by: William Usher
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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A review for the free-to-play, MMOFPS that sees players manning various vehicles as they fight other players to control the Outlands.
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Terra Online Review - From The Wasteland To The Outland
Terra: Battle for the Outland is an old-school indie MMOFPS that actually fits the bill as a legitmate massive multiplayer online first-person shooter. All the action takes place on giant, polygonal hillsides and spacious outlands with a variety of vehicles to choose from.
The game feels like a classic throwback to underground hits like LHX Attack Chopper or Accolade’s vehicular first-person shooter, Redline. Terra is a gutsy shooter that nails down all the basics to make it enjoyable enough for those willing to put in the time and dedication to learn the ins and out of the gameplay, but I’m afraid it’s somewhat complex take on a simple genre may detour a lot of gamers in the direction of something more accessible.
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Terra Online Review - Concept
Terra (not to be confused with the next-gen title, TERA Online) puts gamers in the role of a soldier fighting for one of two opposing sides vying to control the outlands. Much like Battlefield Heroes or Star Wars: Battlefront, the game revolves around capturing control points, as well as building up defenses to ensure that other players don’t take it over, easily.
It’s not that there are a ton of games out there using the concept of Terra that makes it seem so passé for this; it’s that the approach to the concept feels dated and retro in execution. In some regards, the whole thing may feel like a glorified Sega Genesis game at times. Now, this isn't inherently a bad thing, but more-so it has to do with fumbling around with a lot of the game’s mechanics, which can put off anyone who isn’t a die-hard fan of all the button pressing and gauge flipping found in most sci-fi movies from the 1980s.
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Graphics And Sound
The visuals of Terra aren’t something to brag about, but let’s face the fact that it’s an indie MMO with a minuscule download time and takes only seconds to boot-up. I can’t rag on a game too much if it promises to put players in the game quickly right after registering, and Terra manages to do so with flying colors. Gamers who don’t have or can’t afford a high-end PC can run Terra with ease. The visuals are extremely standard-fare, with basic vehicle designs and pretty much no lighting techniques employed whatsoever.
As for the sound…there is no music. It’s no surprise given that additional music would have only increased the download/game size. Nevertheless, the ambient sound of combat and the vehicle and gun effects are handled with enough attention to at least keep gamers fairly entertained as they trek across the desert getting from one base to the next or shooting feverously at opponents.
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Terra Battle For The Outland Review - Gameplay
The entire game takes place in first person. Much like any other tank game out there, including the upcoming World of Tanks, most of what players need in order to excel at being expert killing machines can be performed from inside a vehicle with the hud. Switching weapons, firing weapons, throttle, etc., can each be performed with the simple click of a mouse button.
While targeting and firing was quite easy, I found that it was difficult to lock-on and use certain armament effectively, such as the heat seeking missiles. Still, the core gameplay mechanics worked well enough for basic tank-on-tank shootouts and that is easily one of the game’s strong points.
Unfortunately, outside of using tanks, transport carriers and long-range bombers, I ran into some huge problems trying to fly around in the helicopters. After tweaking the controls the helicopters were still horrible to fly around in and this is the main reason I knocked two stars off the gameplay. Sometimes it’s necessary to lend support to teammates via an aerial vehicle but with the wonky controls and stiff response for the yaw and roll, many gamers might find themselves turned off with handling any aerial vehicle in the game.
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Terra Battle For The Outland Review - Fun Factors
It’s hard for a game to be fun if it’s broken, such as Mortal Online. For the most part, Terra isn’t broken or unplayable, yet it does leave gamers with a egging feeling of indigence for something deeper. After blowing tanks apart a couple of times, dodging some aerial opponent’s missiles and taking over a base or two, there’s nothing much more to do other than die, repeat and…die again.
The process of having fun basically boils down to either using the speedy off-roader to dodge incoming fire and take over pylons; blasting things down with a tank, or taking out multiple opponents with a ground-to-ground missile launcher. For higher levels the option to build bases and manage equipment adds an extra layer of strategy to the fray, but it doesn’t make the game much more than a general deathmatch FPS title.
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Terra: Battle for the Outlands is somewhat standard-fare to be among the limited large-scale MMOFPS games out there (with the only other exceptions being Planetside andFallen Earth). If you’re expecting really big battles with tons of players and lots of bare knuckle excitement, you won’t really find it in Terra; if you go in expecting a generally fun tank-shooter with light commander options to alter the landscape of the fight, then you might find some enjoyment in the title. As a free-to-play MMOFPS it’s not the worst, but it’s not particularly great either. Try it only if you have nothing better to play.