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[Review] City of Steam: Lacking the Inspiration to Be Something More

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,649MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

We've been playing Mechanist Games' City of Steam for the past few weeks and have been sharing some thoughts in our Review in Progress articles. Both articles were preparation for today's official review. See what we think of City of Steam and then leave us your thoughts in the comments.

City of Steam grabs players aesthetically right from the start with one of the most beautiful original soundtracks in the MMO space today. Daniel Sadowski's work is simply magnificent and evokes a sense of steampunk. If you've heard any of his work, you understand what is meant by that statement. It's got a haunting and spectral quality that also prods players to action with a sense of urgency underlying the peaceful overtones.

Read more of Suzie Ford's City of Steam Review.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • SuntasticSuntastic San Diego, CAPosts: 9Member

    I totally agree with you Suzie (omg did a donkey just fly?). As a steampunk fan, I've been trying my hardest to like this game. Sadly, there's not much to like after the first hour. Everything just feels the same. I found myself going afk for long periods of time, because the game just could not hold my attention.

    I think the straw that broke the camels back for me was the cash shop. The game has no shame. One look at the cash shop and you immediately know what they're all about. This is the stereotypical cash grabbing, steal your mom's credit card, f2p game that give the genre a bad rep.

    I waited so long to play this game and the only good thing I found out because of it is that I will never play another f2p game again. I'd rather pay $15 a month and get all the content and professionalism of AAA mmo. Reference Final Fantasy XIV



     

  • AcorniaAcornia Spring Lake, RIPosts: 176Member

    I would have to agree about your overview and rating of the game.

     

    Some things that I have seen that are game rating down grades for me.

         They are seem to be slow in patching fixes for quest breaking bugs, such at the gate opener in last part of Break Eggs quest where instead of opening the gate it acts like a vault drop box giving you items and money.  This has been happening for last two or three weeks.

     

         Around levels 8 you start to run out of new quests and are sent on guests that are two to five levels above you.  I am now seeing this happening with my level 20 being sent to level 22 to 24 dungeons.

     

    Over all the game is fun but could be so much better.

  • KrightonKrighton Anaheim, CAPosts: 72Member

    Extremely low budget World of Warcraft knock-off. How is it, that humanity's taste and desire has slipped to the very bottom? Do we not have standards anymore? Has anyone not seen the latest games, game engines that are available in 2013?

    Well, as they say, appeal to the dumbest person in the room, you know everyone can do it.

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,925Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Krighton

    Extremely low budget World of Warcraft knock-off. How is it, that humanity's taste and desire has slipped to the very bottom? Do we not have standards anymore? Has anyone not seen the latest games, game engines that are available in 2013?

    Well, as they say, appeal to the dumbest person in the room, you know everyone can do it.

    ... so according to this logic, I should assume an auto mobile is a cheap knock off of a postage envelop? Since they both can be used to hold something despite being VASTLY different? Just curious since that WoW remark seemed just as far fetched and silly and made absolutely NO SENSE.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    I probably agree with the article. I thought the world was cool. More than cool in fact. If you have a chance, watch the fly through of the gear driven world. The steam punk element was pretty well done too. Steam punk is largely a visual, artistic thing, and they've pretty much got it nailed.

    The game play just feels like any other game though. Even if the world and the quests are pretty inspired, the rest of the game play feels like I've "been there and done that". Only it was in the browser with a kind of wonky control scheme.

    I think they did a good job, and I think they could take the game someplace good, especially with the open world areas, but I don't think it's there yet.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • OmaliOmali MMO Business Correspondent Orchard Park, NYPosts: 1,114Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Krighton

    Extremely low budget World of Warcraft knock-off. How is it, that humanity's taste and desire has slipped to the very bottom? Do we not have standards anymore? Has anyone not seen the latest games, game engines that are available in 2013?

    Well, as they say, appeal to the dumbest person in the room, you know everyone can do it.

    I think I need a nap after trying to wrap my brain around this stretch.

    Check out my monthly column on MMORPG.com.

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  • VocadiVocadi SH, MIPosts: 205Member

    Sadly I agree. Actually alot of the pitfalls and downsides in this game, ie character customization and boring combat were quite the opposite in closed beta. I had more fun in the beta versions than the final release for COS. They changed and homogenized so much of the game that it lost its spark and in turn lost me.

    I was disappointed because I really was rooting for this indie steampunk game to work. It seems when Reality Squared picked up COS  it is also when all the joy and excitement was taken out as well. The cash shop, the repetitive scenery and grind, the inclusion of the energy system ( a finite resource that once used up must be refilled by finding rare dropping energy potions or purchasing in store). Another example of business models and the bottom line overriding and erasing enjoyable gameplay.

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  • achesomaachesoma Portland, ORPosts: 1,000Member Uncommon
    Plays like a poorly made Diablo or Torchlight.  Looks, feels, and plays like a very cheap game.  Another neat concept used as a cheap money grab. 

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  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon

    "Game has quite nice music and doesn't crash. Play is repetitive and boring and the Cash Shop is horrendous."

