Free online games and even games in general have a lot of themes. Pirates, fantasy, flying, war and so on. One subject that was left out though, mainly due to people’s sensitive attitude towards it, is religion. Until now…
UTV True Games, a company already with some experience on the free MMO market is launching Faxion Online, which tackles just this topic, Heaven and Hell and their continuous battle for supremacy. The whole setting, although mostly based on the Christian view of the afterlife, is trying to integrate elements from all major religions, like Judaism, Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism.
As said before, there are two major factions, Heaven and Hell. You, the player, are a dead person who has to take sides. The next step is choosing one of the three classes available for each side. Although they are similar, there are slight differences in skill and looks between corresponding professions of each side. Basically there are the Crusader/Reaver (Fighter), Diviner/Occultist (Mage) and Guardian/Zealot (Healer). Finally you need to customize the character. And here is where the humoristic side of the game kicks in. There was no customization that didn’t look hilarious or at least weird. The Heaven characters all look proud and overconfident while the ones of Hell all seem to be scheming something evil. Unfortunately, the parody that seems to be everywhere in Faxion is sometimes exaggerated to the point where it is no longer funny.
Although the setting is at least interesting, with little exception the gameplay is typical for a PvP oriented MMO. After a basic tutorial, the player is transported into the limbo, a world that exists outside of space and time as we know it and where the forces of good and evil battle for eternity. The central place of this world is the City of Purgatory where all the basics can be found and where people will spend a good part of their time. The other areas are The Heaven, Hell and the plains of the 7 deadly sins. These seven are the territories for each the players will fight. Each of them has a different theme, depending on the sin they represent. Apart from bragging rights, taking hold of one of the regions gives the winning faction access to unique vendors and skill trainers.
Even if the classes in Faxion seem classic enough, they are anything but ordinary. In other games, each profession has its own set of skills so all characters of one class end up the same. With Faxion the story is different. Nothing stops you from learning any skill you want belonging to any other class, the only disadvantage being that it simply costs twice as much to do so. This way, a player is not allowed to learn all possible skills and become an uber-soldier. This, however, adds depth to the game, every enemy you encounter being unique. The skill-learning has been borrowed from EVE, learning taking a certain time, no matter if the player is online or not. Another interesting aspect of the skills is the presentation. Usually when effects like blind or stun are cast upon you, the only notice is a small text on screen. In Faxion however, when for example you are blinded, the entire screen turns black, actually preventing you from seeing. Nice touch!
The world is supposed to be big. Unfortunately this was done so artificially. There are many wise unused spaces, especially in cities that, together with the slow speed of movement, makes traveling a burden. Graphics-wise, the game looks quite nice with above average effects. However, the system requirements are ridiculous! 2GB of RAM and 512MB video memory are absurd for this kind of game. Fortunately Faxion is still in beta and this may be improved together with some bugs that inevitably were there. The most annoying is related to the mouse pointer that starts shaking in the center of the screen each time the character moves.
Faxion has a promising and unique setting that offers it a lot of possibilities. The game is still in early stages of beta and as such is quite less than perfect. Although the gameplay is simple and straightforward, the possibilities offered by the multi-class system and the PvP system are good enough arguments to give it high changes of success. Only time will tell, but judging from the increasing number of fans online, it seems to be on the right track.
by Sicaru Adrian