Requiem: Bloodymare was developed using the Havok engine and it has yielded some GREAT looking death animations. There's nothing like lopping your foe's head off and then watching the body twitch on the ground when it's all over. It isn't so pretty, however, when it's your corpse that's lying on the ground jerking in its death throes. Luckily, respawn locations are liberally sprinkled throughout Requiem, never far from that monster that just snuffed you.
Character movement is smooth and natural looking though somehow the Turan female run animation annoyed me. It looked too much like a little prissy girl mincing her way across a bloody landscape. It just didn't fit.
Armor look changes minutely when new items are equipped but there are different looks for leather, cloth and plate armors. As usual in most MMOs, the female armors are...revealing. Again, the Turan female, at least in her earliest levels, looks like a pseudo Gothic chick complete with torn hose and a bustier. All female characters fight in heels that are quite odd looking on my Bartuk brute girl.
"Wingriders" are one fun way to see much of the world. Wingriders are little "airplanes" (looking suspiciously like they're made of monster hide) and can be hired to transport characters to a variety of locations. Of course, if one is just 'touring the world', one will want to fly back immediately unless ready to battle monsters that can kill them with one swipe of a claw.
Characters can jump and it's fun to watch. Jumping can, however, get players in trouble if one leaps off the wrong cliff and ends up and an inescapable location. Luckily, there's the 'return' button which can send characters back to their set city location.
Interestingly enough, players can also swim in Requiem though there is no reason to do so. I actually found this out accidentally after I jumped off a cliff and landed in the river. I won't tell you how many embarrassing moments it took me to find my way out. But the swim animations are very good. Hopefully, devs will consider adding a reason to swim other than just to drown.
The overall post-apocalyptic look of Requiem is one of a bleak, frightening, abandoned landscape. Depending on where a character is in the world, there are icy plains, forested hills and dusty deserts. Requiem devs have done an admirable job with the graphics. Everything is precisely rendered and detailed. This is definitely one of Requiem's strong suits.
Once finished with character creation, players are thrust immediately into the fighting world. There's a nice beginning area for players to get the feel of the controls which are, admittedly, similar to most games but with the annoying habit of using right clicking when, typically, left clicking is used in other games. It's a picky point, but one I noticed right away. Movement is accomplished through the traditional WASD keys and will be familiar to most players.
Quests in Requiem are pretty standard fare though purist RPG players will be annoyed at the sheer number of "FedEx" quests. Running back and forth with small bits of information or collecting items is a grind to be quite frank but the yields in terms of lant and experience can make it worthwhile. There really are no plot quests, simply a seemingly unending series of NPC quests based on a character's level. Once a player has finished all the obvious quests, scrolls can be purchased from the local agent for additional quests.
To target an enemy, one simply right-clicks and, if close enough, the battle sequence begins. Through the character's skill set, hotkeys can be programmed and used during battle. The special attack animations are great looking as are spell effects.
Besides the monster being able to attack a character from outrageous distances, my other main combat complaint is the lack of interesting sound effects. There are only about three spell chants and characters/monsters being hit make a generic "oof" sound. It's not particularly thrilling. The big deviation from this, however, are big bruiser attacks that yield a satisfying "thud" when the hit lands.
As indicated earlier, beginning levels require a character to initiate the attack. Later on, however, players will want to be careful treading too close to the enemy. This is particularly difficult in places where enemies are plentiful and wandering around.
It's an utter blast to party with others and people in Requiem are among the friendliest players around. No one is shy about inviting others into groups and the combat is fast and furious. Groups can form for fighting in instanced dungeons, PvP activities (see below) or just ranging around in the world. Item drops are plentiful and good stuff can definitely be found easily. Each player's drops fall individually in little boxes that are right clicked to open. This is nice since there's no arguing over who gets what.
Overall, combat is fun and addictive and, after graphics, Requiem's best feature.
There is PvP in Requiem. Players can challenge one another to duels while roaming around in the word. There is also arena play in 8-vs-8, 16-vs-16, 24-vs-24 battlefields, and a mind-boggling 96-vs-96 battlefield. Only winners are awarded items that help in the obtaining rare weapons and armor.
For those who enjoy 'ganking' and PKing, there is a server set aside to fulfill that wish. The other two main Requiem servers do not allow PKing.
For those who enjoy crafting, Requiem offers a way to enhance items and armor through the use of 'Xeons'. Xeons can be given to a special blacksmith in cities and added to just about any 'wearable' or 'usable' item. In some ways, it's similar to a socket system employed by other games.
There's also a robust economy in Requiem. Players can auction off materials and items for a small lant fee (the Requiem currency). Purchased items are automatically delivered via the in-game email system, which is a very nice touch. No more standing around waiting for someone to bring you that uber-sword you just bought.
Players on the higher end of the level scale complained about the grind to continue leveling and there's no question that it's very difficult once past a certain point. Instanced dungeons in parties are the one way to gain enough experience to make it worthwhile. Another is to fight 'nightmare' monsters which appear during the wee hours of the night (in-game time). These monsters are TOUGH and most can only be fought in parties, not individually. The item and experience gains, however, make them very worth fighting (and dying) for in the long haul.