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Review

Tera Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Tera's fun combat has an immediacy that keeps you hooked for a good long while in spite of the game's bland questing.

In many ways, Tera is a whole lot like other massively multiplayer role-playing games. You team up with other players, fight monsters, level up, earn new gear, and so on. It is, in fact, a very traditional online fantasy adventure in most respects but one: its action. And that action is so smooth, so immediate, and so enjoyable that it's likely to keep you invested in Tera, even as you skip from one quest to the next, ferrying messages between characters standing 20 feet from each other. Generic questing aside, Tera is a well-executed game: it's easy on the eyes, smooth under the fingers, and remarkably stable.

So what is it about the combat that makes it so good? For one, you needn't worry about choosing your target before firing off the usual barrage of sword slashes and fireballs that automatically find their mark. Instead, you hover your targeting reticle over your target and swing, or stab, or cast. Sure, some attacks are homing attacks, but generally, if you miss, you don't do any damage. For example, should you release a slow-moving blastball and the big hulk in front of you lumbers away, you're out of luck. Tera feels more like a third-person action game than most MMOGs--you don't even need to hold a mouse button to engage mouselook.

As a result, you feel connected to the action: your key presses and mouse maneuvers translate almost immediately to the screen. Yes, there are ability cooldowns, and you have to wait for animations to complete. But there is a sense of agility to the combat that's rare in the genre. Big creatures bound around and exhale toxic fumes, while you and your adventuring party hammer on them when you aren't busy dodging, guarding, and getting into the most effective position. The biggest creatures are known as BAMs (that is, big-ass monsters), and facing one is a rush. One such monster is the ovolith, a giant spider creature that rolls across the landscape like a spinning top, bounds into the air and lands with a smash, and hammers the ground in the same way a data entry expert hammers on a keyboard. Facing one with three or four friends is a riot. You must aim your attacks and stay alert, and you receive an indication of damage done only when your ice blast meets flesh--not before. How wonderful it is, this rare feeling that you are performing daring battlefield feats, rather than simply inputting commands and watching them play out onscreen.

Big, prickly, and surprisingly quick.

It's a shame that there is an hours-long lull before you see Tera at its best. The tutorial prologue is great, in part because it starts you at level 20, gives you a few interesting abilities, and pits you against a couple of towering ogres. But when it's over, you're off to the island of newcomers, where you start from scratch at level one with a paltry couple of skills. From here, you're sent on a series of quests that can politely be called "standard," though "monotonous" is a better term. Most RPGs have you going off to kill stuff, collect stuff, and pass on information to those who need it, of course. But varied pacing, strong mission dialogue, and other contextual elements can make for fun, diverse questing. Sadly, Tera's quests are as dry as its own Shara Desert. Every outpost is having some kind of problem with local creatures. Someone has always gone missing, and you have to go find them. Quest givers want you to take information to people standing within earshot. It's all so very tired.

There is a story tying all of it together, starting with a demon invasion and the search for a missing war hero. The writing isn't on Fallen Earth or Age of Conan levels of excellence, nor will you shape the story as you play in the style of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Yet developer BlueHole Studio tries to sweep you up in the process, punctuating certain story quests with excellent real-time cutscenes featuring your own character. Story arcs often culminate in instanced battles, with you and maybe your teammates fending off a sequence of attackers, or taking on a nasty boss demon. These sequences do a great job of keeping the mundane side quests from wearing on you.

Some environments are full of magic and whimsy.

Considering the blandness of the quests, Tera keeps you involved in the proceedings. Of course, much of this has to do with the combat. But the world design can take much of that credit. Granted, there's a certain inconsistency to the Tera universe. You can play as a horned, ferocious-looking Castanic, or as a hypercute foxgirl from the Elin race. The noble flesh mountains known as the Baraka cut impressive figures--particularly when standing next to a Popori, which looks like a portly panda. This bizarre and eclectic mix of fantasy figures comes across as disjointed at first, but it ultimately comes together. That's at least in part because the character diversity is matched by environmental diversity. The tropical landscapes at Cutthroat Harbor couldn't be more different from the enchanted city of Pora Elinu.

And what a place it is. A dark baroque tower rises in the center, the golden light behind stained glass windows acting like beacons, drawing you closer. In the creepy Forsaken Fields, gnarled vines warn you away, as if the sinister vampires in tuxedos and top hats weren't already doing so. Tera is a great-looking game with dozens of distinct regions waiting to be explored. It also runs extremely well, deftly balancing beauty with performance. In fact, from top to bottom, Tera performs wonderfully. It isn't bug-free: there are some quest glitches and occasional spots of lag, and the chat window has a bad habit of deleting chat logs. But Tera is yet another signal to other massively multiplayer online game developers that it isn't OK to release a hobbled game suffering from major bugs and wide content gaps.

