[stat=Free to Play]Yes[/stat]
[/review]Panzar was another game that looked incredibly promising, right up to the point that I actually started playing it. On the surface, it looks like a winner. Though the graphics are admittedly a little rugged, it purports to offer a combination of well-designed, action-oriented combat, a beautifully and intricately detailed fantasy world, and a huge variety of player tactics and strategies; all tied together with a powerfully dynamic system of team-based PVP.
The story of Panzar (which admittedly cribs a fair bit off the Warhammer franchise) involves a post-apocalyptic world surrounded by oceans of chaos, in which four distinct races wage war on one another in the name of a pantheon of cruel, uncaring gods. You’ve got your grim, determined humans, who rely on skill and faith; the brutal, violent orcs; the technologically advanced dwarves and the enigmatic and magical elves. All in all, it’s pretty vanilla, but it works well in the context of the game.
On first logging in, you’ll be prompted to create a character from one of eight different classes. The character you select will grow in power as you play them, and can be equipped with an array of different items. Each class has its own distinct strengths, weaknesses, and style; a dwarven Sapper will play very differently from a human Inquisitor, who will have little in common with an elven Sister of Fire. Unfortunately, these differences all too often seem to take the form of glaring balance issues, which are only exacerbated by Panzar’s clear pay-to-win nature. Through the in-game cash shop, players are able to purchase just about anything in-game at a premium. That includes gear that would take weeks (and sometimes even months) to grind for otherwise.
That’s not even the worst part, either. Panzar’s matchmaking system is, at the current moment, horribly slanted. By the time you reach tenth level, you’ll likely be going up against people who are twice that. If you’ve not splurged on better gear, there’s virtually no way you’ll be capable of winning such a match-up. While you theoretically could invest hours upon days upon weeks into the game to get yourself on even footing (fighting an uphill battle the whole time, I might add), there seems to be little point when there are so many better alternatives on the market.
Stability was another huge problem I encountered while playing Panzar. During the tutorial alone, the game crashed twice on me; during my first match, it actually managed to overheat my graphics card and blue-screen my computer. In the year-and-a-half I’ve owned the system, it is the first and only game to have done so. Panzar looks pretty good, true…but not hardware-meltingly good.
On the topic of presentation, let’s talk for a moment about Panzar’s voice acting. It’s bad. Like, beyond B-Movie bad. Though the characters in-game give off an occasional believable line, most of the voice-work sounds very much like it was done on an extremely constrained budget. That doesn’t really have a huge negative impact on the gameplay, of course, but feels indicative of the larger problems with the game all the same.
The combat’s the high point of Panzar, but it’s still not enough to save it from its poorly-conceptualized matchmaking system and obvious pay-to-win money-grubbery. As a result, while it might provide enjoyment for at least a few hours, it’s not exactly difficult to find better ways to spend your time.