Vindictus is an MMORPG built by Nexus, the same folks behind Mabinogi, and Maple Story – in fact, in Korea Vindictus is called Mabinogi: Heroes. Vindictus was built using the Source engine, the very same game engine used to create such games as Half-Life 2, and Dark Messiah: Of Might and Magic. That piqued my interest in this title, because I know just what the source engine is capable of.
The graphics in Vindictus are some of the best of any MMO on the market today, looking at screenshots and videos you probably wouldn’t even guess it was an MMO game, there are physics-based interactions, pillars crumble, walls break, and objects can be thrown at enemies for ranged damage as well. The fighting is fast and furious, more reminiscent of a top tier action game than any typical MMO. Attacks can be chained together, and then topped off with a final strong attack, the exact attack you get differs depending on when in the weak attack combo string you activate your strong attack, and other factors.
But now the bad news, the Source engine is a fine choice for any action game, but in an MMO it can be a bit restricting. The engine wasn’t designed for wide open areas, so the game can feel a bit cramped at times, although the engine does an excellent job of conveying the feeling of being in a wide open area, you can’t actually explore it as if it was one. There’s also quite a few loading screens, even in the middle of instances, which detracts from the play experience. There is a visible indicator of where you’ll find loading screens in the instances, so it isn’t TOO jarring, but still an annoyance.
The combat can be repetitive, although there are options to spice it up, so I don’t see that as a huge problem, while they are wholly unnecessary, and not always the most effective approaches, players can choose from many “secondary” weapons, such as spears, and bombs that deal significant damage to enemies (usually from a distance), in addition to the physics based play. That said, it’s still a whole lot better than clicking your enemy, then clicking attack and waiting till the fight is over.
The game has a strict theme park type design, the battle zones often feel like something you might be playing on Xbox 360, very linear. The new player experience consists of running the same dungeon (albeit slightly different tracts of it) several times in a row, this gets tiresome. Micro transactions seem limited to cosmetic changes such as hairstyles, or giving an item with a specific look the stats of another item (so you can go through the game looking as you want to, without sacrificing power), and convenience items, that, while nice (sometimes very nice) should never be REQUIRED in your adventures. This is the proper way to handle micro transactions.
Overall I give Vindictus a 3.5÷5, it’s quite fun, a beautiful game, but ultimately flawed, while anyone should be able to find enjoyment here, this is a tad too linear to be called the BEST free MMO, however, it does deserve a closer look, and will make it to the next stage in the review process, where high level content will be reviewed.
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