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Noob – The Factionless Review


The MMORPG is quite the sub-culture in the world of gaming, one which takes serious commitment and can swallow up days, weeks and even months of your time. I dabbled many years ago with the likes of World of Warcraft and Guild Wars, picking up enough of the lingo to get by and not look like a total “noob”. However, Noob – The Factionless makes you exactly that.

The terminology took me back a fair few years that’s for sure, for a little while I had no idea what was going on. Put simply, you and your mates are looking to rush the hottest MMORPG around (Horizon) and hit the max level before the brand spanking new update drops. You’re a bunch of newbies, but that doesn’t dampen your ambitions to rub shoulders with the game’s elite players.

Rather interestingly you play as characters in the “real world”, as well as their in-game avatars within the in-game game (still following me?) of Horizon. Every so often you’ll switch between worlds, but if I’m honest it doesn’t add much to the experience. Keeping it all within the fantasy world of Horizon would probably smooth things out a bit. The other segments feel like short filler segments, as you connect the dots between days of playing the game. I guess showing kids that taking a break to sleep is important and the responsible thing to do.

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Ready to play through as a Noob?

Noob – The Factionless is crammed full of pop culture references, along with nods to other video games. It is prone to borrowing a few ideas from other RPGs too, whilst remaining very self aware of the genre it is set in (I believe the kids these days call it ‘meta’). In terms of the wider narrative, it’s pretty standard stuff. There’s ancient forces looking to plunge the world into peril, and it’s up to you and the gang to stop them. 

It’s evident early doors that Noob – The Factionless is inspired by games such as Dragon Quest and Pokemon. That JRPG feel runs through the look of the game as well as its gameplay structure. There’s a mix of colourful, pretty visuals with a low poly graphical style that also harks back to old school RPGs. However there’s plenty of repetition both in the environment design and enemy design. On a few occasions it’s clearly the same foundation with a different skin slapped on. It’s easy to spot, which is a shame.

In terms of the structure, you and the gang set out to explore the big wide world, occasionally coming across settlements along the way. There are wild monsters roaming the land that will trigger a turn based battle sequence if they spot you. The first couple of hours act as a starter area, to get you used to the basics before the game opens up properly.

When you unlock the world map (more on that later), you will travel between numerous regions. However, outside of the towns and cities most are fairly small and uncomplicated biomes which hide chests and other items. Many items are invisible, but when you get close an exclamation mark will pop up meaning you’ve found something. The placement is so formulaic you’ll almost know where the “hidden” items are just by spotting the patterns. Dungeons are a little more maze-like, but don’t offer much more of a challenge. Rather interestingly you have no carry limits either, meaning you can stash an awful lot of items on your person, eliminating failure almost entirely. 

Early on you hit the first village and the vendors. You’ll easily have enough cash to buy numerous upgraded items of gear (thanks to how many credits are left lying around) however there’s little point as you’ll often find them in chests out in the field anyway. Populated areas such as this are fairly big, but don’t contain much for you to do aside from the main story. There are a decent amount of NPCs to talk to, but there’s no purpose to conversing with them apart from to kick off the odd side quest. These quest givers are obvious thanks to the exclamation marks above their head anyhow.

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There are plenty of NPCs to chat to

Battle encounters are typical of the genre, pitting your squad against random groups of enemies. There is also the option to try and escape these, but I never felt the need to use it. I also found little use choosing to defend myself rather than attack. The potential depth of strategy is stripped away by the lack of difficulty.

Your squad of four takes it in turns to make a move; the order represented at the top of the screen. As well as attacking or defending, some party members can buff the group to protect them, or inflict negative statuses on enemies. It’s basic combat that works well enough, but you’ll quickly figure out the most efficient way to eradicate mobs. From there, you’ll just rinse and repeat.

Every so often a stronger enemy will pop up, taking a little more strategy to take down. However, a few attack cycles is normally enough to get the job done, and you’ll most likely have plenty of items at your disposal to see you comfortably through the encounter.

There’s a fair amount of items that you can use mid-battle, affecting all sorts of combat statuses (weakness, bleed, burn etc) but again there’s not really much point. A better idea for Noob – The Factionless would have been an item to avoid wild encounters, because you’ll get to a point (especially as your level is regularly capped) that you will simply want to avoid them and get on with things as quickly as possible.

