MMOHub previews Altis Gates

Altis Gates —œ

Preview

By
Cody ‘Neramaar’ Hargreaves

Graphics don’t make the game; that what
my friends and I used to tell each other back in school, when games were

released on 32-bit cartridges and could fit in your pocket. We told each other
that, but we never really meant it. Deep down inside, we all wanted to see
games expand

visually, allowing us to experience new worlds and characters as
rich in detail and design as they were back then in concept and development. Though
had we known the

truth; had we known that the increase in graphics would come
at a price; that they would sacrifice story and character development and
gameplay innovation entirely in

place of smoother curves, lusher forests and
fashionable tailoring… well, I for one would’ve told them not to bother.

lang=”EN-AU”>And so in 2010 — a time when I occasionally
find myself wondering whether or not the picture of Gran Turismo 4 I’ve been
drooling over for the past

eight months is real, or created using a computer —
I find myself enjoying the fruits of Altis
Gates
, a game packed to the

rafters with nostalgia from the days of old.
Well, kind of.

Crossing
the

I

When it comes to developing a game of a
lower visual caliber than the norm, it is imperative

that the remaining
elements are above and beyond. When the visuals look as though they were drawn
in the late 80s, the gameplay diversity, innovation and story have to

literally
blow you away, lest you find yourself unengaged, and realise that you’re
playing a game that too closely resembles those you played in your younger
years

and start searching for something more.

Altis
Gates

lang=”EN-AU”> sits about mid-way in that regard, dotting
most of the I, but missing a few T. The visuals look great; the low
resolution produces a crisp â

€˜SNES’ image (though I wouldn’t complain if they
increased that a little), the artistry and environments are immersive and
engaging, and the character and battle

animations are sublime. They work
together to produce that nostalgic feeling we’ve all come to know and love, and
with the help of subtle benefits like zoom, they do

it masterfully. More
importantly, the ‘feel’ of Altis Gates
matches the era, too. Story cutscenes introduce you to your

role in the universe
and the part you must inevitably play right from the beginning of the game, and
the world design draws you in and reminds you of all that you’ve

been missing this
past decade whilst you were staring mouth-open at Lara Croft bust.

And of course, when you

combine elements
like those above with the social interactions and design enhancements of the
MMO, you really begin to notice just how well it all works. Tasks become

quests; maps become saviours, and NPCs become… well, NPCs, but the ability to
team up with other players, an aspect that in today world goes mostly
unnoticed,

brings everything together to create a magic almost forgotten, and
forever yearned. In Altis Gates,
joining a party puts you

under the direct control of the party leader; you
follow him automatically, just as you’re follows in a single-player RPG of old
would, until it time to battle —œ

which, to my complete and total amazement,
is turn-based, and totally awesome with other players by your side. Teamwork,
co-operation, good company and good times; itâ

€™s all there, it all familiar,
and it all tastes good.

All your

base are belong to us…

In terms of reliving past days, there one
element left available for

scrutiny: STORY. On the plus side, Altis Gates does have a story. Not a bad
one, either, from the little I’ve seen thus far,

except for one small problem. It
in Engrish. When you take into
account the average writing ability of the western society

gamer today, it
feels as though something like grammar wouldn’t really be an issue, and in
reality, it probably isn’t. But it is for me. For me, it a deal

breaker, as
it the story that excites me most about video games, and it the very reason
I enjoy playing games designed with older visuals. In most cases older

games
focus their energy on the story, and while it evident that the development
team behind Altis Gates have done
just

that, they dropped the ball with the translation, detracting from the
experience greatly.

All in all,

style=”mso-bidi-font-style:
normal”>Altis Gates
is a good game. It lacking some in the innovation
department, with only two available class choice (Mage and

Warrior, though
there are several advancement options for both) and the Engrish is capable of
making your eyes bleed, but the overall charm is undeniable, and the love,

care
and attention devoted to its design never ceases to amaze. The turn-based
battle system and ability to party with other players creates an experience too

enjoyable to translate to words, and the pet taming system, effectively
allowing you to catch monsters and train them to fight at your side, adds
considerable depth to

the combat; all working together to create a true and
fully realised SNES/MMO gaming experience. If you’re old enough to remember
what that is, then

style=”mso-bidi-font-weight:normal”>What we liked:

Old-style visuals

Gameplay

nostalgia

Pet Taming

style=”margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt”>

style=”mso-bidi-font-weight:normal”>What we’d like to see:

Adequate translation

More

class/customisation options

Something ‘new’

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