UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available
Red Cliff Overview
Red Cliff is an Asian MMORPG based on the era prior to the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese History. With the Han Dynasty in steep decline, bandits and wild creatures roam the countryside. Brave heroes have risen to the challenge, and must do battle across the provinces wielding one of the eighteen available weapon types. Red Cliff does not have a standard class system. Instead, players select which weapon they wish to wield during character creation. Each weapon gives players a different distribution of five stats: ATK, CRIT, GR, CTRL, and HP.
Weapons - Sabre, Spear, Halberd, Battle Axe, Trident, Cudgel, Sword, Axe, Hook, Mace, Hammer, Claw, Shield, Quoits, Staff, Dance, War Fan, Bow.
Red Cliff Screenshots
Red Cliff Featured Video
Red Cliff Review
By Erhan Altay
Here in the West, we tend to romanticize the medieval era of European history with its knights and damsels in distress. In China, the Three Kingdoms period receives the same treatment. While this era lasted less than 100 years (184 – 280 AD), it has had a profound influence on Chinese culture. Dozens of novels, films, TV shows, and video games are based on this period, as well as at least one MMORPG (Three Kingdoms: The Battle Begins). The popular video game series Dynasty Warriors also takes place during the Three Kingdoms era, and many Asian MMORPGs, whether they’re developed in China, Japan, Vietnam, or Korea, make references to it. The setting of Red Cliff is best described as a prequel to this era, and is named after a famous battle that marked the decline of Han Dynasty.
Martial Arts Masters
Now that we’ve had the history lesson, on with the game! The English language (International) version of Red Cliff is hosted by the Malaysian publisher Cubizone. Registration on the official site is simple enough – the only caveat is that the site asks for an ID number. Luckily, players can enter any string of numbers and the system will approve it. The client clocks in at 1.4 gb and may take some time to download since the files are hosted on the other side of the world (assuming you’re from North America). There is currently only a single live server named Conqueror with twelve channels. The game’s population is very low, and because of the differences in time zones and native languages, the odds of actually working together with someone you bump into is negligible during the early to mid game. Character creation is a bit more in-depth than most Asian MMORPGs – players chose their gender, and between twelve face and seven hair styles. Additionally, there are three size options per gender. Red Cliff has a unique class system, in which players chose from eighteen weapon types. Each weapon type has a different distribution of five stats which, determines what role that weapon plays. The sword, for example, has high Atk and Crit but low hp, which means players who choose it will be ideal damage dealers but weak tanks. There are eighteen weapon types in total, but some of them are still not implemented and are grayed out on the selection screen.
The Middle Kingdom
China is a geographically diverse land. Players can explore deserts, fertile fields, mountainous regions, jungles, and endless grasslands. But while the terrain is diverse, Red Cliff looks very similar to other Asian MMORPGs – particularly Jade Dynasty. I don’t know whether the two games were built on the same graphics engine or not, but the visuals and the interface have striking similarities. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Red Cliff has a long range of supported resolutions and can be played in full-screen or windowed mode. With all of the display settings maxed out, the scenery in particular looks very impressive. Unlike most Asian MMORPGs, movement in Red Cliff is primarily done with the keyboard (W,A,S,D keys.) Click-to-move is available but doesn’t feel as fluid. The mouse still plays an important role in navigating the interface. One of the greatest interface features in Red Cliff is auto-navigation, which is a feature that has been cropping up in many MMORPGs recently. By clicking on a quest objective in the quest log, players can automatically move there without the hassle of fumbling with coordinates or mini maps. One problem with this otherwise perfect feature is that it makes things a little too convenient. For the first 10 levels I found that I was barely playing the game. I would simply bring up my quest log (L key), click on the monster name I was told to kill or the NPC I was asked to visit, complete the object, rinse, and repeat.
The Rise of a Hero
Many oriental MMORPGs drop the ball when it comes to the early game experience. Players are often given a paltry number of superficial quests and generally left to figure things out on their own. Red Cliff takes a more Western approach by giving players plenty of quests right from the start. Many of these quests help explain the game’s lore. With the ruling Han regime in disarray, the people of Hebei have placed their hopes on local heroes to restore order. One of the first quests actually involves answering a series of questions to decide what kind of fighter each player is. These questions test the player’s morals and preferences. One question asks players what they would do if facing a close friend in combat and another asks whether players would claim the throne for themselves or pass it to the rightful heir if given the chance. MMO veterans will be familiar with most of the quest types in Red Cliff – kill quests, delivery (fed ex) quests, gathering quests, and crafting quests are all available in spades. There is a glut of short quests. Sending me out into the forest only to kill five monkeys hardly seems worth it.
Progression in Red Cliff is heavily based on questing since the experience award for completing them is so much higher than the experience earned from grinding. After filling up their exp bars, players must manually hit the ‘level up’ button in their character menu. All players start as and remain a novice until hitting level 10, at which point they can complete a quest to upgrade. There are currently fourteen zones in Red Cliff, with plenty of room left on the map for additions. The map for each zone starts nearly blank and slowly becomes revealed as players explore the area. The local maps are well designed, and the incremental reward of exploring each zone is very gratifying. Even other basic parts of the interface include player interaction. Players must complete special quests in order to increase their paltry inventory size and to construct a storage area in town. One part of the interface I felt the developers slipped on was the auto-loot feature. Red Cliff has a loot system similar to WoW’s, where players must right-click the fallen object and are then prompted by menu containing all the items available. A ‘loot all’ button should automatically take everything and be done with it, but instead it simply takes each item one by one until it finishes. It’s not a big problem, but does cause a wasted moment after every kill. Overall, the gameplay, interface, and progression in Red Cliff are classic MMORPG fare, and won’t surprise or disappoint gamers.
Red Cliff is still a new game, but many players have already managed to hit the current level cap of 60. For power players like this, ‘Nation Wars’ serve as the main end-game content. Red Cliff has a territorial control system where player-run guilds vie for control of the various Chinese provinces. Guilds must capture forts to claim a province as their own and defend it against challengers. Other side features include a marriage system, mounts, and an expansive crafting system. Along their journey, players will receive various recipes either as quest rewards or as loot from slain foes. These recipes can be committed to memory, and enable the player to craft the weapon, armor, clothes, or food that recipe described (so long as they have the raw materials required).
Final Verdict: Good
Red Cliff is one of the best Asian-themed MMORPGs currently available. With a unique class system, beautiful visuals, and plenty of quests to provide direction, it makes a great choice for both casual and hard core players. Unfortunately, the only English version of the game is currently hosted in Malaysia, which explains the lag issues and low player base.
Red Cliff Videos
Red Cliff Character Creation
Red Cliff Gameplay Footage
Red Cliff Official Trailer
Red Cliff Links
Red Cliff System Requirements
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 2000
CPU: Intel P4 2.4GHZ or equivalent
HDD: 2.0 GB Free
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce2 64MB
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent AMD processor
RAM: 1 GB or more
HDD: 2.5 GB
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 128 mb or better