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Xperia Play  header logo

Vendetta Online

For: Xperia Play   Also on: Android, iPad
Summary Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  

Spaced

Product: Vendetta Online | Developer: In-house | Publisher: Guild Software | Format: Xperia Play | Genre: Multiplayer, RPG | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe
 
Vendetta Online Xperia Play, thumbnail 1
To quote a great author of our time, “Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is.

It’s no wonder then that MMO developers have latched onto space as a setting. You can fit a lot of people in space. The more players, the better.

The other thing about space, though, is that not much happens there. Sure, there are a few supermassive black holes, but by definition space is sort of filled with nothing.

It’s these conflicting feelings of awe and boredom that affect the player of Vendetta Online. Awe at the incredibly large and beautiful environments, and boredom at the slow, intractable grind.

Twinkle, twinkle

The idea of the game is to pilot a ship around space, earning money and experience with which to buy bigger ships, better cargo, heavier weapons, and so on. You join one of three space-faring nations depending (roughly) on what you want to specialise in: combat, mining, or trading.

Vendetta Online has a lot going for it. Not only is it deep, with a surprising number of ships to but, items to trade, and so on, but it looks pretty spectacular.

Asteroid fields hang in front of the gigantic rings of gold gas giants, while the nearby stars glare brightly onto the hulls of drifting leviathans.

The only pity is that the framerate on Xperia Play drops dramatically when it has to deal with a lot of ships or environmental features at once. Otherwise the game looks sublime.

A long, long time ago...

There’s a reason it looks so well-crafted and has so much content. Vendetta has been around for a long time (since 2004), first on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The developer knows its way around.

This means that it’s fiendishly well-supported. Within the first few days of release on the Market the game has already seen a number of updates specifically targeted at Android users. Given the history behind it, it's likely that these will continue for some time to come.

However, this is also a problem. The game is cross-platform. The universe you play in on your Xperia Play is the same universe as those playing on PCs and Macs, and it's obvious from the start that this is an extremely hardcore title, designed primarily for someone with a keyboard, a mouse, and a ton of free time.

The controls are a near-insurmountable challenge to master, especially when flying without the ‘assisted’ flying mode on.

The D-pad controls thrusters on all sides of the ship, while the right touchpad controls the nose. The L trigger also gives you a welcome turbo boost, while the R trigger fires your primary weapon. Secondary and tertiary weapons are mapped to the 'start' and 'select' buttons.

It feels like it should be simple, but it isn’t. Just getting my ship into the dock the first dozen times was an exercise in patience. It’s slippy and inelegant and feels like it’s just a little too much for the phone to handle.

Engine critical

But this isn’t the worst of it. That comes when you get into the game proper and the missions reveal themselves to be of the rote MMO kind, with very little variety.

There are more missions and epic PvP battles much later, but the amount of investment required to get to that level usually runs alongside the desire to socialise and team up – which is incredibly time-consuming and awkward to do through the Android version’s keyboard and tiny – at times totally unresponsive – menu systems.

On a tablet, these menus are likely bearable, but on the Play’s smaller screen they just cause eyestrain and twisted knuckles.

Vendetta Online is well-constructed and beautifully presented, but the gameplay just doesn’t hold together on the device without spending days and days getting used to flaws and mastering the graceless controls.

All that said, there’s not much else like it for hardcore MMO fans. However, if that’s not you then you’ll come away wanting to like Vendetta Online but unable to shake the feeling that it just doesn’t belong in this particular space. 

 
Vendetta Online
Reviewer photo
Brendan Caldwell | 9 September 2011
Gorgeous visuals and a huge world can’t save this from being an MMO that feels a little alien on the Xperia Play. But one that perhaps the most hardcore among us can learn to like
 
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Joined:
Dec 2011
Post count:
2
Smittens | 03:20 - 10 December 2011
Vendetta is an awesome game with one of the coolest PVP mechanics I've seen in an MMO. Apart from an hour or two of killing bots at the beginning to get some standard equipment (and getting the hang of flying around), there is NO GRINDING REQUIRED! I just killed enough bots to buy some basic weapons, and from there never shot at one again. The combat is entirely skill based; I regularly beat players with better ships and weapons in my clunky noob-bucket of a ship! I've played Vendetta for 5 months now, and after my first few hours of learning/"grinding" against bots I haven't shot one since-- I just kill players, and am pretty good at it :D

Maybe Black Rabbit needs to practice his flying a little more. I'd suggest spending less time killing bots (which is totally unnecessary after you get the basics down) and more time developing the skill to fight off pirates (which isn't that hard... most pirates are not very good pilots themselves!)

Overall Vendetta is a great MMO that feels much more skill based than most MMORPGs. There is little to no grinding after you get through the tutorials (and if you never want to spend another minute grinding, you don't have to!), and the combat is entirely skill based. Don't let the rantings of a struggling newbie dissuade you from trying the coolest and most immersive space MMO on the market, I'd highly recommend downloading Vendetta and trying it out.
Joined:
Dec 2011
Post count:
1
Ryan Reign | 07:16 - 5 December 2011
So now you're whining here too? You know you messed up when ALLOH is berating you!!!

