It’s not every day you get to ride and fight on huge winged beasts or tame cute and fierce familiars to aid you in battle, but in Riders of Icarus you can do just that. The latest free to play fantasy MMORPG allows you to tame a broad variety of creatures great and small. Made by Korean based developer WeMade Entertainment and published by Nexon, Riders of Icarus entitles you to live out all of your wildest MMO fantasies.
At first glance, Riders of Icarus is a ‘by the book’ fantasy MMORPG filled with awe-inspiring scenery and dangerous creatures. You’re presented with a story that’s less than gripping. However, the purpose of Riders of Icarus isn’t to fulfil a riveting plot point. It’s the mounts. The mount-collecting MMORPG may look very similar to other popular games within its genre, but it differs considerably once you factor in its taming gameplay mechanics. Upon completing the game’s prologue and a series of true to form MMO fetch quests, you’ll be prompted to tame your first beast. Making brute monsters your minions in Riders of Icarus is no easy feat. To successfully tame an animal you’ll be encouraged to jump onto its back and complete a series of quick-time events to subdue it. Once you get the hang of utilising this skill, Riders of Icarus becomes a refreshingly fun and unique instalment to the MMORPG genre. You’ll find yourself wanting to tame anything and everything that catches your eye in the vast open landscape. It’s like the Pokémon of the MMORPG world, where a constant need to ‘collect em all’ starts to consume your inner core.
If you’re bored or unhappy with a particular mount you’ve caught, Riders of Icarus allows you to turn these mounts into familiars. These familiars do more than just fol-low you around like the dull vanity pets acquired in a lot of MMOs. The familiars in Riders of Icarus can play a vital role in combat. They can follow your commands to either attack a target or defend you against enemies. The introduction of familiars and mounts in Riders of Icarus is exceptional, but it wouldn’t be a true MMO without the grind. You’ll start out small by taming modest, common creatures. Ultimately you’ll see a lot of fellow players in the game with bigger and cooler looking mounts than what you have on deck, and you’ll jealously eye them off, wondering where and how they tamed such monsters.
Besides the wondrous prospect of catching and taming wild beasts, Riders of Icarus fundamentally works just like any other MMORPG. You select a class, customise your character, and begin the game. There are five classes to choose from starting with the Berserker, Guardian, Assassin, Priest and the Wizard. These classes are categorised into a difficulty setting. The Berserker class is labelled the easiest of the five to wield, while seasoned MMORPG players may take a liking to the Wizard class, that’s designated to the ‘very hard’ difficulty setting. The different classes presented within Riders of Icarus feel truly dynamic, with a unique set of skills and weapons.
The emphasis of mount collecting in Riders of Icarus is creative and distinguishable from other MMORPGs. When you’re not distracted by trying to tame anything that moves, completing quests and attaining loot can prove to be a gratifying ex-perience as well. Riders of Icarus has had a batch of mixed reviews, being compared all too closely to the drawbacks of NCSOFT’s Aion. Despite its criticisms, Riders of Icarus is free to play, so there’s nothing to lose except bandwidth if you decide to take to the skies and embark on your mount collecting journey.
Riders of Icarus is currently in open beta and free to play on Steam. Check it out here.
Sunita Osborne is a freelance journalist for PN2. Go say hi @SunitaOsborne