Platform: [Reviewed: PC]
Release Date: October 27th, 2010
Genre: Fantasy MMORPG
Rated: M for Mature (17+)
As a predominantly First-person Shooter gamer, I rarely play MMO’s. However, on the announcement that a new MMORPG was being released, free to play, and is the first MMO game to be released on the same engine as popular Valve Game Half Life 2, I had to play. What I found was a world both familiar and new that reinvents the MMO and how we’ve come to think of it graphically and as a genre.
To start, Vindictus is set up like every other MMORPG with leveling, a marketplace, character customization and clothing sets that both buff player stats and look really cool; on men at least. What makes Vindictus different, however, is the visual quality and the new approach to gameplay mechanics coupled with a familiar and viable online community.
Visually, because Vindictus is based on a game engine of one of the most popular and best rated games to date, the game is stunning. In a world where graphics usually give way to a style that is less realistic and more feature rich, Vindictus hasn’t traded one for the other. The texture quality is rich and dynamic and it does nothing to hide, but rather heightens the gameplay experience.
From gameplay mechanics and physics that simulate real world behavior, to textures and animations that give the game a smooth and detailed feel, Vindictus apparently doesn’t believe that MMO’s mean less beauty and more cool moves and trust me, with vindictus there is no shortage on cool moves. There is definitely a graphical quality in Vindictus that is no way tied to the fact that it is free to play. In fact, just watching the game on YouTube or watching another person play you’d think they were paying for the game, it looks that good.
So Vindictus has visually superior graphics – in the MMO world at least – big deal right? A game isn’t about how pretty it is, but how well it plays; how fun it is. So how does Vindictus play?
Gameplay in Vindictus tosses the entire genre on its head. What is usually a target and click kind of game has turned into button smashing hybrid more reminiscent of Street Fighter than World of Warcraft. Powerful moves are performed by left clicking and right clicking in a certain order to perform both beautiful and powerful attacks.
What results is a powerhouse of damage that can crush opponents at lightening speed, creating a fast paced and brutal game that is engaging, though at times difficult. With four different types of characters to choose from, there is no end to the fun you can have in this game.
There is, of course, a mage type class which uses a staff and magic to fight and has the ability to heal. There is a lightning bolt of a character that uses twin swords or twin spears to deliver fast paced, brutal attacks. There is the brute force character whose power and strength in no way overshadow the size of his weapon (and it is big folks) and then there is a more balanced character that can both block and deliver powerful attacks.
Character customization is also a nice feature for Vindictus. While not as in-depth and exhaustive (at least for one gender) as Brink is, it is still fairly easy to make a character look physically different from other players without having to rely on simply clothing changes or hairstyle changes.
Vindictus’ HUD set up is completely different from every other MMO game I’ve played. What usually includes a ten digit bar filled with spells and items, each with cyclable configurations, has been completely replaced with…nothing. Instead Vindicutus has freed the player from simple point and click games, while still offering it a tiny five digit bar in the upper left hand corner to store potions, secondary weapons and camp fires; marshmallows not included. What results is a HUD that functions more like a first person shooter game like Left 4 Dead, in which you are equipped with one primary weapon a secondary weapon bar, and a host of helpful items ranging from revival feathers to armor repair kits.
About the only thing that Vindictus has in similarity to other MMO’s are the rich online community, marketplace and the experience points one can use for gaining more abilities, move combinations and access to different quests and missions.
With any MMO, there is certainly an amount of online socialization that happens where players do less playing and more chatting. Vindictus has a unique way of creating a place for conversation outside of sitting around in town by incorporating the ability to fish. Fishing boats require fishing tickets that are relatively cheap and easy to find and are one of the more fun little things you can do in the game besides questing. Fishing allows for you to pass time talking to friends and other players as well as giving you an opportunity to earn items, including fish, that can potentially be worth a lot of money.
Doing quests by yourself in Vindictus can get a little irritating, especially if it’s a low-level quest as most of the players in Vindictus, unless they are starting a new character, are at higher levels and don’t need to repeat older quests. What you find is that there are certain levels, in between more major storylines, that lack questing buddies. Of course if you’re playing with friends this isn’t an issue and you can always quest by yourself, but it can be difficult to get the battle points needed for a quest when you need at least one more person.
Another criticism is that given we are used to free-roam, sandbox type games for MMO’s, Vindictus is very restricting. There isn’t much of a world in Vindictus so far. Once you get to the second town, it seems a little more like an MMO sandbox game but generally speaking it is really a town + dungeon kind of game with very little in between.
Vindictus is definitely a gem in the MMO genre, despite not having a free roaming environment as most MMO’s do, Vindictus has almost made up for that by incorporating a unique style of gameplay, amazing graphics and a vivid online community, complete with spammers, that changes the expectations of the free to play MMO.
Replay Ability: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5