.

A minimum of it’s a deal with for the eyes

There’s additionally this inconsistency with the principle character, whereby generally they’d converse, and generally we’re prompted to pick the reply (not a number of alternative, even) they usually don’t voice the traces in any respect. I’m guessing the voice actor didn’t report these traces? 

One other factor was that I actually disliked taking part in on the PC. This stunned me, as a result of I’m normally 100% a PC sort of woman. 

I’m undecided if it’s as a result of my laptop computer couldn’t deal with it, however the sport ran fairly badly on my laptop computer, which handles Genshin Influence simply effective, by the way in which.

I’ll clarify extra concerning the pitfalls of the gameplay later, however one of many largest issues that rubbed me the improper means was the characters’ animations within the cutscenes. 

This didn’t occur on cellular, however on the PC, the characters’ idle animation throughout dialogues would immediately glitch out, making it so jarring to expertise. It instantly pulls me away from the immersion, and there’s nothing I can do about it. 

It takes effort to understand it, however might be sort of price it

As soon as I made a decision to offer the principle quest a break and do some mild exploring, I rediscovered the allure of the sport. 

ToF does the open world factor fairly nicely, giving gamers fairly the plethora of issues to discover. I’m reminded of how a lot I just like the design of the world. Plus, I actually must commend how the builders made every NPC so distinctive and enjoyable to take a look at. 

I like Mrs. Taylor’s design. Have a look at the canine she’s holding. And her sass! (I didn’t even purchase something from her.)

Total, the cyberpunk atmosphere is so charming, despite the fact that the world constructing is… somewhat contrived, to say the least. 

That is most blatant within the loading screens the place the sport vomits a piece of textual content concerning the situation of the world. 

The sport additionally throws this lengthy video (that hilariously seems to be like an previous film with my cellphone’s dimensions) that’s primarily a trailer to the principle battle of the sport—which is the standoff between Hykros and the Heirs of Aida. 

Have a look at these dimensions

I might’ve most well-liked if it have been extra seamlessly built-in into the plot, quite than simply proven to us within the type of an Heirs of Aida PR video. However I’ve to say, the dialogue in that video was good—that speech would get me to hitch their trigger. 

After this, when you lastly perceive the premise of the sport, issues begin to look higher. Making it to Hykros has additionally made me far more to delve again into the sport. Regardless that the plot is somewhat generic, I’m excited to see extra of the world. 

A second of appreciation for the fight 

Surprisingly, the fight on the PC feels trickier than on cellular. It doesn’t fairly snap to the close by enemy, however as an alternative simply instantly assaults no matter’s in entrance of the character. This added layer of issue may attraction to some, however I discovered it to be irritating at greatest. 

That apart, the number of weapons we now have in our arsenal is thrilling. The relics, which embrace issues like a Missile Barrage and a Jetpack, are enjoyable whenever you bear in mind to weave them into your gameplay, and the Phantasia perform is attention-grabbing, too. 

Phantasia is a phenomenon that happens whenever you do an ideal dodge from an assault. When activated, the world slows down and your different weapons absolutely cost, so when switching to them they launch a robust assault. 

Combating this huge man is fairly enjoyable

It’s an additional layer to the fight, which is new and refreshing. I like that there’s a bit extra technique and ability to it, even when meaning I suck extra. 

Most lately, after pulling the Pummeler with the gacha system, I’ve been having fun with utilizing the large previous icy hammer. However I can’t wait to check out extra weapons, weirdly sufficient. 

I actually like heavy weapons these days—much less clicking motion and extra assault per hit, what’s to not love?

I acquired the primary style of the turret gun the sport lets us use within the fateful struggle the place Shirli went down. It’s exhilarating to have the ability to maintain down a button and simply blast away enemies. I’m glad pleasant hearth isn’t on, although, as a result of Shirli would’ve died earlier with my purpose. 

Hotta desires me to remain 

When logging again into the sport after my quick break, I used to be shocked by the insane quantity of rewards ready for me. I felt very appreciated by the sport and very like an early adopter when showered with all these presents. 

It says “to each wanderer, staying with the Tower of Fantasy”

Like others, the sport additionally affords compensation for upkeep and varied points. 

There are even rewards for hitting all these milestones

Talking of different video games although, one can’t assist however nonetheless draw a comparability to the opposite wildly standard Chinese language sport, Genshin Influence. It’s simply how the leisure business is, I suppose.

There’s no query that Genshin Influence does provide a smoother, extra refined expertise. The graphics and animation and even storytelling are inarguably extra polished. It’s had nearly two years since its international launch to get to this stage of high quality, in spite of everything.

Nonetheless, from what I’ve seen up to now, ToF has the potential to return into its personal sooner or later. For my part, a sport is greatest performed when it’s standard. 

An even bigger neighborhood normally means extra and higher content material surrounding it, and I feel as soon as that occurs, ToF will turn into a extra partaking and thrilling world to romp about in. 

However, I don’t hate the sluggish burn I’m experiencing with ToF proper now. Generally, good issues simply take time.

  • Be taught extra about Tower of Fantasy right here.
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