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Richard Garriotts Tabula Rasa Review

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An MMO that shirks the hackneyed realm of orcs and goblins in favour of an epic sci-fi backdrop, Tabula Rasa rises above its flaws by allowing players to experience the edgy thrills of a first-person shooter without

★★★★

An MMO that shirks the hackneyed realm of orcs and goblins in favour of an epic sci-fi backdrop, Tabula Rasa rises above its flaws by allowing players to experience the edgy thrills of a first-person shooter without
sacrificing the deep character development of an RPG.

Set in a series of sprawling alien worlds, the frantic, gloriously-simple blasting feels closer to the kinetic action of Halo than any other MMO, your battlefield performance nonetheless churning out stats that define how your hero evolves and bringing untold depth to the carnage. Beautifully realised arenas of war that are teeming with life, and intelligent enemies who are happy to go about their nefarious business despite what you get up to, also help make Tabula Rasa more engaging than most MMOs, and the fact that different enemies boast unique strengths means that players have to be constantly on their toes and switch between weapons, adding variety to the bloodshed and stopping the shooting from becoming repetitive.

In terms of character development, Tabula Rasa is no dozer either; after a few hours pounding the trigger and cracking off special attacks, players can choose to follow the action-packed path of a soldier or migrate to a more measured combat-support role, the wide variety of classes brought to life by increasingly tough battles that require every ounce of your hard-earned skills to emerge victorious. And in a move that will delight development nuts, players can create clones of their hero at key moments, allowing you to develop your fighter along a certain path, but with the option to return to an earlier point and experiment with different routes.

On the downside, the eagerly-anticipated moral aspect of the game is cruelly underdeveloped, your choice between the paths of good or evil only affecting the plot short-term and having little impact on how the story unfolds. The crafting system used to enhance weapons and armour is also confusing and the rewards don't justify the effort but, even with these shortcomings, Tabula Rasa is still the most genuinely exciting sci-fi MMO on the shelves.

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