Fallen Earth: Blood Sports Review

Title   Fallen Earth: Blood Sports Review
Developer  Icarus Studios
Publisher  Ant Games
Platform  PC
Genre  MMO, RPG, Sandbox
Release Date  3rd December, 2010

Released in late 2009 by Icarus Studios, Fallen Earth is described as an FPS/RPG hybrid.  Recently Icarus Studios released the expansion to Fallen Earth: Blood Sports, which promises a vast array of new features and updates to the graphic quality of the game.  Set in the post apocalyptic United States, in an area around the grand canyon, Fallen Earth tells the story of the struggling human race. Following natural disasters, nuclear war and the outbreak of the Shiva virus, humanity is on the brink. The only known colony of humanity is contained within the Hoover Dam and the player is set in the role of a clone who escapes the dam with the help of his creator.

The Blood Sports expansion comes with a variety of new features, including the new area, Deadfall, and is complete with a vast amount of new missions. There is new player vs player content including the ability to take your clan to war and, added to the incredibly deep crafting system, are camps and taverns that allow for a break while out in the field killing mutants.  The first thing you’ll notice when you start playing Fallen Earth, is that during character creation there is no class selection. You set up your general look using the standard options seen in many other massively multiplayer games, but Fallen Earth seems to be one of a dying breed – the sandbox game.  Something that I’ve not seen since the early days of SWG is the fact that your class is not a defining characteristic of your gameplay experience; the player is given the freedom to build any character they would like based on their play style and gameplay is not affected in any way.

You are asked for a general feeling of what you want to do – combat or trade and the weapons that you might use and this is used only to choose a starting location, after which, you as the player can choose if you want to shoot people or you want to bash them in the head with a metal pipe.  Levelling takes the form of advancement points that can be spent on various attributes such as pistol use, social skill and areas such as strength, constitution and intelligence.

One issue I did have is that finding explanations of these skills can be a little tricky and could lead to the player getting to level 45 and having a bit of a dud character.  However, the game does layout a number of templates such as Rifleman, which would then show the player where they should put the points to make a character who specialises in using rifles.

The combat system is a little different to what you would expect in an MMO. For one, the game does not have the turn-based system you see in games like World of Warcraft. Instead, because it’s based on a first person shooter, it uses that system of hit boxes.  Aim your gun and shoot a guy in the head and you will get a critical hit and a bonus to damage. Very useful in PvP where the game is less about your level and more about your skill in pulling off that much needed head-shot. The game has a variety of different weapons from melee to ranged, though as this is post apocalyptic world, most of your weapons will be handmade bits of junk, found lying around, at least in the early levels. I spent most of my time whacking people on the head with what was described as the wooden railing from a closet.

Mounts/vehicles are introduced fairly early on and this is due to the vast size of the game world.  The player can choose between a horse or other animal/mutant mount or some kind of vehicle such as the ATV at the earlier levels. While detail the level of detail in this huge game world is impressive, I was left a little underwhelmed by the level of graphic detail. Even on my highest settings, the game’s visuals, as you can probably see from the screenshots, are poor which is disappointing.  In a game where the main play area is going to already be broken down and looking distressed, ideally the devs would try to make sure that the game’s engine could produce better visuals.

Strangely enough, I found that most of my time with Fallen Earth was spent gathering resources; to say that the crafting system in the game is deep would be an understatement. According to the box, 90 percent of all items in the game can be crafted and, when you take a look at the massive list of recipes, it’s hard to disagree.  A unique feature of the system is that the crafting of items is done in real time, meaning that you can go and tackle missions or even just log off for the night while leaving a nice queue of craftable items waiting to be made.  The only down side to the system is the vast number of resources used; during my two weeks of play I think I spent around 70% of it collecting stuff.  That may just be my love of crafting in games, but it did seem, each time, that I was just gathering resources because they were close by.  This gathering and crafting leads to issues with your storage because of the number of items you are picking up. Your backpack will fill up quickly and in all my time playing I didn’t see a way of gaining extra bag space, or even a method of arranging the items. I did spend a lot of time looking for a mission reward in a sea of metal scraps and mutant hides though.

Fallen Earth is a game that is often described as having a very steep difficulty curve; personally I didn’t find it difficult to play but, instead, very time consuming.  This perhaps has something to do with the sandbox nature of the game and the scale of the world. Being a time-sink is great from the perspective of an developer but is not great for new players. With Blood Sports being about, mainly, the introduction of PvP to the game, new players wont get much out of the expansion.  PvP doesn’t seem to really start until around level 20 and, to be honest, I think getting to that kind of content would have taken me a month or so of play.  If you try to get into the new arena battles between levels 5-10, first you will need to head off and find out how to sign up. The system tells you who you need to talk to first, but doesn’t tell you where.  When I tried, I assumed a big city would be the place to go, but then trying to even pinpoint a large city on the map became an issue. The third issue is the waiting time.  I have been playing the game now for two weeks and have still not been able to get into an arena match. Whether this is due to the match-making system or a lack of player population I’m not sure, but it was disappointing none the less.

