The West – Review
Yeehaw! Howdy partner..Okay, enough with the cowboy speak. If you haven’t guessed already, The West is a an Old West themed, browser-based MMORPG published by InnoGames, the same development team behind popular online titles such as Grepolis and Tribal Wars. The West has won a number of awards during its time online, including Best Browser RPG 2009 and Best Browser RPG 2011. Players take on the role of a hardened cowboy trying to survive in the brutal era of the Old West. The game is full of activities, exciting duels and other Western themed features, so lets not waste any time. If you’re new to reading our reviews here at XMMORPG, our initial review of a game covers the newbie experience, including tutorial, quests, combat and any other features new players will discover when they begin the game.
A slightly disappointing factor to The West is the absence of any character creation or customization at the beginning of the game. After making an account you’re thrown straight into the game world, no gender choice, no clothing variations, just you and your pistol. After I recovered from the shocking lack of character creation, I was introduce to the game via an in-depth tutorial. The tutorial actually felt a little complicated at places, although all it included was a few lines of text and a click marker for each stage. The confusing part was that the tutorial introduces every single aspect of the game, not just basic features and assets. Personally, I prefer having to discover late-game features and mechanics but the in-depth approach to a tutorial was a nice introduction to the game.
During the tutorial you’re introduced to the skill system, a large part of the games progressive mechanics. There are two main aspects to the skill system, stat and skill points. Stat points are used to increase your characters combat related statistics such as Strength, Dexterity and Charisma. There’s a good selection of stats and you unlock more stat points each time you level. I fiddled around with it a bit and it became pretty obvious that even one stat point had quite a large effect, creating a great variety of potential builds and combat strategies. The second aspect of the skill system is the skill points. Skill points are related to the job system within the game, a feature that allows players to work for various NPC characters to earn gold and experience points. There’s a huge variety of jobs from clearing out drunken louts from the saloon to tracking and laying traps for animals in the wild. Each job offers different rewards and requires different skill levels to perform. This gives players the option of customizing their character to be proficient at certain tasks.
The combat system in The West is pretty basic, you can duel other players, duel during questing, or challenge various bandits in an around town. Whichever you choose, the combat remains the same. It’s turn based and automated, relying on your level, gear and stats. There are some options that allow you to dodge or attack in a certain direction, but it lacked any real information as to what did what. Despite many attempts, I didn’t notice the dodge and attack commands having any effect.
Overall, The West isn’t a bad browser-game considering the age. The Old West theme is definitely one of the best assets to the game, and the job system brings a nice selection of variety.
by Blaine Smith