Tabula Rasa - Review

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
Author and references

Inauguration without clogging problems

Once the game is started, you have to choose one of the four official servers to register the avatar: if the one selected is excessively busy, the program prevents access. Of course, given the origin of the production, the European host is the most popular, even if we personally preferred Cassiopeia, located on the west coast of the United States of America, currently sparsely populated and with acceptable latency times (a praise to NCsoft for having avoided the classic inaugural blockages despite the warm welcome of the public). At this point, up to sixteen avatars can be registered. The creation of one's alter ego, probably the most important moment of a role-playing game, could disappoint a slice of fans since it is reduced to the choice of the sex and physiognomy of the protagonist, without the possibility of selecting races other than humans or to specialize. in certain professions. The deeply arcade spirit of is thus betrayed immediately in the first seconds of the game Tabula Rasa: the character, like games like Titan Quest or Two Worlds (to name the most recent), takes shape as the player decides how to spend the three characteristic points and two skill points that are achieved at each level advancement.

Inauguration without clogging problems

The former serve to increase, from time to time, the number of hit points and concentration (the equivalent of the mana of fantasy RPGs) and the speed with which they regenerate, while the latter allow you to specialize in powerful disciplines (now magical, physical hours) called Logos which in order to be used must first be learned at special altars. The acquired Logos are drawn in the Tabula (initially Rasa) which gives the game its name. Levels 5, 15 and 30 are real critical points because the player, in order to progress, must first choose which class to specialize in, following a tree that comes to have, at the thirtieth level, eight branches: four of a more military style (grenadier, guardian, sniper and spy), four more support (wrecker, engineer, doctor and biologist); naturally each of them corresponds to unique and peculiar abilities. Those who are afraid of having to put up with the whole growth process all over again in order to use a more suitable class can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to an innovation introduced by Tabula Rasa: this is the cloning system that allows you to make an exact copy of the original character, with relative honors and completed quests, whose skill points, however, are still to be distributed. The arsenal is not transferred but it is possible to store it in special lockers in order to interchange it with the other avatars of the same family. In order to carry out this operation, special “cards” are required which are provided upon completion of certain objectives.

System requirements

Minimum requirements

  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP
  • Intel Pentium 4 a 2,5 GHz o equivalente AMD
  • 512 MByte of RAM
  • ATI Radeon 9600 o NVIDIA GeForceFX 5700 con 128MB di RAM
  • DVD-ROM 2x
  • 5 GB of free hard disk space
  • Broadband internet connection
Recommended Requirements
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista
  • Intel Pentium 4 a 3,5 GHz o equivalente AMD
  • 2 GBytes of RAM
  • ATI Radeon® x1800 o NVIDIA® GeForce 7800
Test Setup
  • AMD Athlon FX-55 (2,6 GHz)
  • 2 GBytes of RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX video card

Meat for slaughter

The tutorial that accompanies the recruits in the first minutes of the game is sufficiently intuitive but not entirely exhaustive: there are too many aspects left out, such as PvP and crafting, which can therefore only be mastered with experience on the battlefield. The third-person view can be approached up to frame the avatar's shoulders, but there is also a mode similar to that of Gears of War in which the character occupies the lower left corner of the monitor, allowing a more precise view of the target. The action is frenetic and reminiscent of an FPS: the carnage starts from the first levels favored above all by the dynamic nature of the enemies, who are not limited to being mere street furniture, but actively patrol some strategic areas of the map, noticing quickly of unwelcome presences (and it is not just humans, but also harmless grazing animals or other aliens that are nearby). A very interesting feature, although not innovative, is the existence of "free" outposts, periodically attacked by flocks of Bane that can even reach their conquest, thus making the merchants and quest givers within them unavailable. The furious battles that ensue for the liberation and the garrison are probably the flagship of Tabula Rasa, which reaches exciting levels with the use (strongly encouraged by a textual system that is not very fast) of the voice chat: never as in these cases in fact it is necessary to organize with other players to reach the goal. Artificial intelligence proves, relative to the MMORPG genre, one of the best that have been seen even if sometimes the computer-controlled aliens appear excessively aided by an aim that allows them to hit the player even when he is behind rocks or walls. Frustrating situations sometimes due to lag but also to real bugs that programmers are doing their utmost to solve.

