Citadel: Forged with Fire Review – PlayStation 4
+ Great introductions to sandbox gaming.
+ Ability to set your own world rules.
+ Lots to craft and customize.
- Tutorial is horrible.
- Loot drops can be frustrating.
Normally, this isn’t my cup of tea but Citadel: Forged with Fire by Blue Isle Studios has created something I can actually get into; a sandbox RPG where I can fly on dragons, throw spells and burn giant structures to the ground. I am the wizard in my own story and my story revolves around picking up sticks and stones to build my fortress from the ground up and then burning someone else’s to the ground.
The tutorial that you go through when you start a new character, which as I mentioned that anytime you join a new server you have to create a new character and start over, is lacking in almost every part of being called a “tutorial”. It gives you a few quests where you go pick some flowers, get some sticks, unlocks a few crafting items for you, but it tells you nothing about how to craft spells, what the advanced crafting tables do or really anything about the game other than you can make things with the materials you collect. It woefully underprepares you for the minute you walk out of that purple dome of safety.
So, what exactly is outside the dome? Everything you need to expand your magical skills and armory; you won’t get far without traveling and facing a bit of danger. The tutorial lets you walk out to the edge of the dome and I ran into a skeleton and a nonstop barrage of boars that wanted to kill me, but once you start exploring you will find yourself bumping into bandits, wolves, bears and even giant eagles if you start traversing far enough. That’s nothing compared to the undead and magical creatures you’ll find along the way including the big boys themselves, dragons. Most of these creatures you can tame and for a short time they will fight for you and even let you ride them to help you traverse even faster across the world of Ignus.
Ignus is huge, and I wondered for a bit, what exactly is there to DO in this game? The little story I was given was thrown at me in about 4-7 short quests that took me five minutes to complete, the best I can say is that in Citadel: Forged with Fire, you create your own story. You are born in a pit of lava in a world where magic and dragons are real. Do you want to be the mage who throws lightning and fire across the land or do you want to wield an axe and chop your enemies to pieces? It’s all your choice and I think it’s the best thing about this particular sandbox experience; you are stuck to one thing and you don’t get penalized as harshly as you try and build your character how you want. I don’t have to worry about eating or sleeping and I can just do as I please; it’s the most accessible way to get new people to play your game.
Citadel: Forged with Fire lets you play your character as you want but how do you accomplish that? Crafting, crafting, crafting. You make everything you need from the spells you use to the house or citadel that you live in. While the tutorial system gives you an inkling of the scope that you can expand it doesn’t do it in a way that explains just how ridiculous you can make your base. My first base? A floor with four walls and no roof because I ran out of room. My last one? A literal fortress that myself and a few others players that I found along the way created. As long as you have resources you can build and, in most cases, bigger is better. The craft system was interesting, not just because that’s how I created my spells all ranging from standard elements of fire, ice and lightning and also darkness and light but also the potions I used and armor I wore. Yeah, you could try to fight some bandits and get some loot or you can farm for a few minutes and get yourself a nice hefty axe to start swinging when you run out of mana. I mentioned traversing the area earlier and flying and that’s exactly how you get your first flying “mount” your trusted broomstick.
Easily the most enjoyable part was flying on the broomstick that I crafted earlier. As soon as I got it going the terrain meant nothing to me and I could go wherever I wanted, albeit only because the server I chose to start playing on had minimal mana cost for flying, otherwise I would be stuck on the ground trying to sweep up leaves. Combat on the broom definitely isn’t the easiest with my character having to always be aimed nose down to try and hit them. I couldn’t say if that was my lack of experience with it but it got the job done. I won’t deny that I really hope someone creates a quidditch field server where we can somehow use them to zoom around score some goals.
So far it might seem like you play all by yourself the whole time; you can but you can also team up with others in the world and create your “clan” or in this case a House that you can all join and benefit from with a ranking system in place that you can rise up in. It’s nice that Blue Isle decided to have this from the get go and not force players to create their own system as many games seem to do nowadays. The party play and house system allow you to play with others without any of the negatives such as friendly fire or split XP; it’s all shared and you can’t hurt your friends.
The last thing I did while playing Citadel: Forged with Fire was spend two hours setting up and attacking an opposing faction in our server who was starting to get a little too big for their britches. Thirteen of us versus who knows how many of them decided to take down a castle we found being built close to ours, and for a solid 45 minutes it was nothing but all out combat, as we tried to burn their home to the ground while they fought back with everything they had.
Is Citadel: Forged with Fire something I’d recommend? Actually, yes I would. It allowed someone like me who has tried to get into games such as ARK, and Rust an easy way to learn the basics without getting too brutally punished outright for starting fresh. Is it pretty? Eh, not really, but it tries the best it can with what it’s got.