Cyberpunk Review » Neocron

October 4, 2009

Neocron

Review By: Mr. Roboto

Version Reviewed: 2.2, aka “Beyond Dome of York”

Year: 2002, 2004

Developed by: Reakktor Media GmBH

Platforms: Windows

Official Site

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

Rating: 9 out of 10


neocron208.jpg

“By the end of the third millenium, Earth has changed…
Global pollution, excessive wars and a perforated atmosphere have turned the planet into an almost lifeless sphere of toxic mud. Radiation is everywhere and most animals have either gone extinct or have mutated into bizarre monstrous creatures.

The remnants of mankind seek protection from the desolate, scorched world and gathered behind the protective walls of giant cities. These few mega cities became the last lights of hope, in the darkness of Earth’s final dusk…”

Overview: While World of Warcraft has captured the online world’s attention, cyberpunk fans have had their own MMOFPSRPG to explore. Neocron was initially released in 2002, with the current 2.2 originally planed as on add-on but has since become its own game. Featuring a dark, gritty cyberpunk future setting, Neocron is the very definition of the genre as you deal with robots, psychopaths, mega-corporations, drugs, guns, implants, naked chicks, mutants, …, and an intricate political backdrop among the factions in the future city.

 

The Story (so far): A nuclear war in 2143 wipes out most of humanity, and causes massive tectonic activity that decimates what was left. It would take some 300 years before humanity recovers to the most basic levels, with two cities rising from the ruins: Neocron and the Dome of York. It is now the 28th century, and the last two cities are now in decline; The Dome of York was nearly destroyed in a war with Neocron, while Neocron has had several coups, the most recent has ousted the ruling Psi Monks and installs Lioon Reza as ruler.

You enter the arena of Neocron from MC5, a sort of “proving grounds” where new citizens are tested to see if they are strong enough to become productive. If they survive, they become “runners” and get to be teleported to their apartment where Mr. Jones awaits to give them starter missions to show what their selected career can be like.

Mutant Aggressor

The welcoming committee

Career Paths. So many choices to make in Neocron, but some make better sense than others. First off, you need to select a “class,” the main type of person you want to be. The class selection not only determines what type of careers are available, but also how your character develops in the game. GenTanks (Genetically Engineered Human Tanks) are the muscles whose strong bodies and weak brains make them the main guns of Neocron. They can be soldiers, fighters, bodyguards, and even vehicle drivers. The Dexterous spies are not as strong as the Tanks, but they have abilities to be scientists, scouts, drone ops, assassins, and most importantly, HACKERS! The Psi Monks get to develop their psionic skills to become medics, inquisitors, and preachers. They can even use their intelligence to take up a spy-type job since their physical abilities don’t develop as fast. For the Private Eye, the world is their oyster. They can follow any career path they want, but since their skills don’t develop as well as the specialists, their abilities may not be the best.

 

The places you will go. Neocron is divided into several areas, with each area having one to four “sectors” in which you will explore and work in. The Plaza is the main area where several factions have headquarters and even recruiting offices. Plaza-1 is the main gathering place for players, especially in the Medicare building.

Via Rosso seaside

Via Rosso is the high-rent district of Neocron. Some of the corporate factions have headquarters here, including the Neocron City Police. This seaside view shows why the rent is high.

Neocron’s red-light district is Pepper Park. Here is where players can find plenty of “entertainment,” from the various clubs to NeoFrag, the deathmatch game-within-the-game. Also, several criminal factions have headquarters here.

On the outskirts, there are the Industrial Areas and Outzone. These areas are mostly abandoned and devoid of life, but beware of some crazies who will take pot-shots at you if they don’t like your faction.

Neocron’s Main Gate

This is the main gate from Neocron, the exit to the wastelands beyond the city walls. There are outposts, mutants, and some anti-city factions out there, not to mention the Dome of York.

Hacknet

Hacknet - the playground of the 1337 hacker. One who is skilled enough can travel between different areas of Neocron… and beyond. The best ones can find valuable data other players can use.

Patience is a virtue. There is so much to learn about in Neocron that one needs to be patient to learn them. The main thing is learning how to distribute their skill points appropriately for their career. Players may also want to use some skill points for “tradeskills” such as implanting, construction, and recycling. I’ve seen so many requests for construction and implanting (”poking” in gamespeak) that I’m considering implanting as a main tradeskill, though I’ve already attributed some to recycling. If you want to prepare or educate yourself for Neocron, I’d suggest checking TechHaven and NeoTerm along with the official site. They have FAQs and guides to help you in your career, and forums where you can ask for advice.

Another reason for patience is due to some bugs in the game, and not just the ones in the sewers. Reports of items disappearing is the most common, though it hasn’t happened to myself. The main problem I’ve had, other than pulling myself away or encountering creatures I’m not strong enough to deal with, is “fatal program error.” Probably a connection problem I need to look into. Other than that, not many technical problems.

