Monday, April 2, 2012

The Fight for Vindication! Or something. - Vindictus Review

   Vindictus is a multiplayer action RPG developed by devCAT and hosted by Nexon. Known as Mabinogi Heroes in Korea (since it's supposed to be a prequel to Mabinogi, an MMORPG), this game revolves around hacking and slashing through various monsters and bosses to save the world. I personally didn't get much into it, but if the awesome intro sequences are any indication, it is quite an interesting tale. I'm more of a fighter, though, so I play games for the fighting. Luckily, Vindictus delivers. Here's the right n' wrong...

   Seriously, Vindictus would be great even as console game. The graphics are nice, the movements are fluid, the story is engaging, and the fighting is top-notch. You can choose to either rip into your foes with relentless combos, or grab them and destroy them with a flashy throwing move.

Must resist urge to speak like Hulk Hogan...
   Besides that, the game features multiple battle mechanics other than just mashing the attack key over and over again. For example, getting hit enough times can break your armor, making you less defended and ragged-looking until you either repair it or finish the level. There are subweapons you can use to give you or your party an edge in battle, such as spears and grappling hooks, and the option to complete some extra tasks for extra EXP.

   There are also multiple characters to use, each with their own mechanics and gameplay. Lann uses twin swords, Evie can use magic, Karok can "clash" with bosses. They each have their role on the field and paths they can take. Later in the game, you can even go into raids with gigantic bosses which require more teamwork to take down. Regardless, even though teamwork is encouraged, it's not exactly necessary. You can potentially go through the whole game solo with minimal problems.

   The game also shows off a nice customization aspect with both it's cash shop and it's normal armor. There are multiple armor sets in the game to make your character look intimidating, and events happen that can make your character look silly. At the time of writing this, you can win a bunny suit by participating in an Easter event. You can also look as silly and/or gaudy as you want by visiting the cash shop and outfitting your character from there. The results can be grand.

Tunnel Snakes rule!
   Crafting is also available in the game for when you're milling around town. Instead of buying it, you can get the materials and craft it yourself for a cheaper cost. If you're feeling particularly lazy, there's a handy free market (marketplace), where you can buy everything you need, provided you've got the gold to afford it. Likewise, you can be a merchant and sell things on the marketplace to fill your own pockets.

   Now for the short-but-necessary second section. What did they do...

   This game doesn't have a lot wrong with it. It's pretty solid. Though there are a number of small things that get to me a little.

   First off, the characters are all gender-locked. You can't have a male mage or a female twin-sword. I can't say this is a huge issue, but it's a bit of an annoyance if you want to keep with a certain gender but can't get the class you want to use because of it.

   The second is lag. Playing with up to three other players is an option for you, and while it works, things can get pretty stupid looking. Some people start teleporting around, the animations are all screwed up, and you can't really tell what's going on. This also applies to you. Unless you're the room master, you can expect to lag quite a bit just trying to throw a guy, making the game significantly less visually appealing.

   This last point may only be a problem for me, and it's the fact that the storyline seems almost forced on you. I'm not particularly interested in the story, but I still end up spending a majority of the time in the game running around town talking to NPCs for quests when I would prefer fighting. But if I just run off and fight, I'll be caught overleveled for the dungeon I'm supposed to be at story-wise, making it less fun. The fact that I see this as a problem stems from my dislike of travel in video games. The less walking I have to do, the better.

   All in all, this is a great action game to play, and for it's price, I would argue that it is second only to Dungeon Fighter in terms of action RPGs.

   4 out of 5

   Remember, I play action games for the action. Dungeon Fighter just plain takes the cake in that regard.