I've been shaking off the urge to write a review for the F2P MMORPG, Rift, for about a week now, purely because I wanted to write one that did it justice. I'm a little under 200 hours into this game at the time of this review, but despite that, I've barely scatched the surface.
I'll start negative. Rift isn't original, I mean sure, the Rift aspect is, but other than that it's pretty much filled with the same content you'd expect from an MMO. Quests that are uncreative, grinding to level and lots of walking, for the most part. So at this point you might be asking yourself why would you play Rift?
Well, in short, Rift does what other MMOs do, but better. The only exception to this, in my view is the spell effects in game are lacking, they feel a little washed out, but everything else, from killing monsters to presentation is absolutely crisp, responsive and highly polished. The scenery is gorgeous, you'll often find yourself stopping to take screenshots and admire the landscape, and even the monsters. Every area has a totally unique atmosphere and feel to it, each crawling with unique monsters waiting to rip your face off. This brings me to difficulty. Rift isn't easy, at least not compared to other MMOs. The monsters and combat are a lot less forgiving, death comes with a penalty and continous deaths with permantly penalize your stats until you visit a healer. This is a good point though, it makes the grinding aspect of the game more enjoyable, because your attention is focused solely on the game in nail biting moments. Look away for even a few seconds and you could come back to find your body laying on the floor surrounded by dragons.
Rift features a huge amount of content. The map is huge, there are several islands to travel, hundreds and hundreds of quests and a huge range of monsters to be killed by. Raids, Chronicles, Rifts, Hunt Rifts, Bounty Hunting, Warfronts, Instant Adventures, Dungeons and so on. To give a perspect on the amount of content, I list eight game types, in just one, for example Dungeons, there is about 40 dungeons in Rift ranging across across levels from 1 - 60. Once you hit 60, it isn't over. You can prestiege and the game introduces a second XP bar for planer attunement, which unlocks new abilities and skills.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a guild on my first day of playing Rift, and I've stuck with it ever since. Joining a guild, working together to do guild quests and form raids/events is where I have the best fun, as I think a lot of people do also. You're able to completely customize your guild to represent and battle others, all the while earning points that contribute to the leveling tree in the guild. This too unlocks perks such as bonus xp, better loot drops, faster health regeneration, teleporting to guild members and so on.
For those of you who may be collectors, don't worry, Rift has a HUGE amount of collectibles in-game, named "artifacts". Artifacts are found around the map, either by exploring or by looting monsters and/or chests. Rift encourages exploration, if you can see it, chances are you can go there. You'll be searching for these hidden artifacts for hours and hours, and when you finally do get the complete set for a particular catagory, you get rewards. Rift always rewards you for your work, and it rewards well.
Professions in Rift are quite in-depth, there's enough to keep you digging away for hours, looking for the materials and crafting the items you need to level. The leveling doesn't take too long, there is 375 levels per skill, currently I've managed to achieve this in Fishing, which took about 30 hours or so, just to give a perspective. There is two types of professions; gathering and crafting, both of which tie into one another. You'll be given useful hints and tips as you progress, suggesting which receipes do craft and for what reasons. There is currently about ten professions, give or take, which include: Minning, Butchering, Fishing, Survival, Outfitting, Foraging, Armoursmithing, Weaponsmiths and so on. All the reciepes and materials you craft can either be used, traded or sold either to NPCs are stores or on the player economy driven Auction House.
This game is ENTIRELY free to play, from level 1 to collecting every item, every piece of armour and maxing every skill. There is no restrictions and no cut out content. There is a store, you're able to purchase some items through real money. This is more of a boost, the items can be obtained in-game and no real world purchases are neccesary or required in any way. Spending credits earns loyalty points, which the more you spend, the more you earn. These unlocks are only available via the loyalty system, but can still be obtained absolutely free. There is an in-game item called "Rex", which you can purchase with game currency, then exchange it for both credits to spend in the store, as well as loyalty points to earn items. This means you can obtain everything in Rift, absolutely free.
As far as MMOs go, this one is one of the best. It's free, it's filled with content and it's crisp in every aspect. I highly recommend you give this a go, it's a little slow to start off, but you'll find yourself hooked and playing daily, enjoying every second of it.
9.5/10 - A fantastic MMO that achieves everything it sets out to do in a high quality fashion.
-0.5 for the lacking spell visuals, it's minor, but noticable.