For many, Citadel Forged With Fire might seem like something that would only have existed in your wildest dreams. An open world adventure RPG that throws you in to the world of Ignus, filled with different beasts, sprites, orcs and dragons for you to conquer. This game truly is something that could satisfy multiple crowds. To make an initial, simple comparison, it’s as if Skyrim decided to have a baby with Harry Potter. It sounds crazy but it somehow comes together in a nice little package here waiting for you to explore. The trailer for this game is ridiculously awesome and hints at the potential to eventually be a huge hit and massively popular. Does it deliver? Citadel Forged With Fire is currently getting mixed reviews on Steam which is totally understandable given the monumental scope and potential of this game. But let’s dig in to the particulars.
Developed by: Blue Isle Studios, Virtual Basement LLC
Published by: Blue Isle Studios
Release date: July 26th, 2017
Platforms: PC (Eventually PS4, Xbox One)
Price at time of review: $19.99 USD
Citadel: Forged With Fire Early Access Review
- Explore a massive fantasy world
- Study the arcane arts
- Create alliances and forge an empire
- Fight, tame and ride legendary beasts
- Find a near limitless variety of loot
Story and Setting
You don’t get much in the way of story telling with Citadel Forged With Fire, which is one of my qualms with the game. It seems like a great story could be introduced with this game but for now there simply isn’t much of one. For now it’s a missed opportunity that will hopefully be addressed in future updates.
The world you are in is a magic land called Ignus. The size of the map is comparable to your average open world adventure game. It’s not so small that you would explore the entire thing quickly, and it’s big enough that you will have plenty of fun traversing the different woods, caves and mountains. The land is filled with a variety of enemy types. Everything from sprites, who strangely look like aliens with fairy wings, to orcs and imps, as well as dragons and everything in between.
There are a number of different servers that you can join in Citadel Forged With Fire. You can either join a server for PVP or PVE and for now it seems the max amount of players that can be in a server is currently 50. You can even join up with friends to create alliances that people can pledge allegiance to. Players can create their own dedicated servers if they choose, or simply join one that already exists. This can be problematic at times because it causes issues with lag, game crashes and other problems. Most of the servers I found however were stable and only encountered problems a couple of times in my experience. One of the cool things I found were that there were several servers I that had customized certain aspects of the game, whether it be experience gains being altered to be more rewarding or regeneration of mana being increased. You should play the game normally to get the experience the developers intended, and save the custom games for having fun or experimenting. Obviously the most important thing is finding a stable server, which shouldn’t be difficult. It will be interesting to see as the popularity of the game grows, how that will impact the stability of servers.
Once you’ve joined a server you continue by creating a character, either male or female, with a very easy to use character creator. There aren’t that many options currently for different faces or hair, but there is a wide range of colors for skin, hair and even nails. Not the most sophisticated creator, but certainly not bad. Once you’ve created your character you spawn in and start off literally being forged in what seems to be a pit of flaming hot magma. Gameplay in Citadel Forged With Fire is challenging, rewarding and fun. Controls are simple enough and movement is straightforward. Spells can be bound to weapons and items and then assigned to keys or buttons on your keyboard or mouse. You can switch your viewpoint from first person to third person whenever you like by pressing the tab button.
Starting off in Citadel Forged With Fire will seem a bit laborious at first. The thing that I seemed to struggle with the most early on was surviving. The enemies you encounter will make quick work of you if you don’t plan out your attacks and use your limited resources wisely. Upon death you respawn at one of the 3 safe zones on the map, and any unequipped items in your inventory will now be dropped at the spot where you died in a bit of a Dark Souls fashion. There is a definite grind to the game as will find yourself exploring, dying and starting over many times.
You level up fairly quickly early on, and as with most RPG/Adventure games, it becomes more difficult as you progress through the game. Gaining experience is achieved through many different avenues. Every time you pick up a resource, which are abundant through out the world, you gain experience. Every time you discover a new area of the map you gain experience. Every time you craft an item or a structure you gain experience. And of course every time you kill an enemy you gain experience. From what I can tell in the game, the highest achievable level is 60. The grind to level up is balanced enough that I feel players who simply enjoy playing the game casually will level up at a pace that is a bit less than fun. On the other hand players who want to power level will certainly devise strategies for the most efficient path to max level.
As you progress through the levels, you will unlock new abilities for spell casting, crafting, and building. You’re rewarded with points in two different areas that will beef up your character in different ways. The two areas where you will spend points are either on your primary attributes or on the Knowledge Tree. Primary attributes include health, mana, damage and carrying capacity. Spending points in any of those areas will increase those attributes and should be used wisely as it seems currently there is no way to redistribute them later. The Knowledge Tree is where the real fun is. The points you earn here are called Knowledge Points and will unlock a variety of things in 4 different trees. The trees are Items, Utility, Structures and Spells. Each tree has areas locked out until you reach a certain level. The points here also can NOT be redistributed to choose upgrades that will cater to your play style. This was one of the parts of the game I really enjoyed. Getting to craft different wands, staffs, potions and buildings adds another layer to gameplay and the gratification that what you’re doing has a purpose and reward.
Getting around the world of Ignus is tedious early on but becomes much easier as you progress in the game. You gain access to spells and armor that help you move more quickly, fast travel portals, different animals to mount and yes, a broomstick to ride. It might sound a bit ludicrous, and that’s because it is. That being said it is delightfully fun to zip around on your broomstick and quickly became my preferred method of travel. I will say this however, the ability to fly above your enemies that are stuck on the ground seems a bit unfair. As long as you’re careful you can attack them and they’ll never be able to damage you. Good thing there are dragons in the game to keep you in check.
As you journey through Ignus, you’ll find camps, caves and dungeons filled with a variety of enemies to battle. And if you’re in a PVP server, other players to battle as well. The PVP aspect adds an almost “Battle Royale-esque” element to the game. When you die all of your items you had stay at the spot of your death and can be looted by other players. If you’re able to get back there, you can recover your items as well. Regardless of whether you play PVP or PVE, dispatching of your foes is fun. With all of the different weapons you can craft and spells you can cast, you will have an assortment of ways to attack. This is nice because it helps to keep the game from getting stagnant or stale and keeps you wanting to find new ways to come back and play. You’ll also find that the further on your journey you go, the more varied and difficult to kill the enemies become. Bigger, stronger enemies will be more abundant and make you more cautious when going in to battle.
Audio & Visual
The sound in Citadel Forged With Fire needs some work. Partly because of some of the bugs, which is to be expected with early access games, but also partly due to the fact that it just isn’t anything special. The music is your generic adventure music that has your typical flute and dulcimer melodies. The sound effects throughout the game aren’t anything to write home about either. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad by any means. I just didn’t have that sense of epicness when going in to a battle, or any moments when I heard something that grabbed my ear’s attention and thought “Wow that’s unique!”. There were times where the music would suddenly stop and you would be left in silence only to be bombarded with it unknowingly minutes later. I realize this is a bug issue and not something I can completely judge the game by. Hopefully it gets fixed, and the sound gets a tune up as development continues.
Visually the game is hot and cold. I was able to run the game on maximum settings with my GTX 1080 and was hoping to be blown away. The trailer for the game made it seem like a visual powerhouse for the type of game it is. At some points the game delivers and at others not so much. There were times where graphically I wasn’t very impressed by what seems to be generations old textures and character models. Then there would be times where I would see cool particle effects and lighting that caught my eye, or would see a sunset at the top of a mountain that looked picturesque. I’m sure things will be optimized moving forward however and there’s nowhere to go but up from here.