Edengrad is the product of a solid attempt to fuse together everything great about Runescape, Fallout 4, and World of Warcraft into a single, ultimate package. Although the dream behind this game is no stranger, it must be approached cautiously, for building something so jam-packed with content is next to impossible for a small development studio. Edengrad is so ridiculously ambitious, it is no doubt setting itself up for failure. Luckily, we don’t need to baselessly speculate on Edengrad’s fate, as I have played the game for quite a few hours. Let’s dive in.
When you first enter the world of Edengrad, you will immediately notice the graphics aren’t the best, and the game isn’t optimised very well. Objects and NPCs are also sprawled about messily. This isn’t what you want for a first impression, but it’s excusable. You begin in an underground bunker and proceed to talk to a few folks about backstory lore, learning how the world has been rampaged by nuclear radiation and it’s your job to go out and run errands for vault-dwellers. Through this, I had a sneaking suspicion I’d heard this same exact tale before, *cough* Fallout. So after a brief tutorial, you’re thrown out into the wilderness with a rusty axe and a backpack full of sticks.
You discover the apocalypse turned Earth’s surface desolate. Mutant animals roam about, soldiers unwillingly patrol the dusty desert. I believe the game takes place in Arizona, but it looks like your stereotypical futuristic wasteland out of Mad Max. The game offers both first and third-person modes, and I enjoyed both depending on the situation. When exploring or traveling, first-person mode made the experience less boring through realism. In any other scenario, I switched to third-person to see my character’s actions and full surroundings.
While Edengrad is advertised as non-linear, it still possesses the usual mix of streamlined story quests and optional side-quests. However, you are allowed to go about as you please and explore the world, or maybe develop some of the many skills available to choose from. Similar to those in Runescape, many of the skills here are non-combat, such as cooking, mining, building, farming, or woodcutting. As these skill trees are upgraded, new items or abilities are gradually unlocked. I enjoyed this aspect of Edengrad more than anything else, since I often enjoy taking a break from fighting once in a while. Having the freedom to choose your craft is always welcome in my book.
Combat is nothing special, although its skill tree is unnecessarily complex with somewhere around 100 options. Enemies are balanced enough, but killing them only requires a few uninteresting left-clicks. Surprisingly, the developers opted to throw guns into the game too, although I was unable to locate one. It’s unusual to see a wealth of primitive melee weapons alongside high-tech firearms. I’m intrigued to see how this will play out when the game fully releases and players possess a large variety of weapons.
You may have noticed that I have yet to mention Edengrad is actually an MMO. Despite this fact, I did not encounter a single living soul in the game. This is an extremely dangerous situation for Edengrad, a game that relies heavily on an active player base to be enjoyable. Without players, there is no economy, faction warfare, town creation, group questing, or strategy building — all key features that Edengrad hopes to provide. I can definitively say Edengrad will be disappointing as a “single-player” experience. By the time I felt familiar enough with the game, I had completely forgotten it was an MMO.
I believe Edengrad simply is biting off more than it can chew. Each new update brings about a massive amount of content, but none of it is fleshed out. Throwing in tons of low-quality features that have shown to be widely popular in similar games just makes Edengrad an overly complicated pileup. The game seems to be stuck in a cycle where it is begging for new players with hollow features, but once the players arrive, they find out Edengrad is a lonely and incomplete place. That’s not to say this game cannot recover. Edengrad already has the framework in place, it just needs to be immensely filled out. This undertaking is easier said than done, but if it can be fulfilled in preparation of a full release, Edengrad may be the next MMO king. We’ll see if Edengrad can do the impossible.