 

Conclusion: Neocron has that certain potential to be a Warcraft killer, though it is certainly a cult-favorite at best. Makes me wish I was hacking and poking around Neocron 1 when it came out. I’m glad to have had a chance to do my stuff with 2.2 and would like be there for 3.0. Even so, I do need to pull away to some more reviews here… must… log… out… of … Neo… cron…

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Games by Mr. Roboto.

Comments

October 5, 2009

safetycopy said:

I played Neocron religiously for a couple of years - had a rifle spy with a 5-star combat rating… First Love ftw! Can’t tell you how much time I spent hunting Warbots with a friend, collecting rares… I’d love to get back into it some time, but Neocrack stole my life for a while and my wife would kick my bum if I brought it up now :D Enjoy it, be patient and learn what everything’s worth so you don’t get ripped off!

SolidFake said:

I already heard a lot about neocron and the question that comes up and isn’t answered in the review: How much does it cost monthly?

now get you ass out of neocron and finally review Dystopia: http://www.dystopia-game.com/ :P

October 6, 2009

Mr. Roboto said:

Thx, Solid! I almost forgot to mention the monthly subscription fee.

It’s 5 Euros, about $10 US monthly.

Icarus said:

Nice try, im not going to get addicted to this. Also i checked around some, and it seems like this game is free to play now?

enys said:

Nice review, but I heard that the game is devoid of players and pretty much dead by now… not sure tho, how is the population?
I am considering jumping from anarchy to another mmo now, I did consider this one, but am now going for fallen earth. Keep em coming.

jnyss said:

there are currently 2 servers available ,one english server ( which is almost dead ) and one german server ( not as dead as the other one but very close )

the game has alot of Bugs and your “navigation System” sometimes points you in the wrongest direction ever,its a beginners trap.

The game definately has alot of potential, but is poorly executed.

(at least in runs on Vista)

October 7, 2009

Klaw said:

Looks cool… and very 2002.

October 8, 2009

eric-the-ded said:

I played from beta till just before Dome of York. Most fun I’d ever had online. Currently playing Fallen Earth. Good times as well.

October 10, 2009

0m1kr0n said:

I played this years ago, and last I heard it still has the same features. The hack network is cool but the skill system is daunting and the community is pretencious and on it’s last leg.

October 11, 2009

Gren said:

Game looks way cooler than it plays, in my opinion. The late game reality is a bunch of dudes in power armour standing around and BS’ing while newbies scurry about their feet, looking forward to a 4 month grind so they too can stand around in power armour and BS.

Oh, it’s also way cool when you save for two weeks to buy a motorcycle and faggot droner blows it up in one shot just to amuse themselves.

October 14, 2009

tj said:

Yeah I thought the same, I quickly put my attention span to other uses. The hacking and metropolis aspects attracted me and I stayed maybe 3 days and got bored by all the people just standing around waiting to be noticed; on top of a grinding irrational leveling system as you mentioned.

It’s the same reality with most MMO games though. The game mechanics don’t compensate for a constant boredom introduced by pretentious players who lack utter imagination. Boring users make a boring game.

Also the guys who slay noobs have a major part in that community’s demise, but they are probably just uber degenerates who get off on it without rational long term conscious.

shmenko said:

Pros:
Best levelling, gear, tradeskilling in any mmo
FPS
Vehicles
Warbots
Cons:
Game-ruining bugs, players, and lack of endgame longevity.

October 15, 2009

baracoder said:

Even it is buggy as hell, I like that game. So I saw this review and remembered my old account. It is possible to login and play without reactivating for me. Runs excellent on wine and still looks the same. Now I am into the game again :D

October 17, 2009

Stengah said:

wow, a Neocron review ! I’m so glad, as it is my favourite game ever.

This game was so ahead of its time, in every aspect. Still is on numerous aspects today ! (can you have your own furnishable appartment in WoW ?)

What people don’t know is that this game has top notch Player vs Player Combats.
I’m a fast paced FPS lover (Tribes 2, Q3CPMA, and now Dystopia) and this game is not very different. You needed quite some skills to defeat players in “Neofrag” (virtual reality fighting) or to challenge the best clans on each servers, in order to control the wastelands.

To control the wastelands the attackers needed 3 hackers in order to hack the different firewall layers of the target outpost. Protecting the hackers was the key, but the defenders could instantly teleport to their outpost… Epic fights
Controlling an outpost was not pointless, it gave the controlling clan some bonus to crafting and such.

The “Hacknet” was another great aspect of this game. This virtual world looking a bit like the Matrix enabled skill hackers to steal blueprints from enemy factions for exemple.

