When I heard about it, I felt it was similar to the NCSoft game Aion without wings.
Lets start with the cinimatics. There are Two Sides. Guardians and Defiants. They hate each other, they hate rifts. However, I have no idea why.
Then you choose a side. I chose the Guardians, partly because they seem to have less facial tattoos and have normal skin.
Now character generation is similar to other games, you have choices on face, hair and other cosmetic choices. Then you chose your archetype (Wizard, Cleric, Warrior and Rouge). The difference to other games is that you can tweak the classes by choosing “souls”.
For example, you can play as a warrior the traditional tank (damage absorber) or DPS (damage per second). However, by choosing up to 3 souls you open up new powers and abilities. For example, a Paladin with is a tank with heals and buffs. Add the Reaver soul you gain access to “entropic energies of death”. So, when you finish the starting zone, you can start to tweak your character to play what you want to play. For example, you can tweak for all DPS, or all Tank, or a healing, crowd control or even controlling pets (animals or other critters who helps you in the game). This element of power management is the main new thing that Rifts brings to the MMO Marketplace.
The graphics are great. Clear, detailed and well done. On my computer, everything flowed nicely (however I do have a reasonably high end machine). In terms of gameplay, I felt claustrophobic. Unlike WoW (often called World of Walking), everything is close. Little time is spend moving from quest area to quest area. And the areas where the monsters are found are full of monsters. So full my favourite tactic of running away fails, as I tend to attract more monsters and die a messy death.
When I said this game is derivative, death is a classic example of this. It is the same mechanic as in WoW, your ghost has to walk back to your body to reserect. The tool bar, the minimap, even the multiple bags to store your loot and items, is so familiar to anyone who has played a fantasy MMO in the last 10 years.
Don’t get me wrong, Triton has put together a good game. Innovative? I don’t know.
I will be playing Rifts over the next month, so expect more details as I progress in the game.