To enter the labyrinth, you have to make it through the entrance.

Not that Tera is fully loaded where content is concerned. There are plenty of quests to perform (you never grind for grinding's sake), but if you seek player-versus-player excitement, you'll want to sit this one out. There are the usual one-on-one duels, as well as team-versus-team deathmatches that function much like duels do, albeit with two teams rather than two players. Deathmatches require two willing groups; they don't take place in structured battle arenas, and there is no matchmaking, and thus no one ever plays deathmatch. If you like to deliver cruel open-world savageness to unsuspecting travelers, you can choose a PVP server, where you may also take part in guild-on-guild battles. But a more structured battlefield is sorely needed for players on all servers. The good news is that battlegrounds are planned for later this year. For now, however, it does feel as though something's missing, considering most modern MMOGs offer an easy way to fight other players without worrying that some high-level executioner is ready to intrude on your questing.

If you're in it for the camaraderie, however, Tera is for you. Group dungeons are a lot of fun. In Sinestral's manor, for example, crimson horned behemoths stand in your way, but with a talented party, you should make it past them unscathed. The final clawed horror might give you a hard time of it though, as it madly marches forward and twirls about in anger. Again, it all comes down to the combat: you can't rely on targeting these meanies and firing a bunch of arrows with abandon. You have to know how to time your swings, be ready to block or dodge, and cast the lengthiest spells only when you know you've got the time to spare. (Nothing is more disheartening than having a creature jump out of the effective area of your spell.) No matter which group role you prefer, there's a class you'll enjoy. Ranged magic, hardy tanks, healers, support classes--it's all covered, and even better, all classes are available to all races.

Shiny!

Once you get a handle on which attacks serve you best, you can further customize skills using glyphs. Tera doesn't have a traditional talent tree. Instead, you purchase glyphs and use them to enhance your existing skills. But you have limited glyph points, and certain glyphs cost more points than others, so you must choose which glyphs you want to equip. You can also enhance weapons by slotting in crystals, and even enchant them. And there are also typical gathering and crafting systems that allow you to collect raw materials and assemble them into better gear. The player economy is active, so whether you prefer to make and sell a fancy magical disc or are in the market for one, the player trade brokerage is a valuable tool.

Other features reveal their nature as greater numbers of players gain levels, such as a political system in which guild leaders campaign to lead a province. Otherwise, Tera has an air of the expected. Structurally, it's not much different from any other online fantasy RPG: you level up and move on to new areas, completing quests until you're ready for the next. What a difference an excellent combat system makes, and in Tera's case, it elevates an ordinary game into something more delightful than you would have expected from an MMOG. It might be all about the fight, but when the fight is this much fun, you want to keep your axe arm swinging and your mouse finger clicking.

The Good
Terrific combat that connects you to the onscreen action
Exciting encounters against big monsters
Great instanced dungeons
Diverse, attractive world invites you to explore it
The Bad
Bland, generic questing
No player-versus-player battlegrounds
Boring early hours
7.5
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

Discussion

218 comments
b0sse
b0sse

BAM = Big Ass Monsters.... hahaha I loled

1wikkid1
1wikkid1

That was the one big thing I really like about WoW, the fact that I don't need to constantly scroll my mouse across the screen to target... Actually if one was so inclined they could play entirely without mouse (obvious exceptions being dragging skills to bars and other obvious things that just can't be done with keyboard). But lately there is this almost maniacal focus on everything being action... action RPG, action adventure, action puzzler, on and on and on... ffs why?! This especially pisses me off with non-MMO RPG games, in the past few years every single one is focused on action combat, they're even willing to give up the essentials of RPG (story, lore) in order to accommodate more action (Amalur?).  /rant.  I may end up giving this game a spin anyhow, it looks stunning with some driver level AA forced.

cowkiller321
cowkiller321

Installed this game since the F2p. I must say I've just played 2 characters to lvl 10, but I've been playing mmo since 2006. To me, this is easily the worse mmo ever made.

WillyWynn
WillyWynn

My name is WillyWynn :)

Free to Play  LAUNCH DATE: TUESDAY, 5TH OF FEBRUARY 20137

Lets play and be epic heroes xD

Divine_Stryph
Divine_Stryph

@Kevin-V  "Quest givers want you to take information to people who are standing...right there."  HA HA HA. I'm still going to try it out. F2p and all..

penpusher
penpusher

Hmm, might give this a look when it goes free to play. Some of the comments aren't to positive, but then I'm cynical about what I read in comment sections :)

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

Now that it's going f2p is it worth trying out?

cwiza
cwiza

ok ppl did any of you ask your self why did the game went free to play in korea and japan. even though korean players are the most hardcore grind loving  players that you can ever meet and still  alot of them decided not to play tera and found it boring. 

