The last five or so years have shown the advent and rise of Massively multiplayer online games. Even though they have been around for quite a while now, games such as World of Warcraft have generated so much revenue that many companies have wanted to get a slice of the pie. Warcraft clones have sprung up from everywhere, basically doing the same things that most MMO’s do but changing the names of classes or names of continents *cough Warhammer online cough*
Panzar Studio’s newest entry, Panzar: Forged by Chaos is different though. This free to play MMO game ditches the samey storylines and boring quests and focuses entirely on arena play. Its fast paced, action filled and adrenaline fuelled and I love it. Panzar takes all the best features from Player vs Player (PvP) in your favourite MMO’s and puts it into one game. No levelling to be the best in PvP, you just jump right in.
Panzar uses Crytek’s Cryengine3 and the result is astounding. Its possibly the best looking MMO that I have played. The graphics are crisp and sharp and the colour pallet is bright and lovely for a cartoon like fantasy game. I mean the graphics really are gorgeous and looked great on my screen. The animations impressed me as they were not overly cartoony which is something I expected when looking at the character models and the environments were well crafted and gave the feel that they were bigger than they actually were. It is possibly the most beautiful MMO I have ever played. The best thing about it all was that even on the highest settings I found the loading times were not bogged down by slow texture rendering.
Firstly you have to choose from 8 different classes, each with unique skills and ways of dominating the battlefield. As you could possibly guess, each battle pits two teams of players against each other, fighting for victory in a variety of game modes, such as Siege, Domination or King of the Hill. Standard game types that play out very differently.
Orcs, Humans, Elves and Dwarves grab their swords, staffs and knives to fight it out and become victorious. At the end of each battle, players can spend the gold and experience they have earned to develop and improve their characters by purchasing weapons and potions and also upgrading their skills. Each race has two different glasses you can play as. For example, if a player chooses to play as an Orc then they can either play as a Tank, which are slow but strong characters with a hefty shield, or a Berserker whom weird double handed weapons and rain hell down on their foes. Choosing your character is the easy part as all they are all bread and butter MMO classes. Mastering them is the hard part.
Classes (courtesy of the Panzar: Forged by Chaos website)
Tank: The members of this ancient Orc clan are called Tanks. Their might can be compared to that of a war machine, and, thanks to their heavy armour, they resemble mobile fortresses. A wall of these mighty warriors is capable of stopping even the fiercest attack.
Berserker: Berserker’s are the fiercest of the Orcs. Zar, the God of War, has blessed them with phenomenal strength and endurance. Utterly fearless, they are natural born fighters. Due to their physical prowess, Berserker’s are the main strike force of any army. Wielding two-handed clubs with ease, they can pave the way for their teammates. The large damage radius of their clubs allows Berserker’s to attack multiple targets with a single sweep, which makes them particularly effective in the heart of the battle.
Paladin: Since ancient times, humanity has been renowned for its combat healers. The strongest and bravest soldiers become adepts of the Order of Paladins, where they are initiated into the mysteries of life and death. The doctrine of the Order is based upon faith in the goddess Chimaera – the symbol of evolution and living organic development. Paladins are masters of life magic.
Inquisitor: Inquisitors are the most gifted killers among Humans. Having honed their skills in thousands of battles, they can spot a weakened opponent from a distance and rush in for a fatal backstab. Once they catch the scent of blood, Inquisitors are seized with righteous rage, cutting their enemies down with their dual swords.
Sisters of Fire: The Elves are the eldest race born of Chaos. Under the auspices of Argus the Elementalist, they have become masters of the energy of Chaos. According to tradition, only female Elves can master the mysteries of battle magic. Even then, only the most talented elven females are selected for training, after which they devote their lives to the service of their chosen House
Ice Witch: Unlike the impulsive disciples of the House of Fire, the followers of the House of Water are renowned for their calm and restraint. This is why the foundation of water magic is ice magic. Frost Witches provide excellent support, but they cannot take the enemy on single-handed. Their physical weakness and inability to wear heavy armour or defend themselves with destruction magic makes them a tempting target.
Sapper: Dwarves have spent centuries honing the art and science of engineering. They have split over the years into two separate engineering schools: Technicians and Sappers. Sappers specialize in sabotaging enemy camps. Since they are small and nimble, they can easily sneak behind enemy lines to make life more difficult for their foes.
Gunner: After Kromm, the God of Knowledge, gave Dwarves their exceptional intellectual capacities, they started to gradually make their way to the surface. Dwarves have become masters of combat engineering, and while they do not possess the magical talents of Elves or the exceptional physical might of the Orcs, their technical prowess make them a formidable force on the battlefield.
Before I forget, and it is incredibly easy to, Panzar really doesn’t have a lot kicking about in the story department or for that matter single player. When you choose your character there is a short introduction sequence which explains the war and introduces you to the basics of the game, rather than laying out the back story or plot.
Panzar’s camera is set by default in the third person mode but there is room for change. It is much easier to play in third person though. The game feels incredibly family and people whom have played World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2 will feel right at home in terms of controls, gameplay and the user interface. You can use either WASD or the arrow buttons to move and run, the mouse moves the direction of the camera and pressing space will make your character jump. The left button is your characters primary attack and right button the secondary attack with special moves being assigned to the numbers on the keyboard. Again all pretty standard stuff but the fast and furious gameplay is where the game really stands out.
The controls are nice and responsive and the attacks feel meaty however the game is pretty bloody brutal and unforgiving as it’s easy to get killed. However, it acts like cod and you re spawn within seconds to get back into the action. For the first few games I found it incredibly frustrating, but once you level up the game becomes slightly easier. Battles are always hectic and fast paced whichever mode you decide to play on. Currently the game modes on offer are; Domination, which sees both teams trying to control a point on the map for a certain time scale, King of the Hill which sees teams trying to capture points on the map without getting it taken from them and of course Siege which is your the basic attack and defend each others castle.
Also there is a crafting system. After each game, you’re awarded with a collection of crafting materials that, much like an MMORPG, can be used to build weapons and equipment after the recipe has been obtained. This is awesome as it adds another dimension to the progression of your character and the game and of course keeps you wanting to invest time into your character to make it better.
Sadly though, its the crafting system where you realise why the game is free to play. Whilst you can definitely use gold you have earned in game to progress your crafting abilities, doing so with gems you buy with real money would make you level up SO much faster. So basically, if you are not willing to pay a few pound or so, expect to be grinding.
Panzar is a great game if you are looking to play a fantasy MMO without all the quest grinding and a shed load of PvP. Its a beautiful and well crafted game without the substance to keep you there for a long time as of yet. Hopefully in the coming months more will be added. I really enjoyed my time playing the game and will definitely continue!
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.