With Blood Sports, we start to see features normally found on release in many other games in the genre.  However, not to take away from the expansion, there is also the inclusion of the huge new zone, Deadfall, and a host of additional content added to the crafting system.  Player vs player helps bring a new level of gameplay, but sadly I don’t think it will do enough to draw in a bigger audience to the Fallen Earth.  I feel like this game is just not of the same quality as games like Star Trek Online or Warhammer that have been out for nearly the same amount of time.  The notes I got with the expansion read, “Enhancements to graphics, animations, effects and fatigue systems for better overall gameplay.” and sadly, if that’s the case, the game must have been unplayable before.

  • Expansive richly detailed game world. One of the largest I think I have ever seen.
  • Combat system that is unique to the genre.
  • Classless system gives the player freedom to choose how they play the game.
  • Incredibly deep crafting system.
  • Graphics and animations are still not polished.
  • PVP content is inaccessible at the lower levels due to lack of server population.
  • Steep learning curve will put off new players.

Overall I think if you are a fan of the Fallout games, you like the post apocalyptic setting and have maybe never played an MMO before, Fallen Earth is going to be an interesting play. However, if you have, like me, been through the MMO genre and seen the best, then I don't think you'll enjoy Fallen Earth: Blood Sports. It's been the longest two weeks of my gaming life.

Last five articles by Mark



  1. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I’m really not in to the idea of MMOs, as I’ve said on countless occasions, but this review has got me thinking that I MAY end up trying this one. I’m already on the list for the Fallout MMO, so perhaps it’s actually the post apocalyptic aspect that’s caught my eye… but I think it’s more to do with the crafting system. I’m something like forty hours into Two Worlds II at the moment and I’d honestly say that I’ve probably been actively PLAYING the game for around sixty hours… which means that twenty of those hours have been spent in the menus crafting rather than actually wandering around doing stuff. I’m enjoying it a lot, and if the crafting system in Fallen Earth is as in depth as you say (90% of items is an INSANE number!!) then I’d give it a shot even for the crafting element.

    There’s something about post apocalyptia that just pumps my ‘nads though. Perhaps it’s because you’re left to your own devices a lot more and it’s more about ingenuity and mental dexterity rather than just being able to sell a level 50 sword that you’d looted from a corpse so you could buy yourself a kick ass enchanted axe. When you’re relying on being a good aim, flanking enemies and taking them out with a pipe cleaner and some double sided sticky tape… it’s just a much more immersive experience for someone like me.

    The down side is, as always, that it’s an MMO… and I really have no interest in playing with countless others in a huge online world. Even free to play MMOs just turn me off because of the multiplayer aspect. It’s fine when you’re dumped in a Need For Speed game with some idiot for ten minutes while you scoot around and try to avoid the cops but when part of the game involves interaction on a more grand scale… I’d end up ripping the broadband out of the wall I think.

    Shame the game didn’t do anything for you dood, but the review has sparked my interest… and that can only be a good thing!

  2. Lorna Lorna says:

    Shame the game didn’t work out so well. I think that an MMO, with all the competition in the market, needs to be accessible at an early stage, otherwise people just move onto the next without a thought. The post apocalyptic setting however is a refreshing change…maybe with a few more patches and an overhaul, things will be different.

  3. Mark Marks says:

    Thanks guys. Ill be honest, this was probably the hardest thing i have ever written. Reviews are hard, especially when you dont enjoy the game at all. I love MMOs, but from the outset this game feels very cheaply made and is just not of the same caliber as modern games in the genre.

    Like Lorna said, in todays market you need to be accessible to the average player. Sure your game could be super realistic, be based on skill etc, but if folk cant get to the content, especially pvp content quickly, they will go play an FPS or world of warcraft. No one wants to wait in a queue for content they have paid for. Im not saying its the developers fault that there are queues in the early stages of the game but to me it felt like an mmo that was about to die due to a lack of population, it felt more like there was only me even trying to get into the pvp arenas.

    So yeah Mark, i think you would really enjoy it. For an MMO there are hardly any people and if there were the game world is so vast you would rarely bump into them. Its grimy, post apocolyptic, wearing a trash can lid as a hat fun that i think fans of Fallout would like.

    Im not a fan of Fallout :P

  4. Ben Ben says:

    MMO’s are probably the least forgiving genre when things go bad so you deserve a medal for going through that. There’s just no room in the genre for anything sub par any more.

  5. Edward Edward says:

    A great review, and its a shame you didn’t enjoy your time, but the effort you’ve put into the experience clearly shows through, so well done :)

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