The atmosphere of this game is unique. Wandering in the Neocron Dome is an amazing experience for any cyberpunk fan … the city is really breathtaking, every type of district is present, my favorite being the “redlight” district, where all the fun was ;) (sex & drugs)

I was in the Black Dragon faction and my goal was to deal drugs to other players. Our enemies were the Tsunami Syndicate, who had control over the sex clubs in the redlight district.
There are many other interesting factions, like the Fallen Angels, scientists who fled the main city in order to build their own base called TechHaven, in the middle of nowhere.
You also had CityAdmin, the “cops” ;) I didn’t like them ! they couldn’t enter our district without being chased though.

There were many other factions, and I could go on and on about this game for hours …

This is the best game ever, that’s all.

October 18, 2009

F3Speech said:

Neocron was/is the best game at what it encompassed as a cyberpunk MMO. I played it for a very long time, unfortunately as has been said above the lack of active development and lack of network investment made end game PVP unplayable due to bugs and lag; the population was never a problem in the begining.

Very sad to see this game go F2P earlier this year due to lack of subscriptions, why this hasn’t been bought out by bigger companies and pushed to where it should be I don’t know; it could be so much.

I was hoping Huxley (www.huxleygame.com) would fill the place in my heart Neocron currently holds but that doesn’t look to be the case, Huxley is looking to just be a glorified UT3+PVE.

Got an email yesterday about Funcom’s new MMO ‘the Secret World’ (http://www.darkdaysarecoming.com) set in 2012 and currently my best hope to play a good MMO; not quiet cyberpunk setting but hey Ill take what I can get :) No idea on a release date :/.

November 18, 2009

Skrýmir said:

To the guy that siad he was thinking of switching to Fallen Earth, DO NOT, unless you’ve already made that mistake. The screenshots and videos are very decieving and obviously not recorded in the live game. They’re like looking at Concept Renders in comparisson to how ugly the game it. I’d have stuck with Neocron if it hadn’t been $10 a month. I’d have paid for it if there were more people, but most of my time was spent running solo, Unlike Anarchy Online where i could always find people to group with. As for Dystopia i can write a review for it right now Game mechanic “GIVE US MONEY OR DO NOTHING” I played dystopia and earned about $40 of Real money in a few months, which was nice for something i didn’t pay for. But Dystopia just like Fallen Earth are very decieving when it comes to visuals, when you start off in Dystopia with no direction and no equipment, you either have to spend an hour collecting crap to get a pistol to play the game, or transfer your own money to buy one in the market.

For those of you looking for a good Cyberpunk game along the lines of Neocron unfortunately you missed out on Face of Mankinds 4th Closed Beta, It was everything a cyberpunk game should be, though I did enjoy Neocron more for the Psi abilities, in terms of Realism Face of Mankind was there. It’s going to be free when this Beta ends apparently. It had an official release back in ‘06 and I played the hell out of it for awhile, robbing stores, burning crops, starting firefights with the police in the city. Just keep and eye out for it, you wont regret it.

November 20, 2009

Skrýmir said:

Disregard my comment about Dystopia, I was thinking Entropia Universe

November 25, 2009

Sten said:

By the way, i’m waiting for a review of Dystopia. I’ve been playing this game every day for a year now : )

Cyberpunk Competitive FPS ! Wonderful (and free).

December 14, 2009

turn.self.off said:

Seems that face of mankind have gone open beta now…

December 15, 2009

turn.self.off said:

never mind, face of mankind is more fps then rpg, as the only thing around to “kill” are other player characters…

January 14, 2010

autopilot said:

Looks very interesting, but it’s online play, which counts me out (no highspeed internet available to outlanders).

March 1, 2010

Jnyss said:

you should check out Goin Downtown, it´s an adventure from germany with cel shading graphics and some nice cyberpunk visuals.

I don´t know if this game has been translated but the soundtrack is available for free on their site

http://www.goindowntown.de/

September 10, 2010

Skrýmir said:

If anyone can figure out how to get their 10 free trial for neocron that’s in the states let me know, I’m trying to register a new account, i lost the info for my old one years ago.

December 26, 2010

46175 said:

I played it last year and I hate those fuckin bugs everywhere and the fighting system..

I’d play it if they remake it, because it’s really pain in the ass imho.

46175 said:

ps: I heard, that they made neocron free, for those who are still interested

(I doubt that it’s still hosted a lot)

January 26, 2011

Skrýmir said:

Neocron is not free unless you have a click2pay account. Since they dropped Paypal as a payment source i’ll never play again, I would never trust Click2play with my information even if I COULD register an account right now. They dropped Paypal because Reakktor can’t manage their money. Sound like someone you want to trust with my credit card info

October 23, 2012

Rebel_Cause said:

Neocron is free to play now and has a active player base around 200-300 just got back on it myself used to play about 4 or 5 years ago. Everyone is on the Titan EU server.

January 19, 2014

Tom said:

Just thought I’d mention that its gone free to play and as far as I know there’s no cash shop or pay to win.

March 17, 2014

synapse 3 said:

I haven’t played neocron but it seemed interesting until I heard the barely anyone was playing. I still to the time to look into it and found that they have made neocron 2 and are working on neocron 3.

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