Spiral Knights seems great, but lacks in plenty of places
Spiral Knights is an alright MMO, alright for free at least. It's definitely worth a try, seeing as how the initial pricetag is agreeable. For me, however, it's more of a social platform than a real kind of game. Allow me to explain as to why I see it as I do.Part 1: The Gear
Spiral Knight's selection of equippable gear is quite wide at first glance, there are plenty of different resistances and weaknesses to all kinds of armor, all of which can be interchanged at a moment's notice, but the variety is wasted upon especially superior gear that provides a kind of range that none other can provide. For example, if you were to choose between say, a Seraphic set or a Wolver set, the seraphic would give a damage buff equal to that of the wolver. However, the Wolver set gives a universal buff to swords, meaning that it does what the seraphic does, but can go beyond that, as well. It's armors like those that begin to break down the options available through common sense and unfair stats. Why anyone would go with an armor so selective versus an armor completely open-ended is beyond me, and most likely anyone else.
An even better case is when it comes to early-game bombers and bombers overall. Bombs themselves are fairly underpowered items when working up, so it's more likely people go Gunner or Swordsman, for better attack and whatnot. Bombers overall that strictly follow the bomber line can choose the Mad Bomber Gear, giving them amazing stats for bombs, but horrible defense. There's another armor that does this, surprisingly, but, get this, it does it for EVERY WEAPON.
Whoever decided that was a good idea must've thought pretty lowly of bombers, as it completely voids the Mad Bomber gear, allowing for sidearms and whatnot to be used in conjunction with bombs. All in all, the gear doesn't stop there, and most likely won't as the game progresses.Part 2: Updates
You'd think with the previously mentioned, they'd begin working on balancing armors and fixing things up, right? Hah, no. You want some costumes? Here's a few hundred. You want some reskins? Here's a box of 'em, have fun. Balancing the game is about as much of a lie as Santa. As while it's not real content, some people still love ripping open the new boxes and slapping whatever colorful paper that was inside right onto their character. I can understand dishing out some cash for a thing to make you look snazzy, but why feed a company more money when their game's pretty darn broken? I understand wanting to make the most out of the overpowered gear, but seeing one team of adventurers run into a dungeon all brandishing the same kind of gear is boring, stale, and just sad. There is no unique quality among players, no matter what little accessory they slap onto their armor, it's still the same cookie-cutter formula. I had more fun running into a dungeon with some close friends of whom we all chose oddjob gear, it was complex, it was different, it was confusing, and most of all, it was fun. Don't even begin on promised "updates" that hold new gear, as they delay for as long as they can. I'd get more in-depth with it, but I'll have to get back to you on that one. (Pun intended.)Part 3: The Monotony
So say you've finished the endgame, you've beat Vanaduke, heated your gear as far as you please, and have successfully reached the coveted rank of Vanguard. What's left? Apparently not much, if you don't have a guild, some good Spiral Knights friends, or anything immediately tying to it. The endgame leaves very little left, sure you have PvP, sure you have Blast Network, sure you might have guildruns, but why bother? PvP offers gear that has an alternative spin on some of your favorite (not-by-choice) weapons, with some stats made exceptionally worse, or some still a bit broken. But what's that to you? You've spent all this time grinding through repetitive missions for the things necessary to create your god-tier gear, so why bother struggling through all of that again? And don't try to play the card that PvP is interesting, it's usually the people with the broken gear using the broken swords. More often than not it's always Skolver wearing Strikers with the occasional Gunner or Snarbolax wearing Striker. Blast Network's just a bomberman port, playable by all skill levels no matter what, and to be fair, it's fairly fun. However, the lack of discrimination between skill levels can make it harsh on those who try it out, and more experienced players could potentially offset newcomers who'd like to begin playing as well.Part 3-2: The Monotony
Don't think it's just endgame, either, as the monotony can set in as immediately as when you first begin to start. The missions assigned to you to gain rank feel incredibly scripted and not as free as they could be. It feels more like a chore than anything else, and nowhere near as fun as the random generation of the Clockworks (Which seems to be, for the most part, swept under the rug.). The Clockworks now takes discovering on your own to find, which the game already doesn't reward, making it harder to want to do so. Missions are also more likely to have the boxes you need to find to use for the drop system to give you the main crafting materials that you need for better gear, so that's another hit against the Clockworks. If you find that grinding much to your distaste, don't worry, the online store will be happy to help, for the right price, of course. Online store not your cup of tea either? The Auction House sells them at prices only a "few" monotonous boss runs can pay for!I'm sure I could go on, but the review's already long enough as is.Overall
Spiral Knights is an okay MMO, not great under any means, but it's not horrible. The only shining light that keeps this game from a true dark abyss would have to be it's community. The community has it's fair share of mean customers and nice folk. You can find some pretty good friends, and some truly cool people on this game. All it takes is a little bit of chatting, and you've found one heck of a pal. The missions and so are more tolerable with a fun group, as the dulling world can take on a new sense of rejuvenation with good talks, funny dialogue, and crazy moments. This game is saved by it's community, whether it be a good or bad thing. I only ever come back to Spiral Knights more for the people than the actual game, truth be told.
All in all, Spiral Knights receives a 6/10 from me, for what it's worth. The game has alot to fix, and sadly, they haven't done much fixing. The experience can only really be fulfilled with friends, as going alone can dull the sense of wonderment you'll receive initially. I say you take some time out and find a little clique of sorts that you do things with, and you'll make it one great of an experience.