Tabula Rasa

Beta-Test review

Release date: Fall 2007

Even if you don't care for massively multiplayer online games, you still might be interested in Tabula Rasa. If you enjoy them at all, you'll likely love it.

Tabula Rasa is the upcoming science-fiction MMO from NCsoft Austin, headed up by Richard Garriott. While there isn't even a firm release date scheduled – other than "the fall" – early beta-test versions of the game are already showing its potential.

You play a soldier in a war against the Bane. And while you're outfitted with the latest in space-age weaponry, the real power comes from Logos, the remnants of a language left behind by the ancient Eloh. You gradually learn to read the Logos, uncovering more of the story and combining the symbols to form powerful attacks. It's like if Luke Skywalker practiced kabbalah.

Like in most role-playing games, characters gradually evolve into specialized classes, either brute-force soldiers or specialists like technology builders and medics. What makes Tabula Rasa unique is that at each crucial point, you can choose to clone your character. If you get tired of being a grenadier, you can jump back to one of your clones and explore what it's like to be a sniper without having to build a character from level one. It would be nice if the clones were saved automatically, but it's still a helpful option to limit the need to constantly grind out levels for a new character.

I'm not normally a fan of MMOs. The statistic-based gameplay usually makes me feel like I'm just pointing and clicking without any real control over the character. Tabula Rasa's first-person-shooter-style controls at least make it feel like the player is in the driver's seat.

With immersive visuals and sound that unwind a carefully orchestrated storyline, Tabula Rasa's preview state might not be quite enough to sell me on massively multiplayer games, but out of all the MMOs I've played, it's already my favorite.

  • More of the Story

  • Cooperative Play

    Richard Garriott and his team at NCsoft unveil their new online game

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Joey Seiler
In Play
In Play
This one's designed by the hardcore gamer for the hardcore gamer

June 13, 2008

Games Gift Guide
Mass Effect
Part shooter, part RPG, all Star Wars

Dec. 14, 2007

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle