Do you like Minecraft? Ever feel like it was missing something magical (besides the portals, other realms, temples, and dragon)? Blue Isle Studios hopes you’ll give their “massive online sandbox RPG” Citadel: Forged With Fire a try.
The first thing that sticks out with Citadel is its aim for a more realistic presentation. There are no blocky graphics here, only semi-realistic landscapes and textures. Character models don’t look too great, though, and player model customization is very limited, but it really doesn’t matter since the focus on this game is exploring and killing almost anything that moves in the wilderness. The Unreal Engine 4 runs behind the scenes and helps to move the game along pretty smoothly. There are no PS4 Pro-specific options, which is a shame since the game could use a graphics boost. As it stands now, though, things are perfectly serviceable. Enemies such as boars, bears, skeletons, and fairies look unsettling, as opposed to mythical. This is perhaps to root the game in realism and can result in players being startled when an enemy comes from around the corner.
An extremely basic tutorial attempts to get players up to speed with how to play Citadel, but it doesn’t do a great job of explaining much. These tutorials only say what to collect, or create, without much in the way of instructing the player on how to bring up these options. Once the control scheme is figured out, though, things become easy enough to get the initial tasks done. After that, players are told to head out into the woods and adventure. A map shows the portion of the world that has been discovered by the player, and a single quest giver can be found relatively nearby the initial spawn point. But, this NPC only hands out a single quest per day, for rewards that aren’t really worth the trouble.
You’re on Your Own
I suppose for those used to the likes of Minecraft, this laissez-faire approach to world discovery is to be expected in this genre. Discovering the best areas to build, or gather resources, or more importantly the areas to avoid getting killed in, can be its own reward for those who have the time to sink into mastering the different systems on offer in Citadel. The world map is impressively large at 36 square kilometers, but the landscape does not change between servers (or save games if playing locally). So, if you’ve seen one giant monument carved into the side of a nearby snowy mountaintop, you’ve seen them all. As you enter a new zone, the level range of enemies is briefly displayed, which is a good indicator of whether you should stick around to see what shows up or run through as if your life depended on it, which it very well might.
In the early hours of Citadel, however, you’ll be lucky to survive a night outside of the magical shield that is placed in the beginning spawn area. Much like ARK: Survival Evolved, most everything that moves in the wild is out to kill you, and even the lowest-level boars can take you out in just a few hits. Expect to die often as you come to grips with the game’s mechanics, without much in the way of recourse until you have leveled up several times. Flying is fun, but as with most things it ain’t free. It costs mana, though there are abilities that can be used to reduce the cost of flying. Different servers will also feature low-cost flight, and playing offline allows for flying to be basically free.
Messing With Sliders
Yes, playing offline is an option for Citadel. Here, custom rules can be set, such as the amount of XP gained per action, damage done by and to players, and other sliders. Want to get to the end game where you’re taming and killing dragons more quickly? This is definitely where you do that. A creative mode with unlimited resources is also available for those who just want to focus on building large structures or don’t want to have to worry about managing their marble supplies.
Leveling up rewards players with a choice at the inventory screen, to upgrade the player’s health, attack, mana, or carry capacity. Knowledge points are also rewarded with each level, which can be used on the Knowledge tab of the inventory screen to unlock various crafting recipes. There are a lot of things to unlock on this screen, in three categories: survival, crafting, and construction. After ten levels, players can unlock the knowledge of how to build a broom. However, these brooms require some magic dust from fairies, who aren’t easy enemies in the early game. So, some planning and perhaps luck is needed for that first broomstick. Having never personally flown a magical broomstick in real life, I cannot attest to the realism of this action in Citadel. But it gets you from place to place with relative ease and at a much faster speed than walking, so it’s both fun and fast. You can also tame most any creature you come across with the proper spell and then feed them in order to keep their loyalty for a set amount of time. Thus, there are multiple options for traveling faster across the lands of Ignus. There is also literal fast travel, too.
Citadel Forged With Fire Review (PS4) | PlayStation LifeStyle
A Big Group
Up to fifty people can occupy one server at a time. This is a good amount of players and something of a rare feat on consoles. Most servers have persistence, that is the things that you create will stay on the server for all to see unless you neglect them as things naturally wear down over time. So, constructing a castle as a base of operations for your friends will require consistently logging into the server from time to time in order to repair it. That’s pretty standard stuff for this genre, and the wear-down time isn’t too bad. Though be wary if you connect to a server with the name “reset” in it. This means that the world is reset every 90 days, meaning all your progress and structures are wiped out every three months or so. The game doesn’t tell you this, of course, so if you joined a server and had built up a massive town, it will one day vanish without any sort of explanation.
Citadel: Forged With Fire has an interesting, even fun, premise lurking through some of the rough edges. A game like this is most fun when played with others, especially when you consider that on most servers, the things you build will be available for all players on that server to see. The lack of much in the way of content, though, means players are left to their own devices and imagination when it comes to interesting things to see and do. Still, if combining Minecraft, ARK, and Harry Potter-inspired elements in a cauldron sounds appealing, then by all means grab a friend (or 49) and hop in.
Citadel: Forged With Fire review code provided by publisher. Version 1.02 reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.