    But, it is F2P !!

    So suddenly an awful game get's an above average score (6/10) because, being free, it gives "good value for money" ?

    wtf ?

     

    This is the worst side-effect of F2P, imho. Nobody cares if the game is good or bad anymore, just as long as it's F2P...

  • RazeeksterRazeekster Solon, MEPosts: 2,201Member Uncommon
    I so wanted to like this game because I've been waiting for a good steampunk MMO forever... It looks like that's just a dream as no gaming company wants to create an AAA steampunk MMO... The saddest part of it all is this game was actually fun to play in CB, but when R2Games started hosting it the game was completely changed. The developers should be ashamed of themselves for such an obvious sell out such as this.

     

    Smile

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,221Member Uncommon

    Good review Suzie.  Thanks.

    I'm still disappointed in the title.  Everyone has already hit on the main problems of repetition and blandness.   Like you and others have said it was a lot more fun in the alpha and early beta stages than it is now and it had far less content to enjoy at that point.

    Somewhere something went horribly wrong.  Mechanist has made a few key and abysmal design changes.  R2 is one of the worst publishers in the industry and has adversely affected the design and feel of the game despite claims otherwise by Mechanist.  Seriously, if R2 can make Nexon and Frogster look generous, something is very wrong.

    The deeper problem is that Mechanist has chosen to stubbornly keep some of their worst feature changes.  The "energy" system is a direct design ripoff of Facebook / Zynga style energy depletion schemes they use as a monetizing angle.  They shifted from a world where you could solo, group, craft, collect, or pvp and basically do what you want to a very linear funneled "force-group" gear treadmill style.  I think the latter, combined with the gutting of features from key systems (armour mods, collections, etc) really took the devotion and drive out of the core supporters.

    This is one of a few Indie titles that have left me feeling burnt.  I'm not so enthusiastic about Indies now and am even more cautious about claims they make.

  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,437Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by SpottyGekko

    "Game has quite nice music and doesn't crash. Play is repetitive and boring and the Cash Shop is horrendous."

    But, it is F2P !!

    So suddenly an awful game get's an above average score (6/10) because, being free, it gives "good value for money" ?

    wtf ?

     

    This is the worst side-effect of F2P, imho. Nobody cares if the game is good or bad anymore, just as long as it's F2P...

    If you think 6/10 is an above average score...you don't read a lot of reviews. a 5.9/10 would be considered mediocre by most sites. While 5 is the median score, it is not the average.

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  • wowclonezwowclonez Scripps Ranch, CAPosts: 74Member
    Thanks for the review Suzie nice read. How many hours did you put in BTW out of curiosity? Haven't tried it out yet, not sure if I want to now hehe. Well written, industry needs to step it up, glad MMORPG keeps it real with the reviews.
  • gatherisgatheris Charlotte, MIPosts: 995Member Uncommon

    "It's hard to underrate a free-to-play title and for that reason alone, the game scores above average"

     

    there is something wrong here

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  • xaritscinxaritscin CaliPosts: 349Member
    another example of why developers should sell their games by their own, isntead of selling it like a slave to a publisher........
     
  • BuddyDudeBuddyDude Seattle, WAPosts: 47Member

    The cash shop made me leave 5 minutes into the game. Free to play games are quickly turning into "free, but dude, you won't get anything fun unless you pay" games.  Either that or they just flat out pay to win rubbish.

     

    Cash grab junk

     

    /next game

  • spawn12345spawn12345 MalmöPosts: 140Member Uncommon

    It was actually good in cb and needed just more tuning and content.

    But after the sell out to r2 the game went to shit

  • Tryn2behave2Tryn2behave2 Philadelphia, PAPosts: 22Member
    R2 killed CoS. 
  • ManmacManmac PiarioPosts: 3Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tryn2behave2
    R2 killed CoS. 

    This is the reason.Before R2,game was nice with more quests,nice game concepts ready to be in game.Now is so plain,that is a shame because game would have potential

  • DolnorDolnor Escondido, CAPosts: 26Member

    I put funding money into this game in both the Alpha and Beta stages... because the game was unique, fun, challenging.  It also had "heart & soul" from the Developers.  Everything was done in the "steam-powered" motif.  Examples: The skill tree was brass pipes with meters and cylinders to fill, weapons had many attributes with which you could add and level...each piece adding to the overall appearance of the weapon, the back story/lore was well fleshed out, etc.

     

    When the game came to publishing, the choice of R² Games to publish for North America...something changed.  The flavor/soul seemed to be leached out.  Gone were the "steam-powered" details.  Skill menus reverted into a "spreadsheet table", weapons options were seriously limited/removed, the "lore" became static, etc.

     

    It seems that if I want to play the original "vision" of City of Steam, I need to learn the Turkish language and play it over there on their servers.

     

    TQQdles™,

     

    Dolnor Numbwit

    Eternal Testing Newbie

  • scrittyscritty WorcesterPosts: 89Member

    Cash Shop? Ok I normally susbcribe to the opunion "If you can't afford it don't play the game" People can charge what they like. Right?

