Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, after all, when you’re trying to be Diablo, why not copy Diablos best aspects? Well, that would be great if Diablo’s best aspects were what you were copying. Unfortunately for The Exiled, it merely copies some of Diablo’s worst imitators. From terrible net code, to uninspired combat, to bland, boring graphics, The Exiled is an exercise in mundanity that never tantalises or excites in any true way. While not a disaster, or even truly bad, The Exiled commits that cardinal sin of being utterly forgettable in every single way possible, resigning itself to more than likely being forgotten among a slew of better games than will bury it upon launch, nary to be seen again, missed by not a single person. The best thing I can say, is that The Exiled, being free to play, will at least not drain your pocket of a cent, lest you spend money to continue past the initial 7-day trial.
When one says ‘this game reminds me of the 90s’ to me, generally that’s said in a sense of reverence, as the 90s was a time of experimentation in gaming, when many classics sprang forth, yet The Exiled also reminds me of the other side of gaming in the 90s we tend to forget. It reminds me of a time of where terrible latency in games was a standard factor and we didn’t truly know any better, in fact if I were an investor, I’d put shares into rubber and the servers Fairytale Distillery have The Exiled running on. The amount of rubber banding going on, in the first ten minutes of play, surely would send those goddamn prices through the roof after all! For an online only game, such as The Exiled to perform that poorly, when it relies on online servers to merely exist, speaks volumes for the quality of care put into the actual program itself.
In that sense, the gameplay in The Exiled is hampered to the extreme by the latency issues. A simple hybrid of menu driven action rpg’s, The Exiled offers nothing new, equip your character with a weapon, seek out the enemy and upgrade the weapon with a new one or craft a new one as equipment or resources become available. This can either be a joy, as presented in games such as Unexplored, the Diablo series or even the Fallout games, however here it feels like a tedious grind. This is rather ironic as The Exiled sells itself as a game that transcends the need to ‘grind’, claiming it is more akin to a MOBA, however the reality is you’ll be consistently grinding to acquire items, to get new weapons, to enhance your character, the grind is real my friends, the grind is real and its name is ‘The Exiled’.
The graphics range from decent to bland, with the backgrounds and scenery quite well developed and textured, especially forest areas. The opening art at the title screen as well as some random screens throughout are nothing short of gorgeous. When in game, a seemingly celshaded approach is utilised to outline objects of interest, giving them a strange, misplaced look on the scenery, while the main character itself looks oddly low detail and out of place in comparison to everything else. This was rather jarring at first and strange, but became something I could overlook. When I reached some forest areas, the scenery came alive, with beautiful greens and blues popping out from the screen, some truly vibrant colours. In this respect, Fairytale Distillery have excelled, creating a mostly interesting range of scenery, they just need a unified design going forward. The scattered, occasional use of celshaded objects, then non-celshaded, was jarring, but not off-putting. Overall, the graphics were the high point, but still need some work.
The sound ranges from pleasant to unimaginative, with the in-game sounds being effective, everything you’d expect in a game of this type, I’m hard pressed honestly to remember anything significant other than the quality was decent. However, that being said, the opening music and in game music was, to put it lightly, uninspiring and forgettable. Nothing memorable rang out, I forgot it the moment I clicked past it, however days later, I’m still humming Unexplored’s tune in my head? A little care, a little effort, a notable tune can be all the difference between significance and gamer oblivion honestly.
As for value, I don’t find any of note in this game honestly that cannot be found in better, cheaper priced games elsewhere. The fact you have a limited time to play this before being urged to buy a pack, fact that The Exiled is theoretically a free to play game, that relies on ‘character pack’ transactions after a week of trial gameplay while it is in early access irks me to no end. The fact this is an early access game selling DLC/micro transactions (macro transactions given the price?), simply doesn’t sit well with me, especially given these pricings reach upwards of 80 dollars US (over 100 Aus). The pricing points for the content in the macro-transaction packs makes no sense, paying 20 for one character slot, 40 for 2, then 80 for 3 as well as receiving the rather uninspired digital soundtrack and art, this pricing point system is illogical, feeling as if it’s set up to gouge players out of money who don’t realise what’s happening until they’re fleeced of their money and pay far more than what it’s worth if they go the full third tier. However you do unlock a 25% account boost at the top tier, which puts you above the other two, which, as the YouTube Jim Sterling, love him or hate him, accurately puts it, places this firmly in the ‘Fee to pay’ category, where you simply pay to win. Ultimately this seems more like a play for cash in the immediate short term than establishing a long-term product, the fact is this is not an established company with good will built in to do this, this is not Blizzard, this is not Rockstar, hell, this is not even EA, this is an unheard of developer and the current pricing tier feels, upon examination, honestly like more of a gouge than a deal.
I feel with the low quality of this games production, the terrible, price gouging nature of its macro-transaction tiers, the uninspired gameplay, this game comes in unfortunately at an exceptionally low mark. I do recommend avoiding The Exiled, it’s simply not worth your time and hopefully, for their next game, Fairytale Distillery come back with something stronger, playing to their strengths and recognise the weaknesses they’ve displayed with this game. I therefore award The Exiled a well deserved 2 out of 10.
- Great art.
- Some great scenery.
- Boring, cliché gameplay.
- Graphics can be quite bad at times.
- The grind, oh, the grind…
- The pricing points.