The RYL stand for Risk Your Life. It's a Massive Multi-player Online RPG that doesn't stand much of a chance of being the next big thing. It's big, and it's certainly a thing, but what that thing is I'm not quite sure.

RYL: Path of the Emperor is a rather cold experience. Even though there are some people on the servers there doesn't seem to be any sense of community. It's like a new wing in purgatory opened up and some of the lost souls wandered in and aren't quite sure what to make of it.

Did I mention the million dollar prize? Now you're paying attention.

There are three servers dedicated to this game. One of them is holding a million dollar tournament to see who is the most formidable player in the world. This server has taken most of the players away from the other two which makes the worlds seem empty if you're not playing in the tournament. It's really hard to put together a team in the other servers. The only excitement you get is wandering from battle to battle in hopes of discovering something more interesting. Don't hold your breath.

At the start of the game you can become either a Kartefant or a Merkhadian. The Kartefants are humanoids and the Merkhadians are aliens. Both are hostile towards each other. They have different attributes, customs, weapons and habitats but they are equally balanced in powers and possessions. Eventually you will be offered the option of changing allegiances to a third nationality called God's Pirates.

All three nationalities have basic classes such as warriors, rogues, mages and magicians. Once you choose a nationality and a class you can customize your appearance with the customizing tool. More appearance upgrades will be presented later in the game along with the requisite leveling-up feature that is a RPG staple.

Monsters will present themselves to you throughout your journey. Killing them will increase your stats which you can assign to any skill area that you want to improve such as health, stamina, accuracy and power. You won't know how powerful any particular monster is until you engage it in battle at which time you can run away if you don't have enough power to take it on.

Combat is in real-time and utilizes the mouse and the keyboard. You can quickly access hotkey moves with the mouse by programming the commands in. Once you learn the system it's fairly easy and effective to perform melee attacks and wild combos.

Each character has different abilities but you'll be able to access some new ones by applying the spells and instructions that you find in books that the monsters drop. They will also drop gems that you can use to upgrade your weapons and armor. If you're lucky you'll find other players willing to sell their upgrades for cold, hard cash.

Gaining fame is the key to winning the riches. The more characters that you kill the more infamous you will become. The most infamous player of them all will win a cool million. I wouldn't mind collecting that myself but it's a long, hard battle and one that I don't have time for. I can see that it's going to take a long time to earn that kind of rep. There are guys that have been playing this game steady for longer than a month - and full time at that. The million dollar tournament server is too competitive and the other two are empty. There is no middle ground.

Graphically the game is messy. The textures are low res and there are clipping issues as well as stiff animation to contend with. The character models are decent but they don't display much detail. The worlds are big but they're unmemorable and repeat textures and backgrounds endlessly. The musical soundscape is barren and dry with only the most modest of ambient music to accompany you.

Far be it from me to stand in someone's way to win a million dollars. If you're not interested in the tournament, then I would pass on this game. Other than the novelty of the prize money it doesn't offer anything new to the genre.

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System: PC
Dev: Youxiland
Pub: Planetwide
Release: July 2005
Players: Multiplayer
Review by Dean