Perfect World's upcoming free-to-play online game RaiderZ has no qualms with scooping up your character and swallowing it whole. Or dragging it across the ground. Or tossing it into the air. It's an online action role-playing game with extensive grappling that allows it hulking monsters to get physical with your would-be heroes. Using both the Unreal Engine 3 and the latest in Nvidia's PhysX technology, the game is going to have the technical backing necessary to really beat your character to a pulp. We got a brief, hands-on demo of the game where we got smacked around by some of the game's hostile inhabitants.
Similar in ways to the Monster Hunter series, RaiderZ is all about traveling a lush world hunting down monsters and whooping the living tar out of them. From their lifeless corpses, you can recover rare and exotic items to craft better pieces of equipment to hunt even bigger game and forge even better gear. It's the circle of life. Against some foes, you can tear away their weapons (or limbs) to use yourself. While fighting a massive troll, we managed to knock its club out of its hands and turn it against its former owner. However, these items are temporary bonuses and disappear after a set amount of time.
Unlike the paladins, warriors, and mages of other massively multiplayer online RPGs, players do not choose from hard-coded classes in RaiderZ . Instead, your character's abilities are built up gradually by mixing and matching abilities within the game's different skill tress. Naturally, this systems lends itself to endless tweaking and iteration so the developers aren't afraid to let you re-spec your character on a whim. One of the characters we saw (but didn't play) was a hybrid of the defender and cleric skill tress, making it a paladin of sorts. RaiderZ uses a non-targeting system when casting spells, so line-of-sight and battlefield awareness are paramount. When our hero needed to heal someone, it had to get in range and manually position an icon over the intended target (instead of merely clicking on it).
While pounding monsters to a pulp is pleasing enough for some, fashion is a big draw for many players. In case bulky suits of armor or an all-studded leather ensemble isn't your thing, RaiderZ lets players equip a second layer of fashion to mask your unsightly armor. And the game has no shortage of cosmetic options, especially if you pay a visit to the cash-op store. However, don't expect to buy your way to victory because most of the items are either for convenience or fashion. Publisher Perfect World wasn't ready to set down a release date just yet, but it would confirm that the hunt should begin sometime in 2012.