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PAX West 2017: Closers Gameplay and Discussion

We recap the first hands-on demo and gameplay of Closers at PAX West 2017!


We got a chance to go hands on with Closers during PAX West. Here’s what we know and what we got to see at the show.

Closers is an episodic anime action MMORPG, originally released in Korea but finally making its way to the West with an official English release through En Masse. This version will be a custom build that features the latest improvements from the Korean version, but starts the story at Chapter One so that players don’t have the story experience spoiled. En Masse tells us that they plan on releasing a new story episode every two or three months to help Western players ‘catch up’ with the amount of content already out in Korea.

Closers is set in a future version of Korea, specifically New Seoul. The city was previously invaded by aliens through interdimensional rifts, but that war was won and those heroes retired. Unfortunately the aliens wanted a second round, because they’re coming back again and it’s up to you to stop them.

You play one of members of the Black Lamb, an organization of “Closers” whose job it is to seal up rifts. These characters are all second generation heroes – teenagers of course, because this is anime – and they each have their own special abilities and story to follow through the game.

We got to play as two different characters – Seha and Sylvi. Seha is a Squall look-alike who uses a gunblade as a primary weapon. He likes to get in the enemy’s face and land a hurt with melee combos that showcase his strength. Sylvi is the Black Lamb’s team leader and is more of a mid-ranged character. She focuses on psychokinetic attacks to use the world and environment around her – even if that means dropping a bus on her enemies.

There are three other Black Lamb members – and it sounds like they’ll be available once testing starts later this month.

Closers plays like an isometric arcade brawler. It’s side scrolling but not flat, allowing your character to move around obstacles and enemies on the screen. Using a controller, you can move around with the left joystick or the D-Pad, sprint in a direction using double tap, and jump. You have three basic actions in battle – attack, dodge, and force cancel – plus an assortment of cooldown skills which you can bind to button combos using the bumpers and triggers on the controller.

Regular attacks build mana, which is important as your special skills – especially your finishers – use mana. Balancing specials and regular attacks is key. Speaking of special attacks, they definitely get flashy and in your face – you’ll see camera angle shifts, character portraits and banners, and other call outs that feel part arcade, part manga.

Your force cancel skill allows you to get invulnerability frames to avoid certain boss attacks or to reset animations on other enemies. It takes some skill and timing but over time you can learn to master it and your dodges to come out of the stage with a triple S rank for your troubles.

Some character skills have a gravity effect which lets you pull enemies in before unleashing combos. There’s also a lot of knock up and air juggling mechanics, positional attack bonuses, and an ultimate power buff that you build up with attacks and combos so that you can hit it when it’s time to face the big boss.

There are other cool elements in stages including barriers, exploding barrels, and HP and MP canisters.

When we played the game was high action, and all fun. The controls did take some getting used to, especially with so many combo buttons to remember, but that’s not likely going to be a problem for a player just starting out.

The game is like many other arcade style MMOs out there, with a central hub or lobby to interact with NPCs, get quests, craft, and so on, and an NPC that will take you in style to your instanced battle destination. It’s not a pure brawler – there are RPG elements like leveling up, character customization, gear, and crafting – though we didn’t get a chance to see any of those first hand during our demo.

We also asked about microtransactions, since Closers is going to be free to play. The answers were vague, but we were told that the focus will be on “customization and convenience,” with En Masse’s usual optional subscription model and a founder’s pack available during testing.

Closers will be going into alpha later this month! Make sure to check back on MMOHuts.com and subscribe to our YouTube for upcoming previews, footage, and streams for Closers and your other favorite MMOs.

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