RIFT: Storm Legion Review for PC

RIFT: Storm Legion Review for PC

Telara’s New Threat

RIFT might not have become the World of Warcraft killer some hoped it would be, probably because it hews so closely to the line established by MMO genre’s leader. You can think of RIFT as a well-made WoW clone with highly customizable characters, portals that open and leak enemies at random, and a more serious tone. But RIFT has certainly built a name for itself in the top tier of the genre. The team at Trion has done an incredible job of presenting a polished product and then expanding it. And expanding it. And expanding it.

In fact, the basic game received eleven significant updates, ensuring that players always got new content for their $15 a month without having to buy an official expansion. And now, Storm Legion, the first traditional expansion, offers a whole lot for a price tag of $40 for existing players. (Newcomers pay $50 and get the original game as well.)

RIFT: Storm Legion Screenshot

If more RIFT is what you want, you’re going to get it. The level cap has been raised from 50 to 60, and each new level takes hours of work. That’s a whole lot of questing, dungeons, raids, and PvP for each character you want to take to the new cap. Once you’ve hit level 60, there’s new endgame content as well. And presumably, Trion will have more updates handy by the time you’re done with all that.

The list of improvements is long, as it tends to be when MMO expansions are at issue. There are seven new dungeons, three new raids, a Chronicle, “Grandmaster” crafting, capes to wear, and new mounts and pets. And, as if there weren’t enough character customization options already, there are also four new souls to choose from. Mages can now play as Harbingers, which gives them the ability to deal and take damage at close range. Warriors may choose the Tempest soul, which helps them excel at long-range combat. Clerics get the Defiler soul, which helps them heal allies, intercept damage, and hurt enemies at range. And Rogues get access to Tactician, a soul that helps them heal—and hurt—lots of players quickly.

Most exciting of all, though, is that Trion has added two huge new continents, more than tripling the game’s land mass. A level 50 player can work through either continent first; both contain areas that start at a level 50 difficulty and progress from there. The story here is that an evil (and lightly clothed) woman named Crucia threatens the world with her Storm Legion forces.

RIFT: Storm Legion Screenshot

Of the new continents, Dusken is the more interesting. Very few things separate RIFT from World of Warcraft, but two of those things are RIFT’s darker vibe and its better graphics—and both of those are on display in Dusken. The continent is dark and stormy, with ominous architecture breaking up some haunting displays of nature. Dusken is an impressive sight, and very few video games manage to evoke a mood so well.

That’s not to say that Brevane isn’t worth exploring. It’s a more traditional fantasy setting, brimming with life, with beautiful forests and some swampy areas crawling with beasts.

There’s also a new island that’s home to Tempest Bay, a city that’s open to all players, Guardian and Defiant alike. This island is home to its own quest lines, and it’s sure to become a major hangout for high-level players.

RIFT: Storm Legion Screenshot

One thing I can’t really stress enough, though, is that these are only cosmetic changes. The questing is exactly what you’ve come to expect from World of Warcraft and its imitators: Kill some of this enemy, go talk to that guy, collect this item, repel a random invasion from time to time. This may be enough to satisfy RIFT’s existing fans, but a newcomer to the genre will struggle to find a reason to sign up for RIFT—anyone who wants the gameplay of World of Warcraft can get that with World of Warcraft itself, and anyone looking for innovation will find a lot more of it in TERA, Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, and so on.

A new feature here, however, is the option to create your own “Dimension”—basically, a patch of land with a dwelling on it. You start by either buying one from a vendor or completing a quest series, and from there you’re allowed to customize your living space by buying items from vendors and placing them wherever you want. The creation tools are impressive—you can move items, rotate them, and so on. If you have too much time on your hands, you can even buy individual tiles and wood planks and install them as flooring. Honestly, this type of thing has never been my cup of tea, and I found the process to be a needless distraction from doing more important things in the game, but Dimensions do provide another, uh, dimension to the gameplay.

RIFT: Storm Legion Screenshot

Another thing that’s worth noting is that aside from the Dimensions, Storm Legion offers little for low-level characters (who can already play for free until level 20). It seems that Trion is content with what it has, and won’t risk alienating its fan base by changing the core game—instead, the goal here is purely to retain existing customers. So, naturally, there’s nothing along the lines of playing as a panda.

There are also no significant changes to the graphics, combat system, sounds, or controls. Visually, RIFT is still a solid step up from World of Warcraft, but it can also leave something to be desired. Most annoyingly, no matter how you arrange the video settings, you’ll be able to see grass and other items being drawn in the distance as you walk toward them.

Basically, Storm Legion doesn’t move beyond RIFT any more than RIFT moved beyond World of Warcraft. It gives fans precisely what they want: more of everything they’re already enjoying. Some might wish for an expansion that pushes the boundaries a little more, especially when so many other MMOs are shaking up the genre with radical new ideas. But at the end of the day, Storm Legion adds a ton of fresh content, including two enchanting new continents, at a reasonable price. For the game’s fans, this expansion is a no-brainer.

Storm Legion continues RIFT’s trend of providing great graphics for an MMO. 4.0 Control
Cribbed directly—and competently—from World of Warcraft. 3.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Epic sounds for an epic storm. 4.0 Play Value
Storm Legion doesn’t revolutionize RIFT, but it does continue it. 4.2 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Two huge new continents that more than triple the size of the existing world.
  • Experience epic stories that reveal the true power in Telara. And the gateway to the planes.
  • A new Soul for each calling expands the Ascended Class System: Build the hero you want!
  • Rise to new heights of power through ten challenging levels, increasing the level cap to sixty.
  • Achieve greatness with seven new dungeons, three raids, a Chronicle, and more!

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