Fallen Earth went ‘Free To Play’ at the end of last year, but I hadn’t heard much about it until Steam made mention of it earlier this year. First released in 2009 I believe, I probably ignored it as I was avoiding MMOs back then, its based upon the Unreal 3 engine and might look a bit dated to some now, but I thought I’d give it a try.
There is a definite Fallout feel to the game, what with the whole post-apocalyptic wasteland environment (based upon 1,000 sq. km of the Grand Canyon area), the mix of recovered and low tech, and large mutant animals/insects wandering around, but there are also elements of other post-apocalyptic material such as Mad Max, Gamma World, A Boy and his Dog, etc, etc.
Starting from ‘zip guns’ (modified paint ball weapons) and improvised melee weapons, using a horse (available from the tutorial), and with cast off makeshift armour, you make your way out into the world to try and improve your gear, collect poker chips (the in-game currency) and gain experience by doing the various quests for the many many quest givers in your chosen starter town. You can travel freely in Sector 1 and complete all of the starter town quests so even that inital choice doesn’t tie you down. Eventually you move up to firearms and following a quest chain build your own ATV.
Crafting is key, almost everything you will use can be player-crafted with enough of the right skill, and material nodes are plentiful, meaning that after the early stages money is not an issue as you harvest then make what you need, and sell your old gear and spare materials.
The character system is free-form, no classes, so you choose where to specialise and create your idea of your character from that. Crafting skills improve through use allowing you to then harvest more complex materials.
They get around the respawn issue by having all players be clones that are re-lifed upon death, and the fact that players are clones plays heavily in the background story for why you are there doing what you are doing.
There are a few in-jokes in some of the characters and quests, but they’ve avoided being too overt about it probably to avoid being sued. Look out for the guy with the busted quad bike whose name sounds like it could be abbreviated to Ozzie for instance 🙂
Haven’t really had much chance to play with my friends on there, but in the early stages you can easily solo so no need to team even for supposedly ‘group’ missions. I hear Sector 2 is tougher and that is also where your choice of missions affects your relationship with the various factions that inhabit the area.
Players are mostly helpful, almost too helpful, as the same very simple questions get asked over and over in help chat, and are patiently fielded by both GMs (game developer employees) and Hazmats (player volunteers).
I haven’t noticed any bugs as such but there are periods of lag, a consequence I believe of the server being West Coast USA based, and the influx of players from the F2P launch and the Steam publicity. Lagging causes some weird issues such as controller failure (my character started going round in circles) or a disconnection warning after some laggy interaction.
So far I’m liking it.Hoping to get some more time on it with a buddy around the same level as me at the moment.