I suppose I can’t review TERA without addressing the lingerie-clad elephant in the room: the hypersexualization. While it is difficult to find a fantasy game nowadays that doesn’t sacrifice realism for flesh, TERA differs from the norm in two ways. First, it is an equal opportunity offender — women, of course, are scantily clad, but you’ll also find men wearing only a small vest to cover their well-chiseled abs. And these aren’t the macho body-builders that guys like to idolize, but the handsome Casanovas you find in anime, intended to appeal to the female demographic.
Second, it takes your standard RPG’s revealing armor to a whole new level of absurdity, interpreting the term “chainmail bikini” quite literally. Any sense of realism is thrown completely out the window — TERA is unashamedly a fantasy game, in every sense of the word. Where other games tiptoe around the subject, coyly revealing a little cleavage, TERA struts proudly in stiletto heels and the latest fashion from the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
Overall, whether the hypersexualization adds to or detracts from the game is a personal choice. For purposes of this review, it is neither a pro nor a con — it just is. That said, it’s an issue that bleeds into an important ethical dilemma in our western society. I stated TERA is an equal opportunity offender: women, men… even children.
Well, let’s be fair. They are not actually children; they simply look like little girls. As a playable race, the Elin are described as “the divine “children” of the goddess Elinu.” Censorship was introduced in TERA’s western release, with the Elin’s panties being swapped for short-shorts, so some thought was put into western sensibilities. Some.
Now, I will not judge the culture in which the Elin were born; I’m given to understand that there are no taboos regarding the issue of sexualizing childlike figures in certain eastern societies. However, based on the in-game global chat, this cultural phenomenon does not translate into western society, given the number of pedophilic comments flying around. While it may not have been TERA’s intent, players make references to children, nudity, and sex, all at once, and this may make some people uneasy.
Ultimately, what TERA seeks to do, it does very well. If you’re a fan of eastern MMOs, you will love TERA, because it delivers everything you enjoy coupled with a revolutionary combat system in a highly-polished product. But apart from the combat system — which the MMO genre as an entirety should adopt going forward — TERA offers little innovation to the tried and tested formula.
- Innovative, engaging, and fun combat system
- Big Ass Monsters make for epic battles
- An imaginative and artistic high-fantasy setting
- Top-notch graphical quality
- Follows the generic MMO formula
- Story is little more than wallpaper
- Gameplay becomes repetitive
- Encourages pedophilic comments in western society
Final Score: 75/100