1. quests =  1/5. 

2.  pvp = unbalanced 3/5

 

3.  story line = 1/5 should be obvious quests are what shapes how the story will shape out. 

 

4. dungeons & raids(20 man now)  =  4/5  they are alot of fun but by the time you are good enough and leveled enough to do well in them you probably lost interest in the game due to boredom.

5. cost =  buying the game $20 sale atm (original is $49.99 ) plus a $15 sub./month.  yea paying 15$ for a game that is not better than  free mmo like blade&soul NA when it is released. and  most 2013 mmos are going to have high end graphics like tera and most of them are free to play.

 

if this game was good , atleast the original developers in korea would of have made it just buy to play but to decide to make it free to play in korea and japan this means the game is not making revenue , even though its so easy to keep it pay to play if they revamped the quests and the story line , but they probably dont care about it .

 

btw this game was first 25% off price and then 50% off all before launch so yea that says alot.

 

supermoc10
supermoc10

I tried out TERA with the Free Trial. The combat is the best combat I've ever seen in an MMO. Unfortunately, I don't think I can get into this game after experience the storylines in SWTOR. I wish other MMOs had a combat system as great as TERA's.

tezopapa
tezopapa

this game sucks in my opinion. only good thing is combat as many other had say it before, no battleground awful outfits, pretty much all the same even at cap lv, unbalance classes that mess up the only good thing (combat), same quests over and over that ask you to kill so many bams, and if you are playing an alt everyone is lv 60 and no one there to help u. pvp stay right next to safe zone. more game content more $ u pay beside the 15$ monthly fee. boring lv 60 area, should make a couple more or add something there to make players wanting to go outside. etc game is really bad. i will wait for B&S

azazelis
azazelis

I love some of the ridiculous comments about this game: "I love the fighting but I hate the grind". So, you want to just be max level? Any RPG is a "grind" since you need to quest/fight to level up.

 

You want a true grind look at Diablo 3. All you do in that game is run around and kill stuff. That's it. There's maybe 3 dozen quests in the whole game. And no PvP...at all, let alone a PvP battleground which the author of this review mentioned as a deterrant to TERA. Yet Diablo 3, even with servers shutting down every other day and an auction house that occasionally works, and still not as originally planned, gets a higher review than this game.

SilentChicken
SilentChicken

Too bad this game started randomly banning people for no reason whatsoever.

Booshon
Booshon

The only thing that is fun at Tera is the combat but............ the game is so boring i couldn't play anymore. I got my archer to lvl 36 and i just can't play its an endles grinding game.

Diernes
Diernes

MMO developers need to take a very close look at TERA, if only for the combat system. It's actually fun.

thelameone
thelameone

While to combat is fun, Tera is soooooo boring in everything else that it's not enough. I truly regret purchasing it.

HaZerDaZer
HaZerDaZer

Im so torn when MMO's come out. I want to try new ones like this, but i'm afraid in the long run i'm going to be wasting my money. I would recommend waiting for Guild Wars 2.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

Kevin-V No worries bro, your rating was good. IGN was good as well. Thanks to all the critics!! keep up the great work Kevin!! =)

MLBknights58
MLBknights58

If I was going to get this game, it was for the combat.  I figured it would make it stand out from the typical MMO slog.  Am I right?

poster012
poster012

Is it just me, or does Kevin's inflection seem a little different?

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

WoW I used to love gamespot, but after the reviews og Ghost recon/Tera/Diablo i'm switching over to IGN!!!

-GunGrave-
-GunGrave-

1 of the worst reviews I've read... which MMO doesnt have bland and generic quests?

Boring early hours ? are u fkin kiddin me ? how dumb is it to say something based on ur personal opinion ?

