A Look At GRAVITY's Awesomely Bloody Requiem

Chris "Pwyff" Tom checked out Requiem: Bloodymare - one of the first MMOs of the horror genre. Did he find it to be HORRORable? Read on and find out!

As my beloved MMO industry gets more and more saturated with all sorts of micro-transaction cash grabs and mini 'low resource' (aka cheap) MMOs, I find that the genres available for experimentation are gradually thinning out as well. For some companies, oversaturation of a specific MMO genre is not a problem, but most producers would agree that, once a genre and style has been 'done,' many developers would rather not follow in their footsteps. Personally, while I would be very happy if we all just stayed far, far away from making more superhero MMOs, I really would appreciate it if all of you developers out there would just ignore Requiem: Bloodymare, and just go on thinking that nobody has made a decent horror MMORPG as of yet. If you are a developer reading this, and you're struggling to find an unexplored MMO genre, take a shot at the horror MMO! As long as everything doesn't remind me of vampires, I think there's a lot of potential here.

Well, that's a little bit harsh, but I'll explain myself. I originally downloaded Requiem: Bloodymare because it was developed by GRAVITY, the developers of my ever-so-awesome Ragnarok Online. I had originally heard of Requiem about a year ago. When it launched on June 19th, 2008; it had advertised itself as a 'horror' MMO that utilized the Havok engine to create some ultra gory game play. I would have tried the game back then, but I also heard the odd rumour from various sources that the game was actually pay to play, rather than free to play with microtransactions, as I had hoped. I probably should have investigated further, but since these are the same guys who made my Ragnarok Online pay to play (and subsequently forced me to send in a money order by mail every month since I had no credit card), I figured that this was just another fun game developed by GRAVITY that I would be missing out on because of my strict "only pay one monthly MMO fee at a time" rule. This was before I worked at ZAM!

Either way, I managed to snag Requiem when I was perusing some MMOs that I hadn't checked out, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my assumptions about the game's payment model had been completely wrong, so, officially speaking here: yes, the game is free to play. Upon eagerly downloading and installing the game, however, I began to get an ominous feeling. Perhaps it's the fact that art team can't seem to draw a character without drenching them in blood, or maybe it's just my anti-Twilight sentiments surfacing at the mere suggestion of vampirism, but either way, I just found that I wasn't as enthusiastic to play Requiem as I was a year ago, when I believed that I couldn't afford it (in a sense).

Was I right?

Well, maybe I'll start with some positives here: whatever form of game play problems the game suffers from, I will say that it utilizes the Havok engine in an extremely effective manner. It seems like the everyone has about five times more blood than their body can hold, and if you should ever kill a monster, or are killed yourself, prepare to be treated to a veritable explosion of blood, guts and gore as the offending Deer, Imp or Tentacle-thing makes sure that your clothes will never return to their original whiteness.

Unfortunately, where the game goes to excess in explosive monster deaths, they find themselves lacking in equal parts when it comes to actual depth of game play. Players are thrown into an apocalyptic world with horrendous beasties roaming the countryside, but there is no initial player interaction outside of the two pages of dialogue (telling you how to move). It was only after looking around online and wandering around for a bit that I found out that I was, literally, expected to kill monsters until level 7. Maybe I'm being picky here but I don't think so! Even Ragnarok Online, an eight year old game built on the premise of killing things endlessly, had the foresight to throw in an optional tutorial section!

Requiem also suffers from a fairly sterile form of gameplay and combat; there is nothing innovative about this standard point and click combat system, aside from the fact that your target ends up exploding on you at the end even if you use a sword! While I will admit that the combat system is very smooth, something that most F2P MMOs fail to be, it doesn't help that Requiem, in standard GRAVITY fashion, expects you to auto attack your way to level 10 for your first job change and, by extension, your first ability.

The final problem I have with the game is that it's really not that scary. To me, a horror MMORPG is one that blends suspense with freaky monsters and throws in everything that makes for a terrifying atmosphere. Unfortunately, GRAVITY seems to have learned nothing from their original success, as they seem to have kept the frustrating monster grind and lack of character immersion, but now they no longer have SoundTeMP, one of the best video game music composer groups around, pumping out awesome atmospheric tracks and the game is distinctly missing the cutesy factor of Ragnarok Online that made you forget all of your problems. All that's left is a gorgeous graphics engine and a game whose definition of 'horror' is to make everything explode into blood and guts.

All in all, while Requiem: Bloodymare definitely has more polish and graphical goodness than your average MMORPG (thanks to the Havok engine), it falls short in the fact that it's fairly shallow in execution, and it just doesn't feel like they want to immerse you within the game. The genre of horror is really about empathy and evoking terror, but everything here is just so over the top (graphically) that it's difficult to empathize with anything. The game is enjoyable as a mindless grind fest, but, unlike my exalted Ragnarok Online, I suspect that the novelty factor will run out very soon.


Christopher "Pwyff" Tom


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there is
# Aug 10 2009 at 1:57 AM Rating: Decent
nothing wrong with vampires... Ann Rice did them extremely well. I do not think twilight was such a bad movie that it gave vampires a bad name.. i mean come on the only reason people hate that movie so much(IMO) is because it was so popular. Think about it. I tried Requiem.. it ran like crap on my computer.. i dont believe the it's engine was optimized very well.
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