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Latin for "clean slate," tabula rasa refers to the philosophical school of thought that we're not born with any prior knowledge programmed into us. It’s the idea that we begin life with a fresh start, and NCsoft's next big title, Tabula Rasa, has been hyped as a game that will mark the next step forward in the evolution of the MMORPG genre.
A unique combat system, a skill system based on the alien Logos language invented for the game, improved AI behavior, and a futuristic sci-fi setting all help make Tabula Rasa stand out from the sea of high fantasy MMOs - with their "been there, done that" feature sets - flooding the market. But is Tabula Rasa worthy of the buzz surrounding the title? We got our hands dirty with the closed beta to find out.
Above: Your equipment, skill level, and cover all play a factor in how much damage you take and dish out
In an attempt to move past the passive "click-and-wait" combat common in most MMOs, Tabula Rasa attempts to marry shooter and role-playing elements in its combat system, and for the most part, this relationship works well.
Instead of mashing the number keys for attacks and special powers, Tabula Rasa’s control scheme works more like a third-person shooter. You'll navigate with the WASD keys, using the left mouse button to fire your equipped weapon, and the right for any special skills and items.
But even though it looks and feels like an action title, Tabula Rasa is still a stat-driven RPG under the hood. Taking cover is important for reducing damage from incoming fire, and no matter how good you are at scoring headshots in other titles, you won’t be able to survive against enemies if your character isn't leveled up appropriately.