So when I decided to see whether Family Guy Online is a real MMO or just a vehicle for the new movie The Watch, (it's plastered throughout much of the game), I was ready for plenty of potty humor, jokes that tried to offend me, and essentially a horrible time. Oh, I found the horrible time easily enough (and forgave much of it because of the game's beta state), but I also found some pretty cool gameplay.
Some, I said.
Sure, quests are easy enough to follow at first, but pretty quickly you have to go through a series of collection quests that force you to run all over the city -- literally -- looking for little bits to click on or parts to pick up. Am I supposed to know the layout of the city well enough to know where the "racist sunflower" is? Is it a character from the show? If I judge it by its name, a classic Family Guy combination of attempted shock-humor and randomness, surely the Racist Sunflower has to be a known icon in the city. Unfortunately, I had no idea. I was still looking for it right before I started writing this.
Clicking on objects sometimes works but often does not. The lag in the game is also frequently unbelievable and even drags down the performance of my browser as a whole. Not only that, but if I pick up an object for a collection, it often reappears right back where it was before, leading me to wonder, "Did I pick that one up already?" Normally, I would just try to pick it up again... or just walk away from the computer and smash my head into the wall. Anyway, that's enough of my telling you about some of the broken areas of the game. It's important to remember that much of that -- if not all -- could still be fixed before launch. This is still a beta, after all.
Watch live video from massivelytv on TwitchTV
So what did I like about the game?
Surprisingly, I enjoyed the fart emote my character used. I'll give Family Guy Online some credit: Fart jokes are always funny. My character was from the Stewie class, a clever system that allows players to "play" their favorite characters without creating a million little Stewies running around. You can choose from a few character classes, and although your avatar will look quite a lot like the characters from the show, you are able to roll a character that's relatively unique within just a few short minutes. For example, my character ended up looking like a baby tough guy, complete with a mob fedora. The character creation and "class" system is quite fun. You also get a series of abilities, like a raygun blast, to use during combat. The combat was marred by lag, but when it worked, it was fun to watch your character kick someone in the shin and follow it up with a blast from a pistol.
"If you make a game that features a fully customizable avatar system, one that encourages players to be very creative with their outfits, don't charge so much. People will buy more to make up the difference."
It's funny, but I actually enjoyed Family Guy Online much more than I thought I would, especially considering how much I detest the show. Ironically, the one character from the show I do like, Brian the dog, was an "unlockable" class. It appeared that at a certain level, the dog would be available for my use, and I can only imagine customizing him to look like one of my own, real-life companions. But the honest truth is that if performance doesn't improve and if the game doesn't become more than just a click-fest, I'll never stick around long enough to unlock that dog.
Next week I will be returning to Face of Mankind because, well, the developers have suggested that many things have changed since my last visit. I had enough fun with it the last time I played, but most of my week was spent just figuring out how to play. It will be nice to have some knowledge of the game ahead of time this go around. Now if I can only pick a faction without getting myself killed, I'll be happy. I'll be streaming the game live on our Twitch.tv channel at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 30th!
Each week on Rise and Shiny, Beau chooses a different free-to-play, indie, or browser-based game and jumps in head-first. It might be amazing or it might be a dud, but either way, he'll deliver his new-player impressions to you. Drop him an email, comment, or tweet!