This game is way more fun then current mmorpg out there.

kdokey
kdokey

 @pete707 Really? You would rate this game and 8 and are complaining about the score of 7.5? That is still a good rating. I can't stand people who bash a reviewer for giving their honest opinion of a game and you don't agree with it. Everyone's opinion of every game is going to be different than yours.

pete707
pete707

Really? 7.5 rating.  This game offers more fundamental gameplay then some other mmorpgs out there and it gets a 7.5.  Gamespot's rating sometimes is sooo BS.  Tera actually is a really fun to play and the combat system is so easy and dynamic in its own way.  Don't bash a game for its generic questing because a lot of games out there do have the "so-called" generic questing.  I am a fan of all rpgs and I think Tera is a great game w/great graphical features.  I would also rate this game an 8 out of 10 just like Keech.  Then again everyone has their own opinion which will not satisfy what others have to say.  If you love playing MMORPGs this will not disappoint you like some others.   

keech
keech

I don't get it, Tera actually brings something new to the genre with the combat and political system (among and handful of other small ones) AND is more polished than most MMO's that have been released over the last year or so.  It gets a 7.5.

 

Yet a game like Rift, which was fun but it pound for pound a WoW clone with one slightly interesting idea gets an 8.0.

 

The Old Republic, a woefully under developed WoW clone that was (according to Bioware) released about 4 months earlier than they would have liked.  Gets an 8.0.

sofbert37
sofbert37

Oh I can't wait for the Diablo3  review on how it's 'gorgeous' and 'revolutionary' and gets 9.5/10 while Tera gets 7.5 Yeah.. because *click* *click* *clickclickclicklickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick* for 100 hours is sooooo amazing. I understand the role that Diablo fills in the gaming world but wow when something comes along that is beautiful and solid and fun to play, they nitpick it for 'bland questing' 

johnwck90
johnwck90

@penpusher Personally I think you get the truth of the nature of a game much faster from comments, I look for them before the review.  They tell you what you need to know immediately!

Rat_King
Rat_King

@cwiza ....Um, where did you read this game wasn't big in Korea? This game was HUGE in Korea and relatively popular in Japan. Now that it's been out a few years over there it's gone down.

So let me answer your first question with another question, did you ever ask yourself why the game was brought to the US in the first place when there were already an abundance of fantasy MMOs??

zneaky
zneaky

 @azazelis

 It's true that you need to level up, but why we had to wait all until now (the 28th of august) for a game that actually makes it fun to level is beyond me, and I can't understand how I could ever play games before, where leveling was so boring and without reward, not to mention how people can now to this day be wasting their time in a game where leveling isn't fun. Thank god those days are soon over.

thorn3000
thorn3000

 @azazelis psssst, it's diablo, it's made by Blizzard, this means protection and fanboy-ism, I would not speak against diablo out loudly unless you want to get hammered by people who played only 2 games during their life - WOW and Diablo 2 - and who claim that these are by far the best games ever and no others cannot possible come close to them (despite the fact they have not tried more than 2-4 games in their lives overall)...but I  rather like it when they say WOW is the best game they have ever played, figures, when they only have played one :)

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @Cozm1kaos Feel free. When you do, you will find that IGN gave Tera a lower score than we did. 

abadgirl84
abadgirl84

 @-GunGrave- "write a review based on personal opinion" is dumb?he should have wrote it based on the chat in game "wow copy wow copy ,did i say this is a wow copy?"

which MMO doesnt have bland and generic quests?- i didnt play many mmos but non asian ones do have.but that's my dumb personal opinion. :p

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @-GunGrave- I know--how dumb that a review would express an opinion. What was I thinking?

 

I can name any number of MMOs that don't have bland, generic quests. In fact, I named several of them in the review. And yes--the opening island is a slog; I know very few players who would call those early hours exciting. 

pete707
pete707

@kdokey I'm sure you read my context of comments thoroughly because if you didn't I did stated that everyone perceived games differently. I hate morons who bashes another persons comment when it was already stated in the their comments. Exactly, I am expressing how I feel about the rating and there is a difference in 7.5 and 8 rating or else it would just be a whole number dipshit. Anyways say what you got to say because at the end of the day its just my opinion. Have fun reading everyones post and replying to what they say.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @pete707 What you mean is, "this game didn't get the score I wanted, so the ratings system must be BS."

 

Is it truly impossible for people to believe that we don't live in a hive mind world where people have different thoughts, feeling, and opinions? 

 

I didn't "bash" Tera for generic questing, but I did critique this particular area. Tera's quests are more generic than even the average modern-day RPG. All you need to do is play, say, Lord of the Rings Online, Fallen Earth, Champions Online, or Age of Conan to understand that MMOs can offer great quest writing and varied tasks. Tera doesn't even try to make these tasks interesting, and its predictable use of the exact same quest structures, over and over, wears thin. Many other RPGs have made laudable attempts at keeping questing interesting. You should give some of them a try! 

abadgirl84
abadgirl84

 @keech "more polished" but launched with missing content hm?

