E3 2018: Hands-on with ReEvolve, Perfect World’s new mobile sandbox MMORPG
Remember how we learned that Perfect World would be showing off some new games at E3? Well, things happen at conventions like this – they don’t always go to plan. My FarSide didn’t materialize, for example. However, ReEvolve did happen, just not without setbacks. Our PR contact, Michael Meyers, did his level best to help me understand what was up with the game, despite the realization that PWE’s Chinese branch hasn’t pushed much information westward just yet. All this could have ended with my not writing anything, but despite it all, enough of the game showed through, and I’m definitely intrigued.
If a sandbox version of something like Adventure Quest 3D exclusively on mobile sounds like your thing, read on.
Back to the future
The game’s basic premise about traveling back in time is what got me curious about the game in the first place. How would the gameplay work with time travel? Would it go with something like the butterfly effect, or maybe the multi-parallel universes model? We don’t know, and neither did Meyers. PWE’s factsheet sadly left out details about the story and focused on basic gameplay, which Meyers was very willing to show off, as even the above story trailer was reserved for the TV the streamers were using.
ReEvolve is Perfect World’s first mobile-specific MMO. It’s an action RPG with survival sandbox elements. The touch controls are for landscape play, with the left side working as a joystick and the right side reserved for actions, though you can play with a bluetooth gamepad. For PC fans, Meyers was unable to comment on whether or not the game will run on emulators like Bluestacks, so you may be out of luck – we’ll see.
Combat was decent, though I think I was in an area far too difficult for me. While mounted combat makes you stronger since your pet not only makes you faster but adds its own attacks to yours, I was quickly defeated and got to see the EverQuest/World of Warcraft-esque ghost-run-of-shame back to my corpse. As my pet died, I also had to revive it, which took a few minutes to pull off, giving me further incentive to not let my mount (or myself) die.
Your “MPD” acts as your mining pick, sickle, axe, etc, all rolled into one, helping you to “absorb” elements from everything –grass, trees, rocks– to make things like armor, weapons, and forts.
Yes, forts. Yes, PvP. Yes, siege warfare. But no, this isn’t an open-world PvP gankbox. Meyers even told me he thinks the housing system is safe and that you elect to join in. What’s nice is that he did hear the developers mention that sieges won’t be 24/7, so you don’t have to worry about 4 a.m. raids. However, he didn’t have the exact details.
Don’t worry, PvE fans, as the game also has an ecosystem. Animals move in packs and have predators, and day/night cycles and weather affect what animals are out and about. The temperature also matters, so yes, if you’re in a hot place, you’re gonna need to cool off. You can eat food not only to stave off hunger, but to help manage your temperature, so eat a melon to help stay cool. Quests may send you to hostile environments, so they’re not just there for explorers or thrill-seeking builders.
Pets/mounts (they’re kind of combined) are received through quests (no clue if they can be received as drops). For example, in order to get the elk, you receive a quest that tells you take a wild elk down to a certain amount of health and “absorb” it, the mechanic usually used for gathering. It’s an interesting idea for “taming” that makes me wonder once again about the details of ReEvolved’s story.
You may also notice from the above video that the game isn’t limited to just the 2.5 perspective most mobile MMOs force on you. While I may tolerate it in MOBAs and some RTS games (and some early classics), it’s usually a huge turnoff for me. Having a more tradtional third-person perspective makes it much easier for the game to stand out to me as PC/console gamer. I may try mobile titles, but with few exceptions, the perspective alone stops me from even trying certain titles, and I wonder if maybe a few readers feel the same.
The game is set to release in China in the fourth quarter of this year, with a global release planned for a mere few months after that in early 2019. I know some people complain about “Asian” import games, but Meyers said he felt Perfect World was aiming for a global market, and so far, that definitely shows. Granted, there’s still no monetization model set in stone, and there were a few English language issues in our build, but nothing else stood out that made me worry about localization issues.
Sadly, the demo was single-player, which was actually a bit stressful for the local server. I asked how multiplayer was handled in the game, and while Meyers didn’t have the full information, such as server size, he did mention that the action combat will remain. And there’s no asynchronous AI control of people on your friend’s list, just actual real-time MMO goodness. With any luck, we’ll hopefully get some hands-on time with ReEvolve (and maybe even FarSide) before launch and help fill in the gaps in our collective information.