Noob - The Factionless PC Review

The adventure of a lifetime in this homage to the JRPG genre everybody grew up with.

By R3GR3T, Posted 04 Jul 2023

It’s not every day we see a massive collaboration between several studios, even less so for an undertaking of this size. However, Olydri Games, SneakyBox Games and Blackpixel Studio did exactly that and paid homage to the JRPG genre with their latest creation. Blackpixel Studio, based in Nimes, France, made their mark with British Gangsters, a comic strip that was brought to life through gaming but they have other games in production, and SneakyBox Games, based in Kaunas, Lithuania, made their claim to fame with shoot ‘em up games like Caverns of Mars: Recharged to give an example.


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Then we have the game world namesake, Olydri Games, this is technically their first release and the game in question is based on a web-series called Noob created by their parent company. As for the game, Olydri, alongside Microids published and released Noob – The Factionless on 29 June, 2023. This game is like a love letter and homage to all the old JRPG games we used to play back in the day and with its incredibly rich world, the game is practically overflowing with references to other games and stories with a slight twist.

Something to keep in mind with Noob – The Factionless is that it takes place IRL (In real life) in the game and in Horizon 4.2 (The game the characters play in-game). Things start off with 2 of the main characters, Adam and Martin chatting in an internet caffe IRL about how they want to become pro esports gamers, but unfortunately, Martin still lacks the skill to make a name for himself. This is where Max Middle, a complete stranger takes over and convinces them to sign up on Horizon 4.2 while telling them about the game’s legendary group of noob players that started off as noobs but rose to the top as the legends in-game.

So, a quick trip to the shop to buy the game and they were both ready to meet up on Horizon 4.2 with a new goal in mind. The goal for them is to reach level 100 before the release of Horizon 5.0 which is supposedly going to bring a whole slew of new changes and content, and they want to use the game as a change of pace to reach the top in a different area. This is where you might have to keep track of what’s going on, as Horizon 4.2 has its own story and where the JRPG elements come in.


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Horizon 4.2 is about a moon at the center of the universe, that is ruled by the Sources of Life and Death. The world was once ruled by Void Source until it was defeated by Life and Death, and promptly sealed away deep within the moon. From there, they renamed it Olidry, then created plants, animals and the various other parts of life that roam the world. While Life and Death allowed everything in the world to tap into their magical energies (later called Manastreams, an unexpected event disrupted the balance of Olydri when a mysterious ship crash landed. A new divide was created between Magic and Technology because of what came from that event. One lengthy and ravaging war later, Olydri was eventually divided into three factions – The Empire, who only wanted harmony between magic and Technology. The Coalition, who want to return to the original balance that was once enjoyed by Olydri. And then there’s The Order, who chooses to reject the rule of the Life and Death Sources in favour of the free will.

This is all good and fine but things only spiral further out of control on Olydri as the sealed Void Source wants to escape its prison and take over as ruler again. Your objective, aside from reaching level 100 in Horizon 4.2, is to stop the Void Source from succeeding in its plan to escape. However, Noob - The Factionless might have a lot more than just that waiting for you and you’ll need to be ready for just about anything that can and will be thrown at you. Luckily, this game isn’t really that difficult and can be pretty trivial aside from boss fights, and it seems the game is more meant to be enjoyed for its story alongside the literal mountain of outside references and 4th wall breaks.

Like with any JRPG, you’ll need a party and you do eventually get your full party consisting of the usual RPG party layout. The typical party layout is one Tank, one Healer, and 2 DPS. In Horizon 4.2, your party will consist of – Martin, who plays Baster, the Neogician. Adam, who plays Drek, the Berserker. Sarah, who plays May, the Cartomancer. And lastly, Leo, who plays Log, the Elementalist.


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Unfortunately, you can’t change the classes of the characters, but you can change their subclasses which change their passive bonuses. When it comes to Baster, as a Neogician, you’ll have access to Technology based abilities and gear. Though as a Neogician, Baster can choose to play the roles of Tank and DPS at the same time. However, your weapons also play a part in what type of abilities the Neogician has. With Neogician focusing on Technology based gear, you’ll have options between Exosutuits, guns, blades and pistolblades, each bringing its twist.