Economy in crisis

There is no lack of action even for those who prefer solo missions. Dozens of quests appear at each camp and although not all of them can be completed immediately by a single player (also in Tabula Rasa cooperation between users is clearly favored) you will almost never find yourself with the worry of where to go or what to do also because exploring on foot (paradoxically there are only teleportation portals, but not motorized vehicles) the vast areas that make up the maps of the game there is always some alien to disintegrate or some less experienced user to lend a hand. Some of these even have moral implications (deliver the young shaman apprentice to justice for the damage done or help him escape and cultivate his passion?), But it is a pity that there are no repercussions except in the reward. It is mainly fought with firearms and bombs, as well as with special abilities: it goes without saying that there are dozens of variants of rifles, pistols and the like and that all must be periodically repaired to avoid jamming or excessive overheating. Finding yourself in front of a group of Thrax with the machine gun in breakdown or worse still without ammunition is not at all nice and even a desperate escape sometimes will not be enough to save your skin. Fortunately, the penalties related to passing are limited to lowering (sometimes even drastically) for five minutes the characteristics of the avatar. This situation in itself is not very annoying in the main maps but creates big problems in the instances (i.e. those small areas of the game created exclusively for the player and his group) where it can be frustrating to wait to fully recover the attributes without being forced to stop. in the middle of a quest.

Economy in crisis

What is missing are PvP and a robust economy that cannot stand only on the fragile crafting system made in Tabula Rasa, very complicated and left completely at the mercy of the curiosity of the players, since the only indications present in the printed guide really leave something to be desired. The battles against other users have also been put on the sidelines and basically concern the clans. Even those who are not members of a guild can challenge another player but this is certainly not the strong point of Tabula Rasa, at least in this phase of the title's running-in, even if there is talk of changes in direction in the coming months, as well as the introduction of an auction house.

Uno Sci-Fantasy

Speaking of the settings of Tabula Rasa one is dumbfounded: a sensation similar to that brilliantly drawn just a week ago by our Paolo Simonazzi in one of his pungent cartoons. If they were to replace spear guns, castle outposts and alien ships from mounted armies, the differences to a fantasy RPG would probably be minimal. The maps are so vast and numerous (currently about twenty main ones) such as not to make you feel the lack of any type of landscape: from wooded expanses to snow-covered clearings, passing through canyons and savannahs, to dams and trenches, none of which is however really well characterized and after a while you will have the impression of visiting places that are too similar to each other. It could be a subjective question, but from such a game we would have expected an urban guerrilla atmosphere that is breathed only at times. Certainly the limits with which these have been made are beyond personal considerations, which sometimes ends up making the player lose orientation. It will take a while to untangle some caves that have a labyrinth or to reach particularly inaccessible points, not always well displayed on the minimap at the bottom right.

Uno Sci-Fantasy

The graphic realization of Lord British's game leaves you puzzled in the same way. In the face of system requirements that are not exactly popular, despite the game's target, the levels reached are fluctuating. Some views definitely deserve a positive note, as well as certain monsters (especially the most impressive ones), but in most cases you will have to deal with clumsy big babies of pixels that are anything but scary. In order to enjoy the maximum level of detail it is necessary to have a good amount of system RAM (at least 2 GByte) and video (at least 512 MByte): those who do not have them will have to lower the visual quality in order not to incur continuous and annoying uploads from disk. The music, often anonymous, touches the repetitiveness during the firefights, proving in any case not suitable for the pyrotechnic show of special effects (very accurate) that illuminate the monitor.

