I’ve covered many Linux titles over the years and given particular attention to the MMORPG genre since it’s probably the only genre which I return to out of preference. Whilst I find myself with ever-decreasing time to dedicate to arguably the most time-consuming gaming genre, I do take every opportunity to review new discoveries when I can.
Ryzom is not a new game, it was first launched in September 2004 as a Windows binary, however now the code is open source, it finds itself on a Linux platform. Before anyone worries about having to compile source, there is a generic Linux binary which can be downloaded. Coming in at around 1.3gb its not a large file and merely requires being unpacked to the location of your choice.
Before you continue with this review, I must point out that Ryzom, whilst free to download (and currently with a 21 day free trial) it is a subscription based game which for UK players costs around £7 per month. With that in mind this review is based on the free trial, so lets continue on and discover what Ryzom has to offer.
Ive included a few screen shots to show you level of polish that Ryzom offers. The graphics put me in mind of Morrowind & Avatar rolled into one and full fx settings were achieved on relatively low specs and low consumption of system resources. Ryzom happily ran on my “desktop cube” whilst I was able to enjoy surfing/irc client without any disturbance with my experience. A testament to Linux or Ryzom or both? – I’ll let you decide.
Creating your character is simple enough, there four races where you can play either male or female. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. In addition you can choose which skill set your character favours although that is not set in stone. The four races you can choice from I would best describe as 2 human types, 1 dwarfish type and something that has a passing similarity to the Eldar from Warhammer 40k.
There are four main “disciplines” as such and unlike some other MMORPG’s you are not limited to your initial choice of profession – mix and match, if you want. Ryzom uses a points system which you can spend on training, to give yourself new skills. For the magicians amongst you there are plenty of spells to inflict on your enemies! and theres a plethora of looting, harvesting and crafting in-between!
Graphically this this probably the most attractive Linux RPG I’ve seen to date. The game is very easy to get into and its a very polished product. Do I think that its worth the subscription fee? Yes, although I would say that I would have preferred the game to be more “traditional” in its RPG design, ie Dwarfs, Elves, Humans, castles, dungeons et al, however the storyline and world offers something a little different from your average RPG game. Ryzom is best described as being “science fantasy”.
It would be nice if Ryzom was completely free (after all, who doesn’t like free?) but the cost of the game is minimal considering the amount of fun you will get from the title. The slightly “alienesque” twist and imaginative game world give it a different slant to other RPG’s available. Give the 21 day trial a go!
So the question is, will I be registering an account? – I will be soon due to the investment of time a game like this requires (and the fact that I’m still playing Auteria). Once I have Auteria out of my system I would fully expect to subscribe and heartily recommend you give the 21 day free trial a go and see for yourself.
The test machine for Ryzom was an AMD Athlon II Quad Core, 750gb HD, 3gb of DDR3 ram, Nvidia Gforce 9200, running Sabayon 5.4
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