Here's where it stands BR, if you don't want to get boomed by a person... keep away from MMO's. As an avid sci fi MMO player, I can honestly say in the six or more years I have been playing VO, I have never seen a nicer, more helpful or better community... in any game, ever.

We have a lot of people that have been been playing longer than I have and we get newbs signing on and not rage quitting after realizing that not everyone is going to not shoot them... so obviously, VO is doing something right. Equally obviously... you are doing lots of things wrong.
Joined:
Nov 2011
Post count:
4
BLACK RABBIT | 22:09 - 23 November 2011
Do you really think, knowing the Serco and Itani war and political background, is going to help any in training? Like I said, most is boring. Beyond moving the ship, firing, jumping, turbo, and docking, it is trash and very overwhelming. Who cares.....

And the Serco/Itani war is severely balance in the favor of the Itani. So, forget the stupid war and the whole background thing. Oh, there are a lot of warnings to stay out of gray space, but the pirates come into the Faction space, anyway.

And, just wait till they have to kill bot after bot after bot. Did I say more bots?

When you try this game, you will see..... If you don't fall asleep, traveling.....
Joined:
Nov 2011
Post count:
1
Alloh | 12:47 - 23 November 2011
That happens when you skip the tutorials and enter game without knowing the rules nor how to handle your spaceship in a real 3D newronian space, instead of airplanes-in-space...

Joined:
Nov 2011
Post count:
2
Arctic Fire | 13:11 - 22 November 2011
Blackrabbit, I recall you being destroyed by one player on your way to the nation war, causing you to miss the start. While this may be frustrating, please don't condemn the entire community on behalf of one player. On a side note, although you say the game is boring you certainly found the time and energy to start a lot of threads on our forums:

http://www.vendetta-online.com/x/msgboard/1/25548
http://www.vendetta-online.com/x/msgboard/3/25547
http://www.vendetta-online.com/x/msgboard/1/25549
http://www.vendetta-online.com/x/msgboard/1/25550
http://www.vendetta-online.com/x/msgboard/3/25552
http://www.vendetta-online.com/x/msgboard/3/25553
http://www.vendetta-online.com/x/msgboard/1/25499
http://www.vendetta-online.com/x/msgboard/3/25525

Now, a few points in your post to respond to:

The tutorials are there to defend you from yourself. They explain things like how to navigate around the universe, how to use the PDA, stations and commodities: bare essentials you must know in order to be successful in game. It may be a lot of reading, but in the long run it will save you time as you will have a better understanding of how the game works.

Mining is not for everyone, I'll grant you that, but there are some players in game who really enjoy it. It is a simple way to earn credits, and some of the minerals are used to craft high powered weapons and ships. It's one of those things that if you don't enjoy, you're free to skip over without being hindered.

Twenty minutes to get halfway around the universe is not really that much at all, in my opinion. Considering that your national territory can occupy up to 2/3rds this distance, 12 minutes to cross nation space also sounds reasonable. You make it sound as though you are constantly having to travel around the galaxy, when in fact there is plenty to do in each system.

There are many different ways to increase your licenses in game, be it through missions or by freelancing. Sometimes playing through a mission tree that follows a specific storyline can be a lot more rewarding than sticking with the combat practice missions. You are also free to increase your Combat license through PvP.

Probably the best solution would be to find yourself a mentor, and to get trained in the ways of PvP combat. The tactics are much different than what you would use against bots, and they matter much more than the equipment you use. Within a few hours you should have access to a ship (the Warthog, Vulture, or Revenant) that can hold its own against the highest level ships in game. It really is more about the tactics you use and your own skill level.

Lastly, two attributes that define an advanced player are patience, and imagination. Every advanced player began as a newbie.

Hope you stay and enjoy the game.
Joined:
Nov 2011
Post count:
4
BLACK RABBIT | 23:17 - 20 November 2011
Vendetta has an 8 hour trial. So I tried the game. To get started in the game, a person needs to take the tutorials. Tutorials are training missions And let me tell you, they wrote a book of junk you have to read to take the training mission. Nobody cares much about all the politics. It is too overwhelming. All you care about, in the training tutorials, is the last paragraph of the that mission. And, I can tell by the number of newbies that log on and then leave, never to be seen again, that the tutorials are terrible.

Lets talk mining. Mining for minerals is big in the beginning of the game, to gain money and levels. But, it takes a long, long, boring time. Sure, the first day is cool. It is all new. Then, it is boring, boring, boring, as you move from rock to rock, waiting for the cargo bay to fill up.

Lets get into travel in the game. Think about this. To go from one side of your nation, to the other, takes over 12 minutes of holding down the tab key, as you go from one jump to another, and seeing very few other ships. Sure, you can find a plug-in to hold the tab key down (i, nfinite turbo) but it is very tricky to use. Travel is so bad, that you might go to sleep if you have to take a convoy 1/2 way around the universe, taking over 15 minutes and up to 20.