The game interface is a bit cumbersome and can create some difficulties during the first few bars, also because, as mentioned, the tutorial does not help much in this sense. Not even the printed version is very useful, and it is a serious flaw to point out because, given the price of the client, we would have expected something more comprehensive (the standard editions of Tabula Rasa contain only an abridged version of the 130-page booklet bundled in the deluxe). The game is plagued by numerous bugs and by a net code that has yet to be fixed: it has often happened that we are unable to complete some quests due to the lack of enemies to eliminate; many times shotgun shots fired at point-blank range have not made even a scratch to the helpless alien sniper lying on the ground; in a couple of occasions finally we literally got stuck with our avatar between two rocks, being eliminated mercilessly by the enemies who flocked from everywhere. Since the official release of the game, dated 2 November, two patches have already been released for a total of almost half a gig (practically 15% of Tabula Rasa) who testify at what pace they are working at NCsoft; Unfortunately, however, there are still many flaws to be fixed that penalize the gaming experience.

No credit card? Non party!

As written in the review text there are numerous bugs in Tabula Rasa, most of which involve quests that sometimes "break" in the middle. In this box we want to report a problem that goes beyond the actual game and concerns the NCsoft servers. During the registration phase of Tabula Rasa in fact, it was not possible to activate the game using only the "time trial" that is the month of time made available by the code contained in the package: in order to continue we were forced to indicate the number of a credit card, on which the quota necessary to automatically extend the life of the account. However, the Spanish distributor DDE is able to provide assistance to customers until the problem is resolved by NCsoft. In any case, this is not a malicious procedure: once the game is activated, it is possible to revoke the automatic debit arrangement without any costs being charged at the end of the first month which is still free.


We at know how absolutely pretentious and unfair it is to judge an MMORPG after just two weeks of play, especially if it is a production of a team that has practically unlimited economic and creative potential. The number shown in these pages is actually the result of first impressions derived from forty hours of play, and these impressions tell us that Tabula Rasa it's a good game but not the masterpiece we would have expected from the genius of Garriott. The development of the avatar is certainly well thought out as well as the vaguely hack 'n' slash style that makes the games very fast and engaging, even if at times a little repetitive. The PvE is equally well cared for, and ranks at the top of the category; moreover, some brilliant ideas (such as that of cloning) will certainly be taken up by future productions. However, there are several aspects that undermine the overall experience, and these are not mere bugs that can be solved over time: too immature PvP and largely underdeveloped crafting risk not giving proper emphasis to the interaction between users (despite the gratification that comes with it. from the reconquest of an outpost fallen into Bane hands) and above all they cast shadows on what can happen once the maximum level is reached. The road map promised by NCsoft is promising and that is why we will return to our reflections in the coming months, when we evaluate the development of things: currently Tabula Rasa it remains an advisable game but with reservations.


  • Idea innovative
  • Immediate involvement
  • The class system is spot on
  • Non obsessive grinding
  • Too many flaws
  • High price
  • Some fundamental aspects excessively neglected

Tabula Rasa is available for PC.

The release of Richard "Lord British" Garriott's new game is undoubtedly an important moment, not because it is, for the few who do not know, the genius who invented the MMORPG genre, as well as having influenced for over a decade the development of computer RPGs. In reality, the English programmer, who had long since married the South Korean NCsoft after being ousted from the Origin he founded, had already put his signature on other highly popular productions such as Lineage (I and II) and City of Heroes / Villain, but for the first time since Ultima IX wanted the name to appear in front of the game title. Tabula Rasa therefore faces a very demanding challenge, especially after the success of World of WarCraft: that of living up to the illustrious progeny while imposing itself as a milestone in what we could define "third generation" of MMORPGs, in a challenge that will see Warhammer Online and Age Of Conan will also be in the arena in the coming months.
The background that gives rise to the game universe is the most banal one can imagine and takes full inspiration from blockbusters such as Independence Day, Men in Black and War of the Worlds: the Bane, a parasitic alien race, come to conquer of the Earth but the scientists of the SETI projects, ready even for the most paranormal eventuality, hastily enlist the best terrestrials to teleport them to parallel worlds (Foreas and Arieki) where to preserve mankind while preparing the recovery.

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