Planet Calypso is a sci-fi video game, developed and published by MindArk. Planet Calypso is part of Entropia Universe virtual world and is not your usual online rpg. Planet Calypso has a system that allows game money to be exchanged into real cash and vice versa. The good news is that Planet Calypso is free to play but, you will encounter lots of players who spend real cash for weapons, accessories and so on. Players step into the shoes of human colonists on a planet named Calypso. Although the major robot threat has been defeated it's not all fun and games in this world. Not all colonists share the same ideas and goals and naturally, conflicts arise.
Character creation offers Planet Calypso players great freedom. On their way to Planet Calypso world, the space ship was ambushed and your body suffered some severe injuries. The good news is that you can use DNA regeneration to shape your physical appearance any way you like. There are lots of available options. Each Planet Calypso avatar has a first name, last name and a nickname. The starting area for new players is Port Atlantis. This is just a small bit of the enormous Planet Calypso world. The entire explorable game area has around 1500 square kilometers. It's a good idea to spend some time in the starting zone and get used to Planet Calypso interface and map. New players are encouraged to ask questions using the chat function. Planet Calypso has both first and third person camera views. Planet Calypso virtual game doesn't have a traditional class system. Players can choose from 100 different skills to build a Planet Calypso character. Hunting and mining are basic professions, suitable for Planet Calypso new players. Manufacturing professions allow players to create various items that can also be customized. The Mindforce feature is basically a player's set of abilities. Planet Calypso has vehicles that can be used in PvP combat or when hunting mobs.
The economy system is entirely player created. Planet Calypso takes it one step further by allowing players to open shops to sell their goods. Advertisement is also important for your business. The auction house is another way to sell and buy Planet Calypso items. Players can also own Planet Calypso properties and even run their own bank. If you happen to own a castle you can create an event and invite your friends. Planet Calypso is a free mmo where player trading is one of the most important aspects. There are people that play Planet Calypso to boost their income. Planet Calypso holds a record for the most expensive virtual property sold for real money.
If your gamer heart harkens for a total sandbox gaming experience, then Planet Calypso is the game for you. This virtual world game, developed, by MindArk really leaves it up to the player to decide on how they wish to interact, and possibly change, the game world. Planet Calypso is set in the future where mankind has fought a hellacious war against robots and have managed to drive them off. Now it is up to the players to finalize the colonization of Calypso and make a future for themselves.
Planet Calypso Gameplay
Each account only gets a single avatar in Planet Calypso, which is truly not a big deal as there are no classes in the game. The game is skill-based and there are well over a hundred different skills for the players to learn and grow in ability. The more you use a skill, the better you'll get at it over time. Time is a big factor in Planet Calypso as I'll explain further on.
Controls are your standard WASD for movement. The UI is cluttered and interactions with objects (such as NPCs, your equipment, mission objects) are not the smoothest as various menus will pop up from which you'll have to make a selection. However, while the interface could be easier, those concerns are washed away with what you can do in Planet Calypso...which is practically anything.
When Planet Calypso is described as a virtual world sandbox, they're not kidding. There is so much a player can do in the game that you will spend literally years working on them. Yes, I said years. Normally after playing a game for a few days, you can get the entire gist of a game for the most part. With Planet Calypso, you even haven't even scratched the surface. You're not considered competent in the game unless you've been playing for several years. This is a game that you'll never complain about the lack of end-game content as you'll probably never reach that point. This can be both frightening and exhilarating at the same time. Planet Calypso is not for the casual gamer.
How you wish to interact with the world of Planet Calypso is up to you. You can become a hunter, looking for exotic creatures to bag. Perhaps you want to offer services to other players by providing transport or offering plastic surgery. You can mine or harvest, craft powerful items for sale, or become a space pirate that attacks and loots the space ships of other players. You can create your own shops or buy a deed to property and put your own stamp on it by stocking it with animals or charging taxes. I was struck when I went into a shopping district and was informed that I was in territory managed by a player and there was a 2.5 percent tax on everything bought and sold. The player interaction with the environment was further driven home by seeing the in-game ads by other players offering their services.
However, everything comes with a price. While Planet Calypso is touted as free-to-play, you will eternally suck if you do not spend real life money. Every item in the game is bought with PED, which you get primarily from spending real money. The exchange rate is 1:10 with one dollar getting you 10 PED. While you can sell looted items for PED, you'll get very little in comparison. If you truly want to succeed, you will have to spend cold hard cash. As usual, this has led to some people spending wildly, but most people will spend what they normally would on a subscription. However, I don't mind saying that it gives me the willies to think of another player looting me in PvP and taking something that I spent real money on. But that's really no different than being looted in old sandbox-style mmos where a rare item that you spent countless hours getting being looted from you. Time is money so it's all relative. You can earn money from the game by withdrawing PED to convert to real money, but don't go into this game thinking you're going to be doing this right off the bat. Only the best players who have been doing this a long time are able to do so.
The possibilities are almost endless in Planet Calypso. You have numerous skills that you can use to make your way in the world. You can buy land and rework it to your own specific needs, even as much as choosing the music heard. You can travel to other planets and space stations. There are numerous vehicles that you can buy to transport you around the huge game world (be in land, sea, or air) or to travel through space. While I was at one of the first outposts I encountered after driving up in a basic car, other players arrived in a helicopter, other land vehicles, and a spaceship. You can hitch a ride on another player's vehicle to get a lift. Societies (guilds) tend to put on special events where you can win PED and the events vary wildly.
As I've stated before, Planet Calypso is not for the casual gamer. The game does not hold your hand and it's up to you to decide on what you want to do. There are a lot of systems within the game and the basic tutorials are not much of a help. Your best bet is to ask questions and the vast majority of players will help you out. Join a society so you can be mentored and helped along throughout the game.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics of Planet Calypso are a mixed bag. The game uses the CryEngine, being updated in 2009. Some elements of the game are visually striking, such as the various creatures, vehicles, and landscapes, but other components look very dated. The player's avatar looks and moves somewhat clunky and most of the building interiors are bland and older looking. The UI is also cluttered and not terribly appealing. However, all this takes a back seat to the gameplay as you're playing Planet Calypso for the crazy sandbox freedom of the game.
The music and audio elements of Planet Calypso are well done. The droning sound of a car's engine to the throaty exhaust of a rocket-powered ship reverberate as you travel. The creatures of the world have a good range of sounds that can help put you on edge as you're trekking through a fog-shrouded swamp when you hear their bellowing roars. Music can range from normal background music to full-blown techno as you move from one environ to the next.
Unique Fun Factor
What sets Planet Calypso apart from other mmo games is that you're free to make your way as you see fit. If you want to run a taxi service to earn money, you can do so. You can choose to set up your own shop to sell gear you've found or crafted. You can work the markets by spotting and acting on trends. You can hire yourself out to other players for jobs. You can buy the deeds to property and generate income through taxes. You can engage in piracy if that's what you truly want to do. The sky isn't even the limit as there are other planets to travel to as well as space stations. This is truly a sandbox virtual game where you're free to decide your character's fate.
- A true sandbox environment
- Game world is huge
- The options for the player are staggering
- Not for the casual gamer at all
- Steep learning curve
- You will need to spend money to be any good
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