To gain better weapons and ships, and gain experience, you have to kill a lot of small bots. We are talking, a lot. There are actually a bit of fun, at first, but then they soon get boring.

Now, lets get into pirates. There is nothing worse then doing all this freaking boring mining, then boring travel, as your missions, just to have some pirate, with attitude, find you, demand payment … or blow you up. If you run from the pirate and get blown up (most do), then you have to do all that boring stuff, again. Oh, the pirate ship and their weapons are WAY better then yours, plus their fighting techniques are better. You don't have a prayer, no matter what they say. And I have witnessed pirates killing in pirate space, as well as Nation space.

In the end, the only thing not too boring in this game is pirating and pvp combat in an area called Sedina 8. It is mostly people that have played a long time, have a nasty attitude, and are good at fighting.

The game has some nice graphics, but in reality, is the same thing ... everywhere. These includes rocks, space stations, and a lot of empty space. Sure, there are some things you can do, and plan, but it takes hours and hours of boring time.

They also need some cooler ships. I am fighting with a space ship called a Vulture, that has, wings, like a fighter jet. Can’t I have a space ship? If I wanted to fly an F-15 in space, I would have gotten a different game.

The best thing about this program is that the game was very reliable, and ran on a lot of platforms. This means you can be bored, a whole lot of places. Just go there an try it for free. Don’t fall asleep while playing.

UPDATE:
There is a review by Phaserlight, who is an ADVANCED player (actually one of the few nice ones) and one of the elite in fighting. If you are not the best, then pvp is terrible.... as they have such a nasty attitude.
Joined:
Aug 2011
Post count:
5
Phaserlight | 13:16 - 16 September 2011
Nice quote by Douglas Adams, that really brings back memories of reading through his series in high school. There were a few points in your review that I wanted to address as a participant who has spent a calculated 1.31% of their psycho-metaphysical energy in an apparently hardcore game since 2003.

Partially because of its scale, I find Vendetta Online is best taken in small doses. As you mention, its sheer scale can be a little overwhelming at times. This game was designed by someone who spent a large part of childhood sailing the ocean, therefore think of Vendetta Online as being nautically paced. Time tends to slow down for me as I play; An hour can pass in the real world while it feels like I’ve only been at the helm a few minutes, kind of like a reverse-Narnia effect. Thus I find it helpful to set small objectives while I’m in game, thinking of each session as a dive (I really mentally say “dive dive dive!” logging in sometimes, but that’s just me).

Small objectives there are plenty of. Ship a small quantity of volatile chemicals across the local solar system. Wipe out a small Hive infestation sprouting up in a local asteroid belt. Go for a new personal record in the race tubes if you’re in the area.

In fact there are so many things to do it can sometimes be hard to pick a direction. After completing the training mission series you are presented with up to 11 different missions to pursue; 4 of them are additional training and 7 from different serious clients.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORulZSXdU80

The initial assignments include everything from combat practice to exploring mineral distributions along the asteroid belt to delivering encrypted DataPads to researching some rogue mining drones. Picking one of these vocations and sticking with it takes dedication, and you won’t get it all done in one session or a hundred so maybe that label of hardcore is deserved. However it won’t be long before you are getting some pretty unique rewards, and I believe it happens more quickly than the author realizes. In the tutorial series I pointed out within the first hour I’ve picked up a special prototype blaster and have access to a ship that is commonly used and well respected in PvP. Keeping this up over days, months, and years can lead to some very large scale rewards as well: how about owning your own capital ship or station? As I said before it doesn’t happen overnight so it’s important to take it in small doses.

I also find it interesting that the author points out the cross-platform aspect of Vendetta as a problem. I feel that this is one of Vendetta’s major strengths. I first began playing on a computer in the student library of my college, a then-called supercomputer (it could do a gigaflop so who was I to argue?) tower. I went from there to playing on a 10” graphite Macintosh powerbook to a Toshiba 17” laptop, all on the same character. The next logical step for me will be to get on some kind of mobile gaming device, and the Xperia Play just might be it.

I can agree that in my years of experience with the Vendetta Online community the devs have been very proactive about staying on top of support. Sometimes opportunity knocks and the move has to be made before all the bells and whistles are in place. The good thing is that Vendetta is being constantly updated, and I’ve heard a lot of talk about improving the UI on smaller screens. I believe that the experience on mobile devices will continue to improve over the years, and that this truly is just the beginning.

Space might be a lot more filled than you might realize. Sometimes new players are painfully lacking situational awareness; I often can get within a few meters of a newbie before he knows I’m there. It only takes getting destroyed a few times before this situational awareness quickly builds, and in Vendetta Online this can literally happen in the blink of an eye.

All in all I have never found another gaming experience that comes close to Vendetta Online, and I am glad to be a member of their community. I look forward to seeing what happens in the coming months. Thanks for reading this grizzled veteran’s long-winded exposé, and thanks to Caldwell for the honest review. I hope that you may find over the months that many of the negative aspects you mentioned in your review will have changed, and when you decide to revisit us you may have a vastly different experience.
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