Drek is in a similar position as Baster, except he does better as a Tank but he does also come with the perks of DPS. These perks come in the form of a Rage bar that climbs with every Rage generating attack. From there, Rage can be used for much more powerful attacks that can inflict status effects like Bleed or Interrupt channeling abilities.

Now for the other half of your merry band of noobs, the magical side of it. Starting off with Logs, he’s an Elementalist with an incredible amount of versatility depending on his subclass. As mentioned before, you might not be able to change their classes, but you can still change their subclasses and this is where Logs shines brightest. Changing his subclass between Fire, Water, Earth and Wind also changes his abilities entirely depending on the element you choose. For example – Water is naturally your healing subclass, while Fire would be purely for DPS. However, things become a lot more interesting when you can switch him to Earth if you need a magical Tank or Air to debuff your enemies.


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Lastly, we have May, your ever driven and sometimes mean Cartomancer. As a Cartomancer, she uses a mix of magic and cards. Her class can be somewhat complicated and incredibly versatile too as long as you keep track of what you’re doing. May’s basic abilities are affected by her subclasses too and change them to be more DPS or Healer oriented, but she’s also not limited to either role. With her main benefit of being able to use cards, she’s only as limited to roles and effects as the cards she has equipped. This does make her a somewhat difficult character to figure out as you’ll need to gather cards from shops along with equipping them to her to match what you’re after.

Alongside their classes, each character will also take on two jobs. These jobs open up a whole new world of possibilities through gathering and crafting, but they also come with their own level restrictions and leveling systems. However, while the jobs open gathering and crafting, they can also give you excess items that you can sell for gold which will come in handy when stocking up on potions or buying new gear for the party.

Noob - The Factionless does come with a major drawback that can make getting around a little confusing. It’s the fact that it doesn’t really give you an indication of where you need to go through map markers. For the most part, you’ll need to figure out where to go on your own while keeping track of the current objective. However, traveling around on the World Map is a lot easier as you have a full-sized map to see where you’re going and you can actually head in the right direction.


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Now that you’ve gotten a good taste of the game and all its crazy wonder, it can only get even crazier. Now, just like every RPG or JRPG out there, you’ll be glad to know that there are of course, the never-ending slew of side quests. While these might seem like a waste of time, they are actually really easy and tend to reward you quite well with XP and money. Unfortunately, in most cases… You’ll never quite know where to go to actually do them and there’s always the chance that you’ll have to trudge back to the person who gave you the quest just to complete it. However, loot is king in a game like Noob - The Factionless, even if the quest can be tedious.

So, there is one other major thing in Noob - The Factionless to keep in mind. While your character can gain XP to level up, they’re capped at every 10th level. Though fear not, lifting the cap is possible, as long as you can finish the next floor of the Galamadriabuyak Tower. Sadly, this is a story event as well and you’ll be forced to wait to get to that point in the story before you can complete the next floor of the tower to raise your level cap. Luckily, you can still gain a different form of XP when your party hits the cap that will reward them with skill points, money, and even gear.

Noob - The Factionless definitely pays homage to the old JRPG genre with its music and sound design. The game relies heavily on the old sound effects that have been modernized a bit to fit the time, but also uses a lot of semi-orchestral music to drive the immersion and nostalgia home. Normally, an overly repetitive soundtrack can sometimes be annoying, but Noob - The Factionless got the music to be just right to the point where it takes a decent while to start working on your nerves. However, by that time, you’ll already be in a different area and the music will shift to match.



 

On the visual front, the game’s art style might fall into the same critique as the sound engineering. The art style seems to resemble the old JRPG games a lot with low poly design and sometimes pixelated environments. This all adds up to really give you a nice nostalgia punch where it matters most. A nice touch that will probably go unnoticed is that not only do your characters’ weapons change, their outfits change too as you swap out their individual gear pieces too.

Overall, Noob - The Factionless is like a love letter to JRPG games of the past and definitely pays homage to the game we grew up with. The visual side of the game might not appeal to everybody, while it can still be a really nice change of pace with its simple design and relaxed gameplay. What really makes the game stand out most is the unholy mountain of funny references used in the game, for example – ‘Lord Moldevort’. Get it?


Jay Claassen (@R3GR3T_3NVY)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Olydri Games, Microïds
Developer(s): Olydri Games, BlackPixel Studio, SneakyBox
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Role-Playing
Release Date: 2023-06-29

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