The main story quests will be your primary focus, but there are side quests you can pick up along the way. Sadly, these are very repetitive, running as fetch and find, or kill a certain amount of enemy affairs. They lack challenge and aren’t really worth completing, as the rewards are worth little due to your resources being so abundant. 

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Main story? Quest? Where will Noob – The Factionless take you?

Noob – The Factionless is so generous with drops and the amount of credits you can find that you’ll rarely feel threatened by failure. Not only this, but you automatically have all health and mana bars replenished when levelling up. This happens frequently too, along with save points dotted around which also replenish health that make it easy to survive in the wilderness.

There is a level lock that works in tiers, and you need to battle through levels of a mysterious tower to progress further. Clearing a floor ups the level cap for your squad, and they increase in increments of ten. These “trials” aren’t the epic quests you may be expecting. In fact it’s just more of the same in terms of gameplay, but they do fill in some interesting backstory at least.

Each character learns new moves as they level up too, sharing the XP from battles equally. New gear also brings with it new abilities, but each piece can only be used at a certain level.

In terms of progression there’s a classic skill tree to buff your characters, each is a different class so has a different tree. This variation in move sets also offers the opportunity to bring some fairly basic strategy to battles, despite the class being fixed for each character in your squad. 

May’s class is a little more interesting than the rest, as she can use cards for specific ends against an enemy, and these can be customised from the main menu. For example, she can heal allies, inflict damage statuses on enemies and more. These cards can also be used for straight forward attacking, making her a key squad member in my opinion.

Away from the fighting and exploring, you can perfect your many skills through the jobs system such as fishing, crafting and cooking amongst others. As ever in Noob – The Factionless, it’s a pretty straightforward affair. Catching pets and fishing is all done with a simple button press. It’s very low effort and not very exciting really. The only exception is beastmaster, which is quite cool because it eventually allows you access to mounts.

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It’s just all a bit simple

Here’s a case in point. Unlocking the world map means you need to learn the cartography skill. To do this you literally say to an NPC: “I want to be your Cartography apprentice”. They reply: “Ok”. And just like that you’re fully trained in the craft. This isn’t a one time occurrence either, feeling like one of many underdeveloped ideas. 

This is a game which is also stingy with the Gamerscore. The first achievement gives you 1G, which is sure to infuriate many who crave neat and tidy numbers. I’m pretty certain that’s been done on purpose too. The game did stop awarding me achievements at one point as well.

Noob – The Factionless is a perfectly playable, and enjoyable, if not an unambitious RPG. It’s repetitive, easy and predictable to play but ticks all the boxes you’d expect from this type of game. There are plenty of hours of gameplay to be had, but the pace is slow and rigidly formulaic. If you’re in the mood for an RPG you could do a lot worse, but then again you could do much better too.

And yet despite this I ended up enjoying myself enough to keep playing, despite knowing pretty much what to expect around every corner. Priced at £33.49, it’s hard to recommend such a humdrum experience, even if it’ll keep you busy for a good few hours.

Noob – The Factionless is one of those games that does what it says on the tin, providing a decent entry level experience to the RPG genre. However, by doing close to the bare minimum, it feels nothing more than just about adequate.


  • Looks pretty enough
  • Ticks all the RPG staples
  • Over 50 hours of gameplay
  • Side quests are boring
  • Abundance of resources strips away difficulty
  • Repetitive, unimaginative gameplay
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Olydri Studio
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 29 June 2023 | £33.49
Darren Edwards
Darren Edwards
I have been playing games since a very early age, thanks to my Dad's encouragement. I've been an Xbox gamer since the very beginning, the Master Chief is to thank for that. I'm also a big Nintendo geek, and my other half is a PlayStation nut. I'll play pretty much anything in any genre (although FIFA and COD maybe pushing it).
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Looks pretty enough</li> <li>Ticks all the RPG staples</li> <li>Over 50 hours of gameplay</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Side quests are boring</li> <li>Abundance of resources strips away difficulty</li> <li>Repetitive, unimaginative gameplay</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Olydri Studio</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 29 June 2023 | £33.49</li> </ul>Noob - The Factionless Review
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