Massively multiplayer role-playing games are obviously popular with huge followings. This genre is aging however and it's getting more difficult to stand out. RF Online, although does offer new features to the genre, overall finds itself somewhere short of a highly engaging experience.
RF Online has a sci-fi theme that centers around three races attempting to control the Crag mine core. The Crag mine offers a huge economic bonus to the race that controls it but the catch is that there's an undefeatable enemy called the Holystone Keeper that guards it with deadly precision. There is a way to pacify the beast and gain access to the mine, but its no easy task.
This is where one of the more innovative new features comes in to play. Three times a day, there's an enormous battle called the chip wars where the three races fight this massive battle to gain the acceptance of the Holystone Keeper. Be the first to destroy an opponent's chip control tower and the prize is yours.
Getting to a point where you can be effective in the chip wars however is where I had a hard time keeping interested for one general reason. RF Online for me has a huge problem with tedious gameplay. It doesn't help when many of the quests involve killing a certain number of creatures and in addition there wasn't enough of a background story coming though to really sink your teeth into the world experience being offered. It seemed to take a long time to level up and with the focus of the game on the Chip Wars, it was frustrating early when there were few ways to successfully participate in them.
The graphics and audio do give a respectable performance that most will be satisfied with and RF Online does a great job setting up a game that has potential. The tedious nature of the gameplay however may leave the more casual fans of this genre out in the cold. At $50 for the game and then $15 each month, strong fans of the genre may be able to push through the slow early stages to reach the meat of the game, but others should be cautious.