Welcome to the Face of Mankind Review. Face of Mankind is an action MMORPG set in the 24th Century, where players inhabit one persistent universe, living out their lives in whichever way they choose – ultimately determining what kind of society they live in, who controls it and how it is governed.
This universe is a place where players are not bound by a class or levels, you are as good as the work that you put in to your character – the spoils yours for the taking if you can claim them. Live a law-abiding life as a miner, manufacturer, alien hunter, or possibly even join up with the police to help enforce the law and keep the peace within society.
Perhaps you might even take the more unlawful route, robbing and slinging drugs – or even producing them deep within a distant station at a shady planet. To take it even further, some people don’t like to fight or craft, they just want to socialize – that’s a viable career path too, with politics and backroom dealings playing a major role in Face of Mankind.
This isn’t some new next-gen sandbox either, in-case that wasn’t already obvious with the screenshots – this MMO has been around since 2006. After many years, Face of Mankind has built a dedicated fanbase as a subscription MMO, but failed to reach a wide enough audience. It’s now free-to-play, and remains one of the true unique gems of the MMO genre.
I never played Face of Mankind in its prime, but with news of the developers revamping the game I figured it was time I finally checked out this renowned action MMORPG – to see what all the fuss is about. With the return of another In Case You Missed It, we return to an older title to re-review it in its developed state after many years of being live.
It was interesting entering this online universe for the first time, it’s a confusing experience that left me wandering the halls of futuristic Manhattan, New York. Face of Mankind has a steep learning curve, but it’s not incredibly complex to grasp – although this isn’t your every day action MMO and will often require more effort than most are used to.
It wasn’t long before a player noticed me running around seemingly aimlessly, ending up quite often in places I shouldn’t be and places that may get me killed. Before my time had even begun, this player simply told me to follow them – I did instantly, in hopes that it would lead to some gameplay. I’m taken to an underground hideout and handed a gun.
“Take this gun, put on this armor, and follow me.” I am told by the player, who I have now come to learn is a high-ranking player with the Brotherhood of Shadows. The BoS for short, are a faction – one of eight factions in which players can choose to align themselves with if citizen life gets too boring.
The Brotherhood are an interesting faction, they are essentially a crime organization that has managed to split itself off from the government and take over the outer rims of the galaxy. That’s not just some lore the developers wrote either, that’s actual history within the game that took place, because the players made it happen.
As I was handed some standard equipment from a faction pool, essentially a guild bank, I embarked on a mission with a group of players back to Manhattan Using the powerful vortex network, a teleportation device that lets players travel between planets and cities, we returned to the main entrance of Manhatten, guns in hand – something was going down.
It wasn’t long before another group of players came rushing through an entranceway, a rival faction of the Brotherhood, shots began being fired immediately. Face of Mankind is an action MMO, primarily a shooter played from the first or third person perspective. It feels almost like unreal, shots must be precise and players must have amazing reflexes.
There’s no protection from friendly fire in this world, and players can lose everything not equipped on their body when they die – making firefights very intense. When a player dies, their body is reborn in a fresh clone, clones which must be purchased and kept in stock – otherwise a player might find themselves facing permadeath for their character.
As the fight went on, we were quick to come out on top and ended the night with a victory. I was taken back to the underground hideout, which I had come to learn was the Brotherhoods Faction Headquarters as one of the members took me around the place, the official tour. I was taken to several planets, shown the core features of the game.
My tour ended in the Necar Fields, a location on a planet on the far outer rims of the galaxy – here aliens roamed free in the jungle. This planet was is the games core PvE gameplay, where players can come and hunt aliens in return for loot and coin. The bigger the alien, the bigger the payout. It’s a repetitive task, but a reliable source of income for some.
After the tour it was straight back to battle, the Brotherhood was fighting fiercely with the Law Enforcement Department – the police of this virtual society, and run by players. Besides them, other factions were fighting with the Brotherhood over assets. Fights broke out everywhere, and while before it was quiet and confusing, I was now in the middle of war.
Face of Mankind is heavily influenced by people and politics, even a player mouthing off to another faction can result in a murder that may lead to all out raids on faction headquarters. People take their feuds seriously in this society, and shooting at someone could result in him and 20 of his friends returning to gun you down.
I was happy to take on the militant life, and began heeding any call made to me by my new brothers – fighting to the death, every time, with every clone. PvP is a lot of fun in Face of Mankind, and although sometimes it can be scarce, when battles do take place they are always memorable events.
Battles aren’t always senseless feuds though, a lot of it has a purpose and plays a part in keeping the world moving. Factions can take over the various planets in the galaxy, allowing them control over the planet and a major economic and military advantage. A lot of the time players will find themselves attacking and defending colonies.
There are many ways players can go about attacking a colony, and it’s not always done in the heat of battle. Players can shut down vortex networks, ensuring that players only come through one particular entrance, or can’t come at all. Other players might like to set off a bomb, preferring the terrorist approach.
Whichever the approach, Face of Mankind has complex systems to support all of it. Hackers will find themselves working with circuitry and completing mini-games in which they must re-wire panels through various routes in order to crack security, a task which can result in alarms and lots of guns if not done right.
When not attacking colonies or fighting in epic battles, there are other gameplay systems for players to busy themselves with as well. Faction leaders will generally set goals or missions for their faction, meaning you will always have tasks to do. Alternatively the game also features generic missions, requiring you to perform various everyday jobs.
They feel like jobs too, missions in Face of Mankind consist of things like patrolling hallways on planets owned by your faction – where you must literally walk the hallways of that planet for a set amount of time. Others will have you crafting or interacting with other players, but most involve you performing a duty for your society.
With these quests, players are required to sell things on the market, or group up with faction members – meaning players are always being encouraged to keep the world’s economy alive, and to interact with one another for different purposes. What you do and don’t do however, is always completely up to the player.
As I played more, I began to gain more of a grasp on what I was doing and who were my enemies. It wasn’t long before I was catching members of our enemy factions by themselves and getting the jump on them, and even getting in to trouble with the police quite regularly. I had become a criminal, and was intent on heading further down that path.
One of the perks of being in the Brotherhood of Shadows is that you get access to cheap drugs, you can manufacture them at a price no other faction can manage. You can make all sorts of drugs in Face of Mankind, everything from legal drugs like ritalin or anabol, to illegal substances such as Meth and MDMA.
Each drug has its own effects, and players can become addicted – requiring them to either treat their addiction or take more drugs. Making drugs isn’t easy either, players need to mix different chemicals at varying heats at a chemical station – requiring knowledge of specific amounts of chemicals in order to produce certain drugs.
I decided I would make my way through Face of Mankind by killing and slinging some drugs. Now selling illegal drugs requires players to manually trade them, which means standing in some of the shadier cities asking passers-by if they want some Meth. I opted for another approach, a complete takeover of the legal drug market.
I searched the markets on various planets and found that only small amounts of drugs were being sold, and often at a price that no one would buy them or that could easily be undercut while maintaining a large profit. I found a cheap source of chemicals, one large batch for an unusually low price.
Quickly taking them to a back room chemical lab, I began to produce large amounts of each legal drug on the market. Everything I produced was put in storage on the planet I was on, but with a quick utilization of automatic transport, I was able to ship the products to core trading cities where I could place them on the market.
It wasn’t long before I began to turn a profit, funnily enough my biggest customers were the LED – police who we fought against regularly. Our enemies were now providing me with a steady stream of income, and I continued to fuel that in to more chemicals and weapons for our efforts.
It wasn’t long a go I was a senseless noob with no idea what he was doing, to where I am now with my own little corner in the market and a steady career as a criminal of the Brotherhood. It’s one of the truly unique adventures of Face of Mankind, and one that could have gone in so many different ways.
Even though the game has been going on for several years now, it’s easy to see why it has gained such a dedicated fanbase. Face of Mankind offers an experience that no other MMO currently offers, and truly is a hidden gem that deserves even just a few days of any sci-fi gamers time.
The developers are working on overhauling the game, improving a lot of its systems and gameplay to bring it up to speed with today’s industry. With some work from the developers and some major updates in a few core areas, Face of Mankind may once again be an MMO worth investing time in to – it’s nowhere near dead yet, so don’t miss it.
Visit the Face of Mankind Game Page to find out more.
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