Tabula Rasa Review for PC

Tabula Rasa Review for PC

The kitchen-sink approach to gameplay elements doesn’t make me want to wash my hands of this game

Tabula Rasa may have a strange name, but the gameplay will be familiar to shooting fans with an interest in the RPG, sci-fi genre. This massive online multiplayer game is dedicated to virtual non-stop action. It doesn’t claim to be everything for everyone. Many gameplay elements are present, but they are added more for flavor, and are well balanced in that regard.

Tabula Rasa screenshot

RPG traits are definitely evident as skills, armor, and weapons are leveled-up, but the process is streamlined to accommodate the attention deficit in all of us. Tabula Rasa is not a perfect game, but if you’re into shooters with a decent degree of depth, you could sure do a lot worse.

Excellent cutscenes tell the tale of the Bane conquering the Earth. Only a small faction of humans is left to try to defeat them. An organization known as the AFS (Allied Freed Sentients) discovered alien technology to vacate the planet and track down the Bane in the far reached of space. The battle begins on what’s left of the planet known as Foreas, a former paradise now being transformed into a world of death, decay and despair. Although the only playable race is the human, you will attempt to form allies with more cooperative aliens, such as those that live on Foreas. They will assist you in battle, and also help you out with information and the obtainment of other useful items.

There is plenty of Star Wars-style detail to the environments. You can expect lots of detail in machines and architecture along with imaginative, 3D sci-fi landscapes. Regions that you destroy will still display the damage when you return to them later. There are numerous areas to explore, but you’ve got to accomplish various missions and meet specific criteria in the form of leveling to gain access to them.

Tabula Rasa screenshot

Combat is served as the main course of this game. And while it may seem somewhat redundant at first glance, there is enough depth to keep any shooter fan satisfied. Now remember, I didn’t say RPG fan, I said shooter fan. The RPG elements are here, but they are almost on auto-pilot. The more kills you make, the more experience points you earn. These points will help to upgrade your skills, weapons, and a form of ancient magic known as Logos. You will appreciate that fact that you can get up and running in this game almost immediately with so few choices to make. There are plenty of choices to make later, which demonstrates the developers attention to pacing.

Interestingly, ammo is not unlimited. You’ll have to buy it when you run low. This will give you some essence of strategy. It also makes the game a little more realistic. Furthermore, not all weapons will work on all aliens. Some aliens are impervious to some of your projectiles, magic, and skills. So you won’t be able to upgrade one super weapon and use it continually. You’ll have to experiment with all kinds of weapons, of which there is no shortage. There are various guns, lasers, plasma, and other energy weapons. Magic can be used to make some weapons effective against certain aliens. This has limited applications, but it does come in handy if you only have certain weapons at your disposal, or ammo for them.

Tabula Rasa screenshot

Weapons will be collected throughout the game. Those that you don’t find useful may be crafted into more effective weapons. You’ll need to locate recipes in order to properly craft these weapons from your inventory. These instructions will cost you precious ability points. The instructions can be confusing, and often the crafting seems to be little more than an added mod to a weapon or armor. It’s an interesting concept but not very well executed.

Experience points are awarded for kills; money is awarded for missions accomplished. These missions range from fetch quests to destroying bases. You can go through the game as a lone wolf or join a group. If you join a group, the experience points will be divided among the participants fairly. You’ll get more if you go solo, but the risks are also much greater. Loot from fallen enemies is also divided similarly.

Moves include walking, running, jumping, crouching, strafing, and rolling. You can lock-on to targets and change your weapons or skills to inflict the maximum damage. But your enemy can also target you if you’re standing still, so it’s a good idea to practice using a variety of moves while you run and gun. Most of the commands are relegated to the keys but you will fire with a left click of the mouse and access skills with a right click. It’s a good system that feels good and responds naturally. There is a good deal of repetition to these moves, so you’ll get a handle on it rather quickly. Fortunately, the different enemies and weapons that you’ll use will keep things from getting stale.

Tabula Rasa screenshot

Another interesting concept is the ability to clone your character. This time, the concept is exceptionally well executed. When you level your character, you will be forced to make a choice as to what class you wish to aspire to. As many of you can testify, this can have serious drawbacks if you find out that you’re not fond of that particular class. After all, there is no way of knowing until you try it. Fortunately when you come to such a crossroad, you can clone your character with all its possessions, points, and attributes. This will then allow you to change your mind and essentially try another path without having to start the process all over again. Great idea.

The further you go in the game, the more refined your class will become. Eventually you’ll be able to specialize in a certain area such as ranged or melee combat or weapons or magic. In order to progress through the game, you will have to accomplish specific objectives. Some of these objectives can be performed as a group or solo. It’s more fun to be part of a group, and there are certain tasks that will require you to join a party where you will need the use of ranged specialists in addition to healers and so forth. When you have to take over territory defended by the Bane, teamwork is essential. Losing as a group means you’ll have to play the mission over. Using the voice chat system, you’ll be able to communicate with other players before your next attempt and discuss and adopt new strategies.

There is a moral/reputation element involved in the game, but the consequences are immediate, not far reaching. You’ll be given different options at various junctions in the game, mostly to do with your behavior and reaction to other characters situations. You can choose to be less-than-scrupulous or altruistically virtuous. Your choices will have virtually no impact on the outcome of the game, but merely open a few new areas in the immediate quest.

There are some minor glitches such as collision detection issues, points failing to be awarded or distributed properly, and some slowdown. But compared to a lot of online games, that’s not much to complain about. Overall the game is solid, fun, and action-packed. The production values are great with excellent graphics, animation, voicework, music, and sound effects. The game itself is almost as impressive as the cutscenes. It incorporates a lot of gameplay variety but the main focus is on combat. The kitchen-sink approach to including various gameplay elements does not make me want to wash my hands of this game.


  • Richard Garriott’s Signature Creative Vision – Features a rich storyline with culminating experiences, immersive tactile environments, and a persistent plot.
  • Take Role-playing to the Battlefield – Fast-paced action involving skill, stealth, and strategy combines with character growth and development (RPG) on a massive multiplayer scale (MMO).
  • Unleash the Power of Logos – Alien technology allows you to harness the very fabric of the cosmos for healing, attacks, and more!
  • Ethical Parables – Encounter ethical decisions while attempting to complete goals or missions that affect the people and environments around them.
  • Battlefield Control Points – Entrenched positions on a given battlefield can change hands over the course of a battle and affect spawn points of both enemy and friendly characters.
  • Character Cloning System – Innovative class system allows you to explore different character classes without leveling up a new character.
  • Crafting & Economy – Participate in crafting and selling items.
  • Player-vs-Player – Challenge other players in voluntary PvP mode.
  • Integrated Voice Chat – Allows hands-free communication on the battlefield.

    Great looking 3D alien landscapes. Very Star Wars. 4.5 Control
    A few hot keys and mouse button clicks do the job very well. 4.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    Great music, sound effects and voiceacting. Epic movie quality. 4.5 Play Value
    Despite the repetition of combat, there is enough variety in the details to satisfy any shooter fan for a long time. 4.2 Overall Rating – Great
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

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