 

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

 @keech Because those were marginally better games at the time they were released. All of those games brought something new to the genre; dismissing Rift as a WoW clone with a single interesting idea is a startling misrepresentation of that game. And TOR is certainly no WoW clone, and brought a number of interesting and unusual ideas to the MMO space. 

 

Tera is a very good game that isn't nearly as different as you claim. It's combat is wonderful--but it's also a single mechanic in a game that is in most other ways very, very traditional.

RankJunkie
RankJunkie

 @sofbert37 Diablo III reviews have not been that favorable actually.  It has been getting 80% across the board

penpusher
penpusher

@johnwck90 I can agree with that to a point. Unfortunately you just can't tell for sure how many of the people who have commented actually have a clue what makes a good game, and who are just being fan boys, or are saying it's bad because of some tiny little thing no one else would notice and then exaggerating, or have only played it for about 10 minutes.

 For such reasons I will always take comments with a massive grain of salt.

zneaky
zneaky

 @thorn3000

I played d2 and loved it. D3 was utter crap though, played around 60 hours, then the mere thought of it made me shiver.

 

Tera I tried on the last beta before it was released, the combat was interesting at first, but after a while I got utterly annoyed by the fact that you're stuck in the animation of every single ability you use. And when the game is about aiming to hit, it's really weird that some abilities are "homing". While the game looks good, nothing else about it is worth spending any money on, simply too boring and too grindy.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

 @Kevin-V It seems like all big gaming websites have gone bad. Having said that, this game rapes SWTOR =) and know I'm not mad because I do very much enjoy the game!!! the combat is so intense it keeps my but checks clentched. I still love Kevin, he was always my fav reviewer .

T3xArmageddon
T3xArmageddon

 @Kevin-V

 I think you should have been a little more detailed with the "bland and generic quest" comment. Yet, I think I will provide an example for you so people can get the point. As much as I would hate to say this, but WoW does offer a few good cases as long with other MMOs I've experienced. For instance, in WoW  they offer protection quest. Yes, you still have to kill monsters, but it isn't narrowed down to kill X and Y. You have to kill the surrounding mobs to protect whoever you are told. I have even seen defend an area or destroy so and so in X amount of time. Personally, I enjoyed these kind of quest the most. In my regards of tera, I wish the best for it. Yet, there are other ways to hold PvP matches than Deathmatch BGs and better ways to construct quests. In addition, this combat system is in no way new to me and is actually fairly similar to a game in 2004 named risk your life. In summary, I just feel this game is laggin behind by today's standard.

pete707
pete707

 @Kevin-V Yea I know I should, but I have my hands tied on a few RPGs already and steam does offer these f2p mmorpgs to download and play.  Maybe one day because at the moment I am paying to play Tera as well as playing mass effect 3, skyrim 3, and two worlds 2 so my mind is set on these particular game until I am very disinterested.  But my point was that all rpgs do have the same elemental layout with the questing, just different within the storyline and combat system.  I'm sure we all get bored of repetitious quest but that is how most rpgs are to me.

Succumbus
Succumbus

 @Kevin-V Comments like this should be common in your field of work, Kevin. Everyone takes to their own opinion and feels the freedom of expression over a chat-roomesque comment system.

 

As you said earlier:

 

"Is it truly impossible for people to believe that we don't live in a hive mind world where people have different thoughts, feeling, and opinions?"

 

There is no limit to expression on full ranges of the spectrum when it comes to opinions, especially on dynamic things like video games.

 

Don't waste your time. Your reviews are refreshing.

keech
keech

 @RankJunkie Umm may wanna check that again.  D3 has an average score of 89 on metacritic.  With 39 positive reviews and ONE average review.  The average review isn't even a legitimate review as he spends a large chunk of the review complaining about the day one congestion and online only nonsense instead of the game itself.

 

Another large chunk of the review is mostly him complaining that he can't ninja loot all the drops and PK anyone he wants anymore.

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

 @pete707 I agree, if not all most RPGS do get repetitive, but that never stops us from playing them. Tera does have the same generic questing as all other RPGS. The only difference I see is you do not have to protect a shrine or save someone. With this in mind, Tera focused more on the combat system, if it is fun killing things why not keep killing them? In this case I do believe Tera is very hard to rate; it just came out and has much more content being added.

TERA More Info

  • First Released
    • PC
    TERA provides all the depth of any MMO including quests, crafting, an intricate plot, PvP, and combines for the first time with the satisfaction and skill of a console action game.
    7.7
    Average User RatingOut of 650 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate TERA
    Developed by:
    Bluehole Studio
    Published by:
    E-Frontier, Atari, Frogster Interactive, En Masse Entertainment, Hangame
    Genres:
    MMO, Role-Playing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence