These days, immersing yourself in the world of a new game can mean a significant time commitment and likely a certain number of dollars coming out of your wallet (figuratively speaking, no one carries wallets anymore, right?). And keeping up with all of the latest releases can mean missing the forest for the trees at times as well. Heck, we are talking about a hundred billion dollar industry at this point, with new titles coming out on any number of platforms and consoles at a record-breaking pace. We went through some of how we got here in our History of Gaming Consoles which explored the rise of the video game system, how it entered our homes, and the steps different companies took to essentially take over the world with their products. Heck, we even looked at the best single-player video game as well. It’s all there. Now we’ll dive in on the New World video game.
The New World video game was released last year and quickly gained popularity for a number of different reasons. Sure, there was a build-up here, and there are some limitations to the overall play. But you’ll find that this game well is worth it once it’s explored. We’ll take you through some of the ins and outs of the New World video game and what to expect when firing it up for the first time as well.
WHAT TOOK THE NEW WORLD VIDEO GAME SO LONG?
The New World video game was initially announced as part of the beginnings of Amazon’s push to get into the video game market through their Amazon Games division. Having already solved basically every piece of the home and entertainment vertical (we’ve got all the stuff, the delivery systems, the servers, and the movies) now it was time to get into the video game race as well. There were a number of starts and stops along the way and more than a few disputes over contracts (looking at you Lord of the Rings MMO).
But back in 2016 Amazon Games did go ahead and announce they’d be releasing New World as part of a three-game push to put out PC Games. The New World video game was the only one of the three to make it to the finish line. The other two, Crucible and Breakaway, were shuttered at various points of development. It was an inauspicious push in this respect, pointing to a company that might have gotten a bit over its skis with this initiative.
And along the timeline, the New World video game saw its own delays as well. The original timeline for release had it hitting the Amazon Store and Steam sometime in 2019. All good, right? Only a few years after the announcement and we’d have our first look. Wrong. The game went through a couple of different timeline adjustments for the next couple of years before finally being made available in 2021. Even that didn’t go super smoothly with some hiccups at release, but by September of last year, it was finally in the hopper and ready for the masses.
WHAT IS NEW WORLD?
On a high level, the New World video game is an MMORPG or, for the uninitiated, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. MMORPGs are known for basically how the name describes them. They are huge games with multiple storylines that work as a role-playing adventure. Other games that have become ridiculously popular in this category include Elder Scrolls Online, Skyforge, Final Fantasy, Lost Ark, and, of course, World of Warcraft. These games are known for building out storylines that can go in any number of different directions based on the actions of the gameplay and can, in some ways, last forever.
They are up to the whim of the player, and since they are essentially a living world, the ideas around “winning” or even “ending” can be somewhat nebulous. In many ways, those latter two pieces are besides the point. They are meant to be immersive in a way other games simply aren’t. It’s what makes the best one such feats of development and care, they keep players wanting to exist within the world for sometimes unclear motives and goals. The New World video game follows many of these hallmarks.
THE STORY IN THE NEW WORLD VIDEO GAME
From a world-building perspective, New World has some very cool ideas it’s playing with to start. The game begins with you being stranded and shipwrecked on Aeternum Island which shares an overlap with the early days of settlers in the United States. There are fantasy elements at play so don’t worry, you aren’t getting a historical drama or anything here. The island is set somewhere in The Atlantic Ocean and at the crux of the game is a mysterious element called Azoth.
Azoth is a mystical element that is said to bring back those who are dead in their purest form, but it can have nasty side effects and consequences as well, something you learn about in the pay of the game. Basically who you were before you died is going to play a part in what you will be like if resurrected. Not everyone comes back on the side of good.
In the New World video game, you play a pirate that has shipwrecked on the island, though plenty of others have come there seeking the promise and allure of Azoth, depending on how they want to potentially use it. And that’s not all because those who’ve sought out the island aren’t the only ones there. Aeternum is massive and has had inhabitants for thousands of years, some of whom are very much “alive” and kicking here.
As a character, you will be up against groups like the Ancients and the Corrupted who are locked in something of a battle with each other. They’ve been at it over the effects of Azoth and have differing goals where the latter is concerned. There’s also The Angry Earth and The Lost, a couple of groups (going in very opposite directions mind you) that see the island as a holding ground for either good or evil (depending on the side).
WHAT IS AT THE HEART OF NEW WORLD?
Basically, the story for the New World video game can be what you want it to be within the rather massive confines of the island and all of its secrets. While the island is huge, as a player you do start small and will begin to level up along the way (this is an RPG after all). Picking your character traits early begins setting you on this path, but also gaining fighting skills, magic skills, and trade skills along the way will help dictate some of the terms of the story. There are an assortment of weapons skills to become proficient in as well as jobs. But because this is a classless RPG you aren’t necessarily dialed into one set or the other from the jump. There is leeway here in a way that we don’t often see with these types of games. It allows for more maneuvering or just changing your mind on a decision within the course of gameplay.
An important aspect of New World is joining one of the three factions on the island. These are three separate groups that are operating with very different goals in mind. The factions are The Covenant, The Marauders, and The Syndicate. Without getting too far into the ins and outs of each group, know that The Covenant is a religious-based group looking to “cleanse” the island of heretics, The Marauders are more a militaristic group seeking to make the island a free nation, and The Syndicate are those secret society types. Players can join up with a faction within the game which will dictate some of the goals, quests, and other forms of game-play.
Within each faction is a Guild made up of other players. The Guilds have their own ranking system and hierarchy that helps organize each group. Guilds are important for a number of different reasons within the context of the game, but also have to do with the next part when we talk about different modes within New World.
ARE THERE OTHER MODES IN NEW WORLD?
In addition to the regular gameplay of New World, there are other styles to explore within the confines of the island. One cool aspect of New World is that Amazon Games has added a PVP element to the gameplay. There are a couple of options here for players. There is Output Rush which pits 20 players against each other in the game and has each working to defend outposts on the map. It’s an extensive PVP in that each team needs to build up resources, defeat other enemies, and capture different objectives on the map.
War is what it sounds like. This is when factions within the game decide it wants to mix it up over a territory. There are various machinations within this style and there is timing involved as well. It doesn’t happen all at once. But it is basically a battle to capture certain places on the map for a faction.
WHERE CAN I PLAY THE NEW WORLD VIDEO GAME?
For console lovers out there, I’ve got bad news for you. New World is only available on PC. And for those hoping that Amazon will, at some point, reverse course on that decision I’ve got even worse news for you. Amazon Games has already been pretty clear that they have no intention of ever releasing it on any console. It’s PC or bust with this thing and that’s the way it’s going to stay. Frankly, this isn’t all that different from some of the more popular MMORPG games out there with some of the best really only living exclusively on the PC. So in this way, it’s not all that divergent a path from legacy issued games of this style. Amazon is mostly following suit and doesn’t have to get into the PS5 vs Xbox Series X debate at all.
IS NEW WORLD FREE?
The original plan was to have the New World video game release totally free. That was the *original* plan. It didn’t work out that way. Currently, the game is available via Amazon or Steam for a cool $40.
In addition to the cost of the game, there is an in-game store for New World which will take real-world (like our world) dollars. But nothing purchased in the store can increase your power or efficiency within the game itself. The upgrades here are mostly just cosmetic in nature, you aren’t getting boosted with these microtransactions. It includes different skins, dyes, and you can buy storage. But that same storage can be found within the course of the game as well so it’s not a massive plus.
IS AMAZON’S NEW WORLD WORTH IT?
This is always the operative question, isn’t it? Choosing to shell out $40 for a game isn’t a small decision. On Metacritic, the New World video game is sitting at 70, not a bad score all things considered. The positives from critics suggested that the overall scope of the game was commendable and that Amazon had clearly spent time crafting and honing a visual element to this one that was solid out of the box (so to speak). And there was an overall sentiment that the in-game action was fun with the aforementioned PVP elements really bringing a unique twist to the traditional MMORPG.
The negatives around New World tended to focus on an underwhelming PVE element that left gamers wanting significantly more from this experience. This meant needing more quests within the game that players could work towards. There was something of an agreement that from an MMORPG standpoint, this landed much more on the beginner side of the scale, not crazy considering the studio that brought it to you.