Vindictus – Review Update
Games in this Article: Vindictus
Vindictus – Review Update
By Taylor Lux
History of the Game
Vindictus (North America/Europe), also known as Mabinogi Heroes (Korea/China/Taiwan), is a hack and slash MMORPG created by devCAT and published by Nexon. It hails from Korea and was released there on December 16, 2009 where it was only accessible to Internet Café users. The game was released to the rest of Korea on January 21, 2010. It launched in North America on October 27, 2010, in Europe on October 5, 2011, and Australia allowing North American servers on November 15, 2012. Ever since it first launched, it has used Nexon’s free-to-play model and offers appearance changes, abilities, pets, armors, and more via an online shop. The game has had a few major updates featuring a new town and story arc, a new weapon for Kai, and a new character, Vella.
What can I say about the graphics? They are beautiful. The characters, enemies, and surroundings are quite stunning. When you compare cut scene quality with the rest of the game play, there really isn’t much difference between the two. The one main thing about the graphics, which falls somewhat into the story aspect is that when talking to pretty much any character inside a building, you do not walk around the inside, but instead you enter into a screen where the NPCs are all lined up towards the bottom of the screen. When you click on them, their manga style (Korean version?) profiles and a larger picture of them takes up the screen. During my stay on the game outside of other players, there were hardly any human NPCs around, making the town feel somewhat deserted to me. The NPC pictures inside the buildings were well done, but I believe I would have been a bit more appreciative of the graphics if it retained the normal MMO style of being able to go in buildings and compare my character to the NPCs I was working for.
I have placed classes in quotation marks for good reason. You get to play less of a class with races or gender choices that could potentially affect your game play and more of a specific character that you make into your own. The reason I say that is instead of the classic Warrior, Mage, and Rogue classes, the classes are simply named after the character. You have Lann and Vella, which are similar in that they both dual wield swords while having different ability trees. Then there’s Fiona, the sword and shield tank, Kai, the archery/range expert, Evie, the only spellcaster in the game, and Karok, the pillar-wielding and hand-to-whatever specialist. Sure, there are some customization that you have over each character, but it’s really limited to hair style/color, eye/skin color, how your eyebrows and colored and shaped, and body shape. Notice how I did not mention gender, which was something that turned me somewhat off about this “class” system. Anyone wanting to do the sword and shield tank is Fiona with a different name other than Fiona. You can’t have a female tossing a giant pillar around or a male spellcaster.
Naturally, as I discussed in the “Class” section above, a character’s class dictates their head (besides colors, eyebrows, and hair style) and gender, it also forces a character to specialize in one of two weapons for their characters. Playing typically as Mage or support type characters, I’m used to having my weapon selections quite limited, but this customization is somewhat restricting due to the fact that some of your skills are determined by the weapon in which you use. Playing as Evie, you have the choice of using a Staff (no surprise there) or a Battle Scythe (intriguing). The problem crops up that if you are using a Staff and have invested all your Ability Points (AP) into Staff Magic, but then decide to (or an epic Scythe drops) start using the other, all your points spent into the abilities with Staff become void. Granted, if you know you’re going to use Scythe from the beginning, then you’ll know not to spend your points on the other weapon’s abilities.
There is something that I found intriguing when I was customizing my first character; the height of your character directly affects things about your combat abilities. If you make a very tall character, as one would normally think, your character will have longer arms and can reach your enemies at a further distance. However, if you make a shorter character, your attacks will be faster than a taller character, but you’ll have to get in closer than you would otherwise. Other things, such as muscle mass, do not change anything about your combat abilities.
As I stated up in my graphics section, the buildings are a completely different feel compared to the rest of the game. It is in these buildings where you receive most of your missions from. They do make it quite easy to figure out where your next mission will be when on the mini map they place a large yellow or red speech bubble with a corresponding punctuation depending on what is going on in the story. Also, the character you need to talk to once you’re inside the building will have the same bright bubble to know that they have some sort of mission that you can go on. I find that to be quite helpful in my being new to the game. I don’t have to know where each quest is happening or run around countless villages picking up tons of different quests, they are easily accessible in the same small location.
Once you have found the next main mission, you go up to this board and select the instance you wish to go into. The instances are re-playable with the small problem of in order to complete some quests or side quests within an instance; you’ll need to run through it a couple of times. Overall not that big of a deal, since one can usually get everything they need (unless very unlucky) within the first few attempts at the level, making a grinding feel seem less so. Some of the instances borrow directly from other instances, but for as detailed as the graphics are, I can somewhat forgive that.
Action Packed Game Play
Since this has a very hack and slash feel to it, it’s a very active game. I found that for the most part, unless positioning yourself better, dodging seems to be fairly useless when it comes to regular minions. However, dodging is imperative when going against the various bosses at the end of each instance. If you can do a decent job of dodging, it’s only a matter of time until the bosses go down. If you’re not too keen on dodging, I highly suggest that you stick with either Kai or Evie since their specialization is ranged combat comparatively to the other characters.
Most can pick up various objects around the instance and use it as either a weapon or chunk it at you enemies. In fact, most enemies after defeated can be picked up and thrown at his former comrades. The melee oriented classes can actually grapple some enemies, most notably Karok who’s specialty lies there. These are quite enjoyable and remind me of old school wrestling games when you execute a grapple where it zooms in on the back breaker.
The action packed nature of Vindictus keeps me engaged during the combat, but the space between mobs compared to one’s actual speed seems a bit too far apart at times. Between dodging when the boss attacks and slashing as much as I can while the boss is charging up holds my attention. I also must admit that I enjoy the fact that the game goes through a series of screen shots of when the boss dies and offers you a button to save them if you liked them. It adds to the dramatic conclusion of each boss with the heroic final shots at the boss.
Verdict: Great! (Strong & Pretty)
It’s a visually stunning game. The customization lacks, but the quick real time of the combat -system is rather strong and appealing to me. For a game that has only been out for 2.5 years internationally, it can still easily pick up new players. The format the story is delivered is definitely different from any other MMO I’ve played where the mission-giver stands around someplace which was somewhat unsuspecting for me. I was rather impressed overall with everything except for the customization aspects of the game.