Terraria – PC Review

Extended Review

Terraria has been around for over four years and it has been through a phenomenal amount of changes and updates throughout that time. With the latest another major content update being just over months old we figured it would be a good time to explore the new content and compile some thoughts on our overall experience.

First off I really feel the need to explain what Terraria is as I still see many people comparing it to a 2D Minecraft clone. I agree that for the first several hours it will feel similar as I found myself setting up similar objectives to progress further into the game. I started off mining some resources to build a house where I kept crafting stations and made rooms for NPCs to reside in. Of course the next step is to build up some new armor and weapons to give me a better chance at further exploring the open world. After those first several hours both games will slowly begin diverging however I would wager that most Terraria players would not realize this until much later on.

The divergence and shift in focus is what pulled me into multiple gameplay sessions stretching into the five hours range. Once I got past the first several hours ramping up, I realized that Terraria isn’t really the open-world sandbox game that many picture is to be. The game actually felt a lot like an action role-playing game and it started to remind me a lot of Diablo II strangely enough. The reason this comparison had come up is because in Diablo II boss runs were extremely popular as it was the quickest way to find rare items and equipment. In Terraria I found myself doing practically the same thing where I would be summoning bosses over and over to get a specific item drop. Another interesting similarity was the transition from struggling with bosses on their first encounter to becoming extremely efficient at slicing through them by the fifth time I faced them. It certainly is interesting how I used the same progression tracking method between what would seem to be two extremely different games. Of course the objective of repeating these boss fights was to find specific items and materials which as you can imagine was shared by both titles.

I really can’t blame the players for typically missing this significant shift in gameplay as it took me a good thirty or so hours to notice it. Part of the issue comes down to the game not providing much information or direction to the player. Yes looking back I can see that the random boss spawns did push me in that direction however without the official I would have needed another hundred hours or two to figure it all out. Having already put 120 hours into Terraria I really can’t see myself wanting to double or triple that without actually knowing what my next objective would be throughout most of the playthrough. Of course I should point out that my total game time was spread over the past three years where I would sporadically play the game. Given the opportunity to go back and play Terraria for the first time again, I would definitely use the wiki from the very start which half the amount of time needed to arrive at the conclusion of my playthrough.

Once I gained a deep understanding of Terraria, the game actually becomes surprisingly simple as most of the major game elements are laid down along this linear path. Practically every boss is a step on this path and all the major items and materials are spread out over this staircase which makes the progression path rather simple to figure out. So despite featuring a ton of weapons and items, I found that both Nick and I shared practically identical character setups throughout our playthroughs. Luckily enough there is actually a huge amount of weapons at every step which was always a big differentiator between our loadouts. It also helps that one of us focused on closer melee combat while the other used ranged weapons as it does come in handy when playing co-op.

On the multiplayer front Terraria is definitely much more enjoyable when played with others. Thankfully the game recently added UPnP and Steam integration which makes hosting multiplayer games much easier for the vast majority of players but I still found it to be problematic at times. Aside from the odd disconnects the game is susceptible to lag and desynchronizations which becomes apparent during boss fights. Beyond the major fights the game didn’t seem nearly as finicky and it actually does some pretty neat stuff. The biggest plus to me is the fact that the game doesn’t tie down anything. What I mean by that is the game allows you to transport characters and items into any world you want. The only thing that is tied down to a specific world is the overall progress in killing bosses and setting off major game events which is understandable.

All in all Terraria is a pretty compelling package. It’s a both great casual game to play with friends and it can also be very challenging on higher difficulties. You also have a ton of gameplay time with a fair amount of replayability available for those hunting the higher difficulties and strongest gear in the game. Sure it suffers from a very slow start and the multiplayer can be flaky at times but if you play with a bunch of friends that shouldn’t be much of an issue. Best of all it’s still quite a unique combination of genres which can be had for a very low price during Steam sale events.

 Score 8 Large – The Verdict

Plus – The Good

  • Tons of free content added throughout the years and no paid DLC!
  • Blends many different genres into this unique but familiar experience
  • Great Value for the money and very enjoyable with friends.

Minus – The Bad

  • It can be a very slow start requiring several hourrs to really get going.
  • Without the wiki the game doesn’t provide much insight. It doesn’t make discovering things on your own particularly fun either.
  • Multiplayer lag seems inevitable which can be difficult to deal with at times.

Full disclosure

  • Play time: 118h – Steam.

  • Completion: Defeated practically every boss and event.

  • Version: 1.3.0.8.

  • Platform: PC – Windows/Mac/Linux.

  • Acquisition: Steam – 2.50$ USD.