For this weeks critical hit attack on the world of the MMO game I take a look at the various MMO titles based on massive franchises and IP's. Attempting to cash in on the popularity of other areas of media is nothing new in the gaming world and has been an obvious feature in the MMO industry for just as long. Despite releasing games based on an IP with millions of fans, developers often fall short of expectations purely because they're attempting to cash-in rather than delivering an entertaining product.
The first game that comes to mind is Need for Speed World. I'm a big fan of the Need for Speed franchise, especially the Hot Pursuit games; however I found the online adaptation to be rather lackluster across the board. The absence of any single player content whatsoever leaves me craving an extensive customization and leveling mechanic. Sadly Need for Speed World doesn't really fit the bill in any of those areas and the lack of local servers quite often mean you'll see opponents teleporting across the race track and even jumping ahead 200 yards just before you hit the finish line.
Moving on to more traditional MMO genre types, we have Kabam Games' delivering games based on the popular Godfather franchise and more recently, Lord of the Rings. I've played my fair share of MMORTS and strategy titles but very few are so obviously geared towards premium features like The Godfather Five Families. The game has some interesting mechanics but short of investing hundreds of dollars, you're going to get left behind and tore apart by other players. Then we have The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age which for all intents and purposes, is nothing but a carbon copy RTS game with a poor Lord of the Ring's skin.
I played The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age for a few hours and actually felt offended at the complete lack of respect from Kabam in regards to following the IP. As an easy example they have a daily reward wheel where Golem gives the player a random reward; can anyone please tell me how they thought that would be an action expected of such a greedy character? Other famous characters hardly make an appearance, the features and mechanics have all been seen in other Kabam games and the trademark need for investing real cash is present every 60 seconds.
Occasionally developers do get it right. Lord of the Rings Online has been a successful MMO for years and continues to prove popular today. DC Universe has managed to capture the essence of the perfect superhero MMO on both PC and consoles, and Star Wars: The Old Republic manages to stay true to the Star Wars universe.
What do you think? Are there more poor IP based MMO games out there? Or do you think the bad are just a few in a good bunch?
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