[stat=Free to Play]Yes[/stat]
[stat=Download Size]NA[/stat]
[/review]I’ve always regretted that I never really got the chance to experience any of the truly old-school MMORPGs. Back when those games were in their prime, I was strictly a console gamer: the first title I ever played was Megaman 5. When I first heard about Tibia, I decided I might as well give it a try. I mean, I’m only sixteen years late, right? How much could have changed?

Hoo, boy. I had no idea what I was in for. 

The first thing I noticed – and the first thing most of you are likely to notice – about Tibia is that it’s graphically simplistic, with an interface that’s more than a little clunky. It features no audio whatsoever, with attack animations that are unimpressive, at best. It is, quite literally, a callback to a simpler time. 

With that in mind, it should immediately be clear that Tibia’s most definitely not a game for everyone. If you’re in the mood for a more hardcore experience, you should likely stop reading here. Tibia most assuredly isn’t for you. Best to move on to a more modern title. 

If, however, you’re aiming for a more nostalgic experience, Tibia’s most definitely got what you’re looking for. 

Upon first logging in, you’ll be greeted by a series of tutorial quests that’ll teach you the ropes of the game, introducing you to the world in the process.There’s a lot to learn, so you’re going to be here for a while: until level eight, actually. Once you’ve reached that point, you’ll be given the choice between one of four different vocations – Druid, Sorcerer, Knight, and Paladin. Sorcerers are masters of aggressive magic, while druids focus on healing and defense. Meanwhile, Knights are melee specialists, while paladins focus on a combination of distance combat and magic. 

Not surprisingly, the spell-casting classes tend to be far more complex, with a focus on producing magical effects through either runes or latin chants. The Berserk spell, for example, is evoked by typing in exori, while Brutal Strike requires the invocation exori ico. It’s a very interesting touch, and I love the level of flexibility that it adds to the game’s magic system. That said, it makes playing a spellcaster considerably more complex than a more physically-oriented class. Combined with the more vulnerable nature of magic-oriented characters, I’d encourage newer players to stick with Knight, or maybe Paladin.

Once you’ve selected a class, you’re pretty much turned loose on the world. True to form, Tibia offers very little guidance to players: exploration is the best way to discover the world around you, though it’s quite easy to blunder into an area where you’ve no business being. That’s part of the fun though, right?

Also of note is the way players interact with NPCs. Instead of just skimming through quest dialogue, players are encouraged to use keywords to interact. This adds a new layer to the game beyond simply clicking through the motions, though it can get a touch tedious. 

The free-to-play elements are quite skillfully implemented, as well. For a small subscription fee, you can upgrade your account to Premium, giving you access to new areas of the world, new items, and access to player housing which can be visited by other players and customized as you see fit. It’s a nice cap on the experience – on a more personal note, it’s also refreshing to see a game that actually does free to play right after reviewing so many that do it wrong. 

Now, given the game’s age, it definitely isn’t without its faults. As I’ve already said, the interface tends to feel sluggish and clunky, while characters move at a painstaking pace across the map. Basically…it hasn’t really aged all that well.

Of course, whether or not that’s a problem ultimately depends on your personal taste. While some people might find Tibia to be slow, difficult, and thoroughly frustrating, others will appreciate going back to a time before World of Warcraft was even a glimmer in its developer’s eyes. Either way, I’d recommend giving it a try – you might find yourself pleasantly surprised at the results.