Last played: 2014
Experience: Very Minimal
You can get my fuller review of Swordsman over here – but does that just sound weird right off the bat? I mean, I know we have way too many games with “Online” or “World of” in the titles, but just plain “Swordsman” doesn’t sound like a game to me. I think you could come up with something a little better and still original that sounded like a game, like Swordsman of Honor or Path of the Swordsman or something.
As you can tell by my tone, both in the last paragraph and in my review, I’m pretty much done with trying to talk nice about games like Swordsman Not-Online-But-It-Actually-Is-Online-Whatever. As I said yesterday, I get that there are people who like these kind of games, but I also said that a game needs something to stand out. “Chinese martial arts” isn’t enough, in my opinion, because most people who claim to like that kind of stuff probably saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon once and that’s about it.
Even the list of “Features” on the game’s website makes it look like nobody’s trying to hard to differentiate Swordsman from the hundreds of other MMOs out there. The site says Swordsman has “Classes, Skills, Story, and Guilds.” Ooh, there’s something you don’t see every day!
It might have some cooler stuff later down the road as you level, but that’s nearly impossible for any MMO reviewer to cover. Yes, I know it’s the job of a reviewer to even review the crappy games, but MMOs make it nearly impossible. First, most MMOs by their nature expect you to get a long ways into the game before you do the “fun stuff.” This is a horrible practice and needs to stop, now. Second, being that they are multiplayer online experiences, getting into a game in alpha or beta means that you’ll have fewer people to do stuff with and truly experience the game as it was intended. I can soldier through a bad single-player game long enough to get a really good feel for it, but too many MMOs don’t even let you see their best parts in time to get a proper review. That’s insane.
In short, I felt a little bad about giving what I thought was a really robust reviews/previews for Swordsman, but they pretty much brought it upon themselves by both making the game a lousy early experience and insisting on the “look at us now so we get lots of press while we’re still trying to sell pre-release packages” mentality. Neither issue is exclusive to Perfect World’s games, but it’s almost as if PWE knows it’s going to tank and is trying to get as much out of it as quickly as it can.
That’s probably a little cynical, and it’s generally the case that even bottom-of-the-barrel MMOs made by big-name companies survive for quite a while. I don’t wish ill on Swordsman Sorta-Online, but I won’t be sad to see it go, either.