After a few dozen hours in New World I still feel like a stranded traveller, newly washed up on the beaches of Aeternum. I’ve managed to skirt the mammoth queue times for long enough now to get a feel for Amazon Games’ foray into the massively multiplayer genre, and that feeling can pretty much be summed up with a shrug and a ‘…yeah, it’s alright’. Will New World scratch that itch you’ve got in the back of your brain for a new MMO in a pretty world filled with life and stuff to do? Definitely. Will you be gasping in awe wondering how Amazon managed to reinvigorate the genre? Probably not.
Friends have asked me about New World’s mechanics during my playtime and I’ve found myself giving a disclaimer every time. The combat feels good for an MMO. The crafting is rewarding for an MMO. The world is gorgeous for an MMO. Sure, the more grounded combat is definitely a nice addition, but on the whole there doesn’t seem to be much setting New World apart from its contemporaries other than its admittedly very pretty setting and aesthetic.
I haven’t had much opportunity to experience PvP combat so far other than a couple of duels – not many players are flagged for open-world combat on my server – so PvE is the only real chance I’ve had to try out New World’s action-combat system. Other than the odd bit of server lag, it feels pretty tight, and the experience varies dramatically depending on which weapon you’re using. The greataxe’s swing is meaty and impactful, but somehow the greathammer’s size belies its range – it feels like you’ve got to get close enough to touch your opponent’s eyelashes. The bow feels meek and lacklustre, but the rifle fires with a satisfying pop and little plume of gunsmoke that other players can see around you. My current favourite weapon is a high-level hatchet I found in a crate, which has a hefty strength bonus. I felt swift and nimble darting around flailing with my swings as my friend aimed headshots with his rifle. Each of New World’s weapon types are leveled separately to your main level, so you’re encouraged with your introductory loot drops to try out a few.