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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Dragon Nest Preview

Nick_Tan By:
Nick_Tan
04/27/11
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action MMORPG 
PLAYERS 1- 999 
PUBLISHER Nexon America 
DEVELOPER Eyedentity Games 
RELEASE DATE Out Now

That's Dragon Nest, not Demon's Souls.


Nexon America is known for their action-oriented MMORPGs, mostly developed in-house, that take a large leap forward from the simplistic hack-'n'-slashers like Dynasty Warriors. Dungeon Fighter Online is one such example, an immensely popular redefinition of the classic side-scrolling beat-'em-up genre as an MMORPG with extensive single-player and multiplayer. Considering the entire Nexon America catalogue, with Vindictus and MapleStory, Dragon Nest fits perfectly in its niche as a serious loot-fest carefully disguised as a colorful, cartoony playground of epic proportions.

click to enlargeAs it is with most fantastical universes, the world of Dragon Nest begins with the gods, and in this case, theft. Lucius, the son of the Desmodeus, steals his father's lustre to create his own world and provokes Desmodeus to ask a sage to discover a way to retrieve his lustre. Despite the sage's warning, he soon tells his two daughters Althea and Vestinel to create worlds of their own, in which a mortal will arise and be the chosen hero to steal the lustre back. However, when Desmodeus chooses Althea's world and rejects Vestinel's, Vestinel poisons her sister in jealousy and, in turn, Althea's world in which the player lives slowly withers. It's complicated, for sure, but ultimately it's still the good ol' "save the world" idea, wrapped around some kind of Greek tragedy.

While there will be plenty of short cut-scenes to show the story, that's not really what Dragon Nest is all about. Thankfully, it all becomes clear rather quickly. Within the first three minutes of sitting down with the demo, I was able to grasp how to play without knowing much about the game at all. In what is essentially an action RPG, the gameplay uses the mouse to manipulate the camera and use basic attacks, the WASD keys to move, and the number keys on the keyboard for spells and abilities. Doing well means stringing basic attacks with abilities together, by yourself or between party members, much in the same way as in Dungeon Fighter Online.

The four classes - sorceress, cleric, warrior, and archer - work as anyone would expect from the genre. The sorceress and archer have the luxury of standing back and firing ranged projectiles and spells, whereas the warrior and cleric have the higher HP to withstand a battle in close quarters. While every character can hold his or her own, players will need to form a party to have a chance at clearing tougher dungeons that have waves of grunts. Because, hey, what else are these teenage warriors going to do?

click to enlargeThankfully, every microdungeon takes roughly five minutes to complete and nearly every enemy drops an item, so the pace and the desire for instant gratification are equally well-kept. At the end of each dungeon, the party is given a letter grade on their overall performance, and each player gets to select one chest out of three, with the contents in each chest improving with a higher letter grade.

Dragon Nest will soon enter closed beta on May 17th, for which players can apply via Nexon America's website for the game.
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