"Family Guy Online" Beta Leaves Room For Promise, Improvement
This past week I was given access to the upcoming free MMO game Family Guy Online, which revolves around the universe of the hit FOX TV show. What I've seen so far has impressed me, but there were some things that left me wanting more from the overall experience.
Family Guy Online uses the Unity Web Player, which means that it will be playable on PC, Mac, and Linux. However what it doesn't tell you is that it might not work with specific web browsers. I found this out the hard way when I spent over an hour trying to make the game work on Safari. After cussing out my Mac, I finally caved in and downloaded Firefox, and Family Guy Online started loading up right then and there.
Before you start running around Quahog you had to create your own character. You can do this in two different ways: either start from scratch and build it yourself, or upload a picture of yourself and the game will create the character for you. I opted to try the latter first, but after seeing how they portrayed me (my forehead is not that big, dammit!) I decided to build him in my own image. You first choose your class system (each one represented by a member of the Griffin family), and then create the character however you can; I say "however you can" because at the moment the character creator is kind of bare bones, but I still managed to create a character that was somewhat like me. As soon as my character was created, I was dropped right into Spooner Street.
Throughout the beta the tasks Family Guy Online offered to give you ranged from simple item collecting (help Chris build a trap to trick Peter, find the right items for Stewie's multiverse remote control) to fending off other characters (beat up Chris's bully, catch Greased-up Deaf Guy). Most of the time an accompanying cartoon will show you why you are about to partake on this quest (taken from the original series), whereas other times you will just read what you have to do. The map helps show you where you have to go for the quests, so you will never have to worry about getting lost in the giant town of Quahog. Completing quests will reward you with items and cash that can be used in the store, which should be open by the time the actual game opens up.
From what I've seen so far Family Guy Online is turning out to be a great MMO for both gamers and fans of the show. The series' trademark humor is in your face (but in a good way), and the challenges are more fun than tedious. Having said that I found my browser crashing a few times while playing this game, especially when it had to load up a new house you've entered or area of Quahog that you're about to explore. There are some bugs that need to be worked out before the game goes officially gold, so I hope the developers take a good look at what the beta testers have to say about these issues and fix them.
At any rate I am very excited to see what the final product of Family Guy Online will play like. There is so much they can do with the broad, hilarious universe that Peter, Lois, Brian, Quagmire, and the rest of the residents of Quahog live in, but it is up to the game's designers to put that strong foot forward. Here's hoping they can create a game that is as funny and entertaining as Seth MacFarlane's creation.