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The Saga of Ryzom PC CD-ROM Official Website

Published by Nevrax
Developed by Nevrax
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99 (Includes 1 months play)

We haven't looked at that many MMORPG's here at Deaf Gamers. There's no particular reason for this it's just happened that way to be honest. In some ways it's an awkward business attempting to review a MMORPG because at the time of release they are seldom the finished article. More often than not you'll regularly be installing updates to fix issues that crop up from time to time and in only a few months after the games release the game can be a completely different experience. There is also the time factor involved with reviewing such games. You need a good month of constant play to really have a true picture of what the game has to offer which as any reviewer will tell you just isn't possible. Nevertheless it is possible to get a feel for the game in the time that we have available and our experience has been fairly positive.

The Saga of Ryzom is set on the planet of Atys. The inhabitants of Atys are the Primitive Tribes, the Atysian forces and the four Homin peoples. Your character can be any of the four homin races. These are the Fyros, the Zorais, the Trykers and the Matis. The Fyros are bold warriors who reside in the deadly deserts whose society is built on a code of honour. The Zorais are mystics from the dark and hidden jungles. The Trykers are a small, dwarf-like homin race. They are excellent explorers and inventors and above all they are peace loving. Finally the Matis are heirs of a bygone monarchy from the haunted woods. This elf-like race are both romantic and conquering. Atys was once a peaceful and organically rich planet, that was until the Fyros inadvertently almost bought about the ruin of the homin peoples. An expedition in 2481 into the Prime Roots of Atys by the Fyros miners discovered hideous creatures called Kitin. Swarms of Kitin came out of the Prime Roots and savaged the Homins. The game begins just as the few survivors of the homin races attempt to put the pieces back together again and restore the order that once existed before the Kitin attacks.

The initial task is to create your character and it's a fairly simple process. You'll get to choose the race, sex, body, face and choose their appropriate actions (the action packs allow you to customise your characters abilities). All modifications are done with slider bars and it's easy to do. After you've created your character you'll have to name them and select their starting location. Incidentally each account will allow you to have five characters at one time so you can try each of the races to see which suits you best (or share with another family member too I suppose). On arriving in your starting location your first task is to find the welcomers who will give you directions to key characters who will give you basic tutorial help. It's a gentle learning curve and one that most shouldn't have any problems with at all.

Like in any other MMORPG how you play the game is up to you. In fact Nevrax claim that the players' actions will shape how the games story unfolds, which should be good. You can fight (PvP fights are based on consent so unwanted attacks from a higher level character should not be an issue), use magic, create your own actions, forage for resources and craft your own items. You can join guilds or even create your own guilds if you want to. Experience can be earned in a variety of ways. Taking on missions is rather useful when it comes to developing your character and Nevrax claim there are a staggering 12,000 missions in the game so it's fair to say that you're going to be kept very busy indeed for many, many months to come. The missions window will help you keep track of your objectives so you should never be in a position where you have forgotten what to do.

Bugs are a fact of life when it comes to most games and MMORPG's are perhaps the most problematic of all due to their size and the fact that it's impossible to allow for all eventualities when many thousands of gamers are playing the game simultaneously. The game has it's fair share of bugs and has frozen on me a couple of times but for most of the time the game has been pretty stable. When I first ran the game several small updates where applied which didn't take too long and during the course of my play a further update has been added which again was only small. Certain enemies do have path finding problems, usually if an obstacle is in the way, and whilst this isn't a major problem it's still unfortunate. Lag is also an issue at times too. Thankfully I have an ADSL Internet connection so mostly the gaming experience was a smooth one but nevertheless there have been times when it's become very choppy although this is usually of an evening or weekend. Whilst you could argue that these are times when most people would be playing it's usually only these times that most people can play, so these issues of quite heavy lag need to be sorted out.

The Saga of Ryzom is definitely one of the better looking MMORPG's to date. The different terrains in the game all look good and range from lush forests to arid deserts. The game has been built using Nevrax's RAID engine which is capable of showing a staggering 255 creatures onscreen at any one time. Day and night cycles occur, as do dynamic weather conditions and it all looks very good indeed. One criticism I would have of the dynamic weather though is that it can change all too quickly. In one ten minute play session the weather went from snow covered ground to an autumnal appearance and then snow covered ground again, which seems a little crazy. The character models are mostly very good and the buildings in the game are also quite detailed for a MMORPG. What is particularly nice about the game though is that it looks very different from other MMORPG's. All too often these games look too similar and it does little to give the game a unique feel but thankfully Nevrax has put a lot of effort into making the game look quite unlike any game that has gone before.

MMORPG's tend to cause deaf gamers no problems at all and The Saga of Ryzom is no exception to this and all the information and communication is done via text. If there is one criticism I would have though it's that when you first start playing the HUD can be very intimidating. All kinds of interface boxes are open and when you're first starting out it's a little off-putting. Thankfully you can tailor the interface boxes as you see fit and Nevrax have included the ability to have 4 different layouts that you can switch between at any time which is a fantastic idea. The game has built in tutorial advice and the manual that comes with the game also manages to do a decent job of informing you of the games basic and most used functions.

The Saga of Ryzom is definitely a unique experience and offers something different from most MMORPG's out there. It has it's fair share of teething problems though and no doubt a few months down the line most of these will have disappeared. It's going to have some stiff competition shortly though with Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft arriving shortly and with Final Fantasy XI and Dark of Camelot still going strongly. Whether or not the game can stand up to such heavyweight competition remains to be seen. Still the early signs are good and if problems are ironed out as they are found then The Saga of Ryzom is quite capable of lasting for it's intended 8 year existence.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
The Saga of Ryzom shows a lot of promise but only time will tell if that promise is fulfilled. Frequent updates are forthcoming though and constantly correcting issues. The occasional heavy lag needs to be sorted out though.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems at all for deaf gamers.