Vindictus - Review

Some time back I had an idea to review several MMOs as a series. I had my list all ready and I started with WoW, and well... yeah. So I was on that for some time. But the very next one on my list was Vindictus. Vindictus is a popular free-to-play game based off of another popular MMO called Mabinnogi. Both of which are made by Nexon. I wanted to do this review for two reasons.
  1. To give the game a far shake and to give the world of Mabinogi a chance. 
  2. To shut my friend up that has been hammering at me to play it for some time. 
When I first saw videos of this game I was impressed with the action based combat system. It seemed really fast paced and the ability to use the environment as a large part of combat sounded great. Then I played it...

First off, this is not a true MMORPG. It’s more of a CO-RPG (Cooperative Online Role-playing Game), much like Guild Wars or Phantasy Star Online. All the towns are for meeting people and stocking up on gear, while the “field” is the active area for combat. From what I’ve seen, playing this game without a real world friend is hard. The chat on all the channels I went to were dead. Nothing, zip, nada. The only thing I saw was people doing the normal “Gold for Money” routine like you see in other online games. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t go questing! You can go to the Quests Board and form/join a party, and you never really have to wait long before your in the zone smashing stuff. But not having a live community seems to be a big problem with other players as well. A many members on the Nexon forums have pointed out the lack of community in-game. But as I have said, you can find people to quest with through their auto-que system. But normally when the job is done, they all leave the party.

Combat - Fighting is performed by using the mouse to point in the attack direction while you use the left-click to do a normal attack and the right-click for a secondary attack. By pressing theses in any combinational order between 2-5 moves you can perform different skills you have learned. Much like a fighting games, once you get the patterns down combat becomes a game of skill rather then mathing them to death like in WoW. This action based system also allows for the player to move out of the way of an enemy’s attacks. The problem with that is that the movements have a delay and can be really annoying if you are use to other action based games. As for using the environment as a weapon, this seemed to be over hyped and under delivered feature. There are a system of traps that are in the game for the player to use on enemies and you can pick things up to throw them but that just doesn’t seem to be what I imagined. Maybe this is not a real point, but when a game says that you can use the the environment as a weapon I was kinda hoping more. Technically, yes. It has those things. Most traps can be avoided if you could jump, but that features was not in the version I played.

Questing - As much as people talk about how WoW’s quests are all the same it still has more verity then Vindictus. Quests in this game include, kill the monster, kill then monster with a limitation, and delivery quests! While setting up a group you can pick the area, level, number of party members, and what the game calls, Oaths. Oaths are a series of achievements that you can preform while in a level to gain more skill points. Problem is that you must pick which one you are going for every time you start a group. Which means that if a level looks like this,
Beat the level in less than 13 minutes.
Beat the level solo.
Beat the level without using potions.

So I ask. What happens if I beat the level solo using no potions and under 13 minutes all in one run? Nothing. I would only get the one I picked before I started the level! This is crazy. What if you could only get one Xbox achievement per playthrough? It would get old really fast, and it does.

Graphics - The game looks great at the lowest to the highest of settings. But to play this game on anything other then the lowest setting would be a waste of processing power. The game at the highest of settings only helps to make the cloth look shining and to add a layer of shading to the environments. Without all that the game is lighter and brighter. Plus, the look of shining leather helmets just seems odd to me.

In all it’s a good game with a good ideas that half work. But really it’s hugely based on story and you will have to click through paragraphs of chat in order to get your next mission, and that’s in the first chapter alone. (There’s 8 of them so far!) You will often have to talk to the same person again right after talking to them in order to continue.

I really believe that this would have been a better single player game with multi-player added on. A mean all the evidence is there for the making of a really good single player experience. But I think they made it an MMO to appeal to Nexon's marketing department. Because they are in the free MMO business and a single player game just does not fall in line with their model. If anything this game only acts as a transition point between Mabinogi and Mabinogi 2. As Mabinogi 2 will use the art style and combat system.

While there is a version in Korea called Mabinogi Heroes: XE that fixes some of the problems I had in this review, there is no real word as to rather or not we will get XE outside of Korea. The XE version is to have different servers, combo system, showing damage in combat, the abilty to jump, and more skills. But I would say that in the end if you like game like PSO, Guild Wars, and others of that sort then go play those games. This is a good game with classic ideas but it just feels like the game was throw together quick and not polished to the gem it could have been. But for a free game I would have to say that it’s a good time. But even if this game was perfect it would still go nowhere because the heart of an online game is the people and if those people just fight and never talk they might as well be NPCs.

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