Atlus, maker of the Persona series and with a pretty long line of fun Japanese-style RPGs, is bringing their Steampunk MMO, Neo Steam, to our gear-strewn shores.
Apparently Neo Steam has been available in Asia for quite some time, but the version we’re going to be getting has new content, more localization, and just better all around. Which can only be a good thing, because the game as it stands now doesn’t look that interesting.
And here’s why.
First of all, the setting. Neo Steam is set in a world where two countries are battling over control of the precious resource, Neo Steam, which powers their battle machines. One country uses magic, the other focuses on technology.
Mistake #1. Steampunk is set in Victorian/Edwardian England. That’s, like, a RULE. I don’t see any waistcoats or bustles in the screen shots. It looks like standard fantasy fare, except with more pipes and gauges.
Don’t even start with me on China Mielville. YES, his stuff was Steampunk. NO, it didn’t take place on Earth. But he evoked the sense of Industrial Revolution Europe, and that’s all we really ask? Neo Steam evokes… Japanese F2P fantasy games.
Secondly, the entire game seems set up mostly to provide a setting and a reason for PvP. That isn’t a bad thing. Lots of people love PvP, and few do cutthroat battle like those hardcore Eastern gamers. But that’s not what I’m looking for. If I want roving death bands of high level players to continually kill me, laughing at me and performing perverse acts to my corpse while ridiculing me in broken English — I can just play Darkfall. The fact that my sword includes some knobs, a gauge and little jets of steam won’t matter that much to me.
Nah. In Steampunk, you dress too warmly, never say what you mean but you ALWAYS mean what you say, manners are precise and bad manners, uncouth. And when you invite your colleagues to your drawing room and show them your time machine, they will sip sherry and smoke cigars and discuss, in general terms, the disposition of your estate after you’re sent to Bedlam. After you subsequently disappear into the mists of time itself, they will likely admit to each other the bad manners of dematerializing without alerting the proper authorities.
THAT’S steampunk. To me, anyway.
Still, head over to Neo Steam’s web site and register for the beta because, you know, it’s STEAMPUNK!