Publisher: Masthead Studios
Developer: Masthead Studios
System requirements: Windows XP SP2/Vista SP1/Win 7, 2.4+ GHz Single Core CPU, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB NVIDIA 7800GT+/ATI Radeon 9800 SE or better graphics card, 20 GB hard-drive space, high-bandwidth Internet connection (DSL, Cable)
ESRB rating: Not rated at press time
Release Date: February 4, 2011
Gamers have feeding frenzies on games with post-apocalyptic world settings; our imaginations love the idea of being a hero in a world that’s plummeted into despair. Television, film and games all manage to keep us sucked in, and most of us tend to love the genre, with the usual few haters who don’t. During the past few months, if you’ve been searching random sites about games, you found the Earthrise banner. If you’re anything like me, you’ll likely notice a woman in a seemingly tight leather outfit with a gun holstered, beckoning you to click the link and find out what Earthrise is. This only leaves two major questions in my mind: What is Masthead Studios’ new MMO all about, and how soon before I can kill something?
Earthrise is a sci-fi MMORPG set in a world that is in ruin but is slowly rebuilding. The timeline begins somewhere after World War III. Humans, being the resourceful survivalists that we are, have managed to overcome and start civilization anew. The new world man has created is a technological wonderland filled with clones and what is seemingly paradise. With a utopia surrounding you, everything must be perfect, or so you would think. The main government, known as Sal Vitas, are the ones in control of the cloning processes, and they rule with an iron fist. Ultimately becoming villainous and controlling the fate of humans, Sal Vitas encounters armed insurgents who later become a formal rebellion government called Noir. The question is, whose side are you on?
Graphically speaking, thus far Earthrise truly is a wonderland. There’s barely any real character customization, but that’s OK because the models are phenomenal. As you awaken into the world as a new clone known as a “Reborn,” you find yourself on a cold metallic platform that leads to a teleporter, starting you on your journey. With computer terminals and assistance robots scattered around, you begin several quests that teach you how to move, and you obtain your first set of armor. Later is where the fun begins with combat training in various forms, which I personally had been eagerly anticipating. As a player, you might notice that, unlike most MMORPGs, you don’t have a class. It’s an interesting approach by Masthead, allowing you to choose what skills you think will be useful to learn in this world. It almost takes me home to Ultima.
As far as a game goes, I’m not sure exactly what to expect to see in the future from Earthrise. I’m quick to judge as an MMO purist, but what I’ve seen so far is both surprising and intriguing to me as a strict fantasy-genre player. With a blend of RPG and third-person shooter elements topped with science fiction, Masthead Studios could have a winner on their hands, and this feat alone is pretty impressive for an independent developer. Earthrise goes live on February 4 for the price of $49.99 USD. There will be a digital download and a boxed version available through the website (see above). If you’re finding yourself bored of what’s on your gaming plate, this game might just be the change you’ve been seeking.