    But the cash shop here is staggering. Basic stuff that players will probably really want/need invntory, XP, speed. WOW we are talking like $100 - $150 dollars to get to the stage where the game just has the artificial restrictions removed, something that all but the most "grind happy" player is likely to want to do.

    Almost $150 dollars up front to get the game to play like one that costs $15 a month.

    If you KNOW you are going to love this game then fair enough - stump up and play.

     

    If you love the grind, constant shuffling of inventory - slow movemnt  - crawl level advancement - then play F2P

    If you are unsure or not in either camp then I'd read a few more reviews and get an idea before deciding.

    MMORPG is one of those sites that seems to promote F2P just "because it's F2P" - becasue "free" has gotta be better than "paying" right?

     

    This is another in an increasing number of games that shows that is just not the case.

    Throwing in $5 or $10 a month while I'm playing a game to get a few bits and pieces that help faster progressing or inventory or whatever?- Great I'm with that!.

    But really needing to lay down a 3 figure sum just to get  a F2P game to feel and play like a $10 a month subscription game? That's not a financial model that is going to win me over as a player.

    Scritty



     

  • esiegeesiege Roseville, CAPosts: 13Member

    Originally posted by Dolnor

    I put funding money into this game in both the Alpha and Beta stages... because the game was unique, fun, challenging.  It also had "heart & soul" from the Developers.  Everything was done in the "steam-powered" motif.  Examples: The skill tree was brass pipes with meters and cylinders to fill, weapons had many attributes with which you could add and level...each piece adding to the overall appearance of the weapon, the back story/lore was well fleshed out, etc.

     

    When the game came to publishing, the choice of R² Games to publish for North America...something changed.  The flavor/soul seemed to be leached out.  Gone were the "steam-powered" details.  Skill menus reverted into a "spreadsheet table", weapons options were seriously limited/removed, the "lore" became static, etc.

     

    It seems that if I want to play the original "vision" of City of Steam, I need to learn the Turkish language and play it over there on their servers.

     

    TQQdles™,

     

    Dolnor Numbwit

    Eternal Testing Newbie

    This makes me sad to hear, and I see it again and again with so many mmos.  

    You probably get one little fool in UAT translation that is confused by how to use the pipes on the interface, the business minds force a redesign a week before ship and the frustrated programmer whips together some half assed chunk of code based off a blurb in a managers email.  MMO Factory 2013

  • SubhawkSubhawk Campbell River, BCPosts: 6Member

    As many have already stated, the Alpha and Beta were absolutely wonderful, and needed only a few minor tweaks to make a great game. Enter R2 games, and all of a sudden there came the energy system (which the devs said was temporary, which was an obvious lie). The very unique and complex modding system, with different number and types of mods on each weapon (2H weapons had 16 mod slots), with each different mod (around 20 total I think) giving a different stat boost, and also raising the level of the weapon to keep a semblance of balace got replaced with shapes, and only 3 slots per gear piece with pre-determined random types… so no more choosing what you want unless the gear with the right slots drops. This was because they said the old system was too complex, so they dumbed it down (read- kids with mommy's credit card had to actually work to be powerful, so it changed to make it easier to buy power and not make them use their precious few brain cells). 

    Honestly, after using the North American Market to fund their development, they have decided to stop listening to the people who funded it and changed the game to suit the Asian Marketplace, which is typically a P2W system that will keep the game alive for a year or two, then get replaced with another one.

    Mechanist turned a great game into another sloppy MMO just for the sake of a quick buck. They lost all respect from most of the original backers, and a few original staff reportedly also left after this drastic change in game direction and vision. This is too bad.. it had so much potential, but was ruined by R2 and their greed to milk as much money as possible.  I’m surprised you even gave it a 5.9/10… more like a 3/10 After their “launch”.. Alpha and Closed Beta would have been 8/10.



     

  • jonp200jonp200 Veazie, MEPosts: 126Member Uncommon
    This review is spot-on.   I followed this game for some time, logged in twice for a few hours and will not be back.  That's really too bad.  All the elements are there but fail in the execution.

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  • DeKannasDeKannas Lincoln, NEPosts: 1Member

    CoS fails to deliver on expectations

    Unless you have a lot of money to throw away DON'T BOTHER TO PLAY THIS GAME. The game presents the opportunity to buy your way to the top rather than through skillful gameplay. Total pay to play environment. Overall the game itself is full of bugs and connectivity problems. Do not waste your time or money on this baked over Diablo wanna be. Quests even with current patch are repetitive and boring. What a major disappointment.

    Another issue that has arisen is the GM's for the game play on the same server they administer. Even if they are the most honest person in the world it still leads to feelings of cheating and bias. I suppose it would make a difference if the GM's weren't all in the number 1 company on the west coast server. In all my years in the MMORPG genre I have never seen the like.

    With connectivity issues bugs and ethical concerns this game has fallen far from the mark from which we all looked towards when it was released. So at this time the rating of 5.8 is far too high and should be ammended to something more like 2.8 to 3.0 at best.

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