Rift: Planes of Telara (better known simply as Rift) is a relatively new game from developer/publisher Trion Worlds, Inc., and like any other game, Rift has its positives and negatives. The extensive profession system will leave many players overjoyed with the enormous capability of personal customization available at their fingertips. The expansive quests and stories are entertaining, and had me pre-occupied for much longer than I was planning to spend in one sitting on this game. The pets, mounts, and summonable creatures all seem to have personalities of their own.
So yeah, don't mind me. I'm just chillin' here with my two headed Galapagos tortoise.
There are two player factions in Rift - The Guardians, and The Defiant. The faction you choose decides which races you will be allowed to pick from. This is crucial, as each race has its own advantages and disadvantages in actual gameplay. Beyond the faction and races, there are four main classes to choose from, each with eight of their own "sub-classes" to choose from. From those eight "sub-classes", the player may choose three. Those three classes will appear on your soul tree, and from there you'll be able to add to skills as you please.
While I applaud the developers of this game for making such an expansive system of professions, it may actually come off as a bit too much for some players to handle. The 'Soul Tree' is a little confusing at first, and only after spending some points in it did I really start to grasp how it functioned. For certain amounts of points you spend in the skills up above (in the actual 'tree') you unlock skills down below also (typically active skills, such as attacks, heals, or buffs). So, while it can be a little confusing at first, it probably wouldn't make sense if designed any other way. To me, however, having so many options thrown directly at the player at once can be a little overwhelming.
This is what a typical 'Soul Tree' might look like. As you can see, you add the points in on the top skills, and it unlocks more skills on the bottom.
The creatures in this game are also ridiculously expansive. Things ranging from necromancers, to goblins, to imps, to giant plant monsters. The things that a player will see or run into while on a quest may surprise them. I know I've been surprised a few times by the sheer uniqueness of some of the enemies. Particularly the enemies that one might run into while doing a 'rift', an instance-based sort of mission that many players frequent for the rewards. The enemies are all very unique.
I'm gonna go ahead and stay away from the giant flailing tentacle monster. Not really looking forward to being violated today.
Beyond all of the systems in the game, the standard things about the game are also very well done. The audio is phenomenal, and the controls are pretty intuitive. Glitches are very infrequent, and minor anyway. Besides, the game is still fairly new so such things are to be expected. Leveling up in this game is not grindy at all. The game frequently keeps you on quests (storyline and otherwise) which level you up as you play the game, rarely (if ever) forcing you to pull off to the side for some time to just level up. The solo-play material is well-handled, as is the group-play material.
In the end, I found Rift: Planes of Telara, to be a very fun game, and definitely worth a try. My final score for this game is 8/10.
This review is written on April 10, 2011, and as such, all opinions are subject to change over time.