Saturday, March 26, 2011

On Sword 2

Sword 2 is a fantasy MMORPG set in a Regency-period world from GamersFirst.

Graphically, this game's pretty nice, it's a pretty long download, using a third-party download software *coughcoughPandocough*. Pando is notorious for just sitting active and more or less invisible unless one is going to look for it either among your programs (Sword 2 doesn't really make it clear that it's using Pando, just their own stay-in-memory program called GamersFirst, what a concept) or among the tasks viewable from your Task Manager. yes, I had to figure out where all of my bandwidth was going after first using this game, and oh look, Pando liked my computer so much, it decided to share it with the rest of the Internet! Thanks, Pando!

As regards the actual game, the customization options are next to nil. You're playing in a world that is more or less parallel to our own, and as such, you get humans and lots of them. There aren't any gender restrictions, and the graphics are actually pretty good, though I admit the setting made me start wishing I was going to run into Black Adder's incarnation from this period. but alas, no snark, no loony princes (so far) and thankfully, no walking pile of stench named Baldrick.

The combat system is simple enough: point, click and repeat.

Then all of a sudden a mission I chose had me in an instance.

And all of a sudden, the team I had created were all acting like mindless zombies, not attacking or moving together any longer.

And they got seperated and killed!


Friday, March 25, 2011

On Knight Online

Knight Online is a fantasy MMORPG from GamersFirst.

Where do I start with this thing?

You start off having to find the server that works best and has the fewest crowding of random spam- ah, I mean players. You have to choose your faction, right at the beginning. You must choose between Dated Graphics Floaty Red Crystal Bighead Faction, or Humany Townlamp Slightly OK Faction. And if you want to change factions, or even create a character in the other faction, you must delete ALL characters in the original faction. The game has the four boring stereotypical hey-we're-crappier-than-D&D classes, Warriors, Magicians, Priests, and the Slightly-More-Squishy-Than-Warriors-But-Stabbier Rogues. The Townlamp Faction has three "races", one Big Hulking All-Warrior-Grunt-Grunt-Conan Barbarians, Male We're-Actually-Humans and Female We're-Actually-Humans. Well, that's an exciting selection. Big musclehead warriors, or boring humans.

The Crystally Bighead Faction for some reason allows female characters to be spellcasters only, of the four races. Big Muscleheads, Big Megabrains, or More Boring Humans.

Once you are in the game, there's no tutorials, no real direction. Just a note at the corner of your screen that says "By the way, if you could find this lost kid that we forced you to try to find, despite not telling you where the hell she actually is, or giving you any real clue how to find anything in the game." And the tens of thousands of merchant stalls. I'm serious. It is like walking into a farmer's market, if every farmer from the Western hemisphere decided they were going to dud out in their best suit of armor and stand around with a big sign over their head saying "BUY MY THINGS, EVEN IF I NEVER TELL YOU WHAT THEY ARE!"

It suffices to say, without any real clue where to go or what to do, I decided to check out that other faction.

But you can't delete characters without a premium account.

And you cant' login to any of the other 25 servers without a premium account.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

On Loong

Loong is a Fantasy MMO set in a mythical version of ancient China, from gamigo.

This was a game I chose, because I had real trouble getting hold of another I was interested - Runes of Magic - which I couldn't do much with, because their servers and my bandwidth made getting it a truly slow proposition.

With that said - I came to this game because I hadn't heard of it before, and because I have had some good experiences with games in a similar genre.

The opening screen started the whole thing off, as it should, with the appearance of a Chinese scroll that had been animated. Interesting. The character creation screen is the usual group of simple appearance options and outfits that are to be expected - but the background is actually long lines of floating Chinese characters. I admit, I cannot read a syllable of it, but it does make for a nice effect.

Loong is a classless system, where you build your character based on a set of choices of weapon and training, from the ground up. There aren't any restrictions that I could find that were based on gender or how much money a given player puts into the game, for starting characters. The tutorials are simple, and easily skipped if you don't care to be led around by the nose. Now, the first enemies. Flowers. That's right, you have to attack some kind of scourge of knee-high demon lotuses, as part of your training, which is about as challenging as it sounds. Oh boy! There are killer flowers here! *stomp stomp*.

Then, we come to the pet system and the system of beasts of burden. Your first choices are: A flower demon, a different flower demon, and a small cat. That's right - flowers or a cat. And it gets better! You are given your first horse - who looks like they would run and hide from a Dachshund. Brilliant. In order to get them to grow into something that won't wander around randomly scaring grass and falling leaves, you have to "feed" them, which is the way they gain experience.

The tutorial mission takes a turn for the odd, actually requiring you to add people to your friends list, which had me wondering if the whole thing was an elaborate Facebook application that had gained sentience and assimilated Zhang Yimou. And the team system. Ah, yes, the team system, where you can only leave your team by logging out of the game!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On Shin Megami Tensei

Shin Megami Tensei, "True Goddess Reincarnation" is an Anime RPG from Aeria Games.

I will admit to having trouble with this genre - "Megaten" as its fans call it touches a few issues that I have with anime-based games in general.

That aside, let's dive right in.

First, the character creation screen brings us right into Issue Station #1 - playing characters that are young teenagers. Being an adult, and very glad my childhood's a distant memory, this is a choice that annoys me. The freebie character generator is an uninspiring group of choices and weapons, some of which seem downright ridiculous in the hands of the character. (Yep, that young Asian girl looks like she can swing that sledgehammer with one hand, no problem.)

As soon as you are finished equipping at the Random Bland Clothing and Ridiculous Weapon Store, we're off to the game, by way of  the Anime Apocalypse Cliche Montage. That was fun. End of the world, demons and inexplicable sciencey stuff. And look, I can attack the demons because I use a magical sciencey arm-laptop.

You are put into a tutorial mission to make sure you know what buttons and mouse commands make your grade-school-age character turn into The Demon-Slashing Badass that you want to be. A few false starts, a few kicks in the head and bruises - and loads and loads of band-aids, whether you need these things by the dozen or not - and you're at the Boss.

Yay! Here's somebody that looks like a real fight.

And suddenly your tutor runs in, and gets killed.

And you get told to run.

Aaaand suddenly and inexplicably it's years later, you're in a big complex with dozens of other PCs, and talking to a guy with an eyepatch and an inverted cross on his collar.

And being told to make friends with the monsters.

Wait, what?

After fumbling around for a while, trying to figure out how to talk to the Pixie Dictator and having her stomp me into the ground like I was standing under the Monty Python Foot, I figured out that I can't read the Kanji being typed by anyone else playing the game.