Jesus Christ, how many MMOs are there? Seriously, when I looked for this week’s free video game to cover on Friday, I had THREE new ones available on Steam! I pity the poor sod who has a rule of playing every free game on Steam, because that must leave them drained.
Not that this week’s free game is that much better: it’s actually the free multiplayer component on a single player game that has already been released on Steam, Apotheon…which was released in FEBRUARY! So what we’ve basically got is a choice between an car shooter MMO in Early Access, an action MMO where you play as a half-devil hero, a mech MMO…or this.
So, because I don’t have the free time to play an MMO properly in time to fairly cover it for this deadline day, here’s Apotheon Arena for you.
Apotheon Arena is basically the multiplayer brawl version of Apotheon, as I mentioned earlier, and the art style of it bears a surprising resemblance to that of Rock of Ages, which was a surprise when I realised it. Sadly, there’s no giant rock rolling over everything or elephants with wings to offer a quirky sense of humor to proceedings, although, to the game’s credit, the combat itself is actually a lot better than I was expecting it to be. I do think it’s potentially unfair that you have to hunt for weapons across the map and they’re randomly generated, as a really lucky player could get awesome gear and nobody else would be sure to catch up with them, but the combat is genuinely quite well done, which is all the more impressive when you remember that this was made from parts from a single player game. There are a few little details about it which I like: for starters, you can throw literally any melee weapon you get, which is really good if you find yourself up against someone camping with a ranged weapon and have a good enough knowledge of geometry to be able to work out the proper range to hit them. I also like the art style, as I mentioned earlier, as it gives the whole game a feeling of playing one of those old Greek paintings and it actually plays to the game’s advantage because it’s not too graphically intensive, so lower end computers and laptops shouldn’t have too much difficulty playing this game. Also, every weapon has strengths and weaknesses to it, which makes it surprisingly good on a tactical level too, although I do think that some weapons are potentially in need of slightly better balancing.
The game modes are a bit limited, with the only options being deathmatch, team deathmatch and elimination (which is basically deathmatch only you stay dead until only one person is left alive). I can see why the game only has these modes, but I can’t help feeling that a few more varied multiplayer modes would help out a bit. Now, granted, one of my favourite multiplayer games at the moment is Killing Floor, which has only one real mode to it (kill all of the zombies and then kill the patriarch), but I can’t really see that game working with other game modes like capture the flag very well due to the game being very strongly focused on teamwork while Apotheon Arena seems to me like it probably could include a capture the flag mode without too much difficulty. I don’t know, maybe I’m nitpicking unfairly here, but I feel that a few extra game modes could enhance this game a bit more.
Also, it’s worth noting that there’s no official offline mode for this game. If you just want to play against bots to practice, you have to literally set up your own game and set the number of players on it to two alongside the bots, which is somewhat counterintuitive to me, especially considering the tutorial only gives you the basics of the game’s controls and doesn’t give you a proper chance to get used to playing the game before opening the door up to multiplayer.
Still, ultimately, Apotheon Arena is a fairly fun game. It has its flaws, but the core of the game is perfectly functional and well implemented. If you and a bunch of friends need a new multiplayer game to play and can’t afford new games, then give this a look into, as it should be fun enough to keep you busy for a few hours.