Dragonica Online ReviewBy: Zanpakutou posted at May 18, 2009 6:04 am
Dragonica is another attempt at an action based MMORPG. I guess the closest relation to this game would be Maple Story. It seems to be like that more than any other. The primary difference is that the characters and backgrounds are in 3D instead of 2D. Other than that it is very similar to the other Maple Story and LaTale and any other clones of that genre you want to associate with it.
Introduction to magical world by some floating blue fairy thing. Wolves attack a village and you are forced to defend it.
The graphics is trying to convey a unique style of super deformed characters and a 3D background yet still trying to keep the game as the side scrolling action game. The skill effects are fairly simple and the most complex effects are at the portals. Characters are fairly bland and share the same equipment for many levels. It isn't until you reach the job change that characters start becoming more diverse in looks. Otherwise everyone looks like the same person with a different hair style attached to them.
Character creation is simple. All you need is a name, one of 4 basic classes, a hair style, and a face you will almost never see. The hair style and hair colors will determine the majority of your character's look. The face itself is only seen halfway and you will barely notice it.
The four classes are Warrior, Magician, Archer and Thief. They branch out to other classes once you reach level 20 and those classes can be upgraded again at level 40. Warriors use swords and their branching determines whether they focus on offensive skills which use 2 handed swords or defensive skills which uses shields. Magicians primarily use their skills but they also have books. Their branching determines whether they focus on offense or support abilities. Archers use bows and their branching determines whether they focus on area damage or debuff skills. Thieves in Dragonica aren't what you expect them to be. They use claws but have high damage and speed. Of their 2 branches, one is more supportive to increase party damage while the other is higher damage for themselves.
Upon level up stats are automatically distributed based on your stats. Skills on the other hand are different. You get skill points per level that you can spend on skills. Most skills cost 10 points to power up but some require more. Some skills have prerequisites while most about only 1/3 of the skills don't have any prerequisites to learning them. It is impossible to max out all skills so its best to focus on 1 set of skills that fit your particular playing style. For example, a lot of warrior skills combo into aerial skills but not all of them do. If you like air combos then you can get more attacks that launch the enemy into the air but combos themselves are more or less performed by the skill itself rather than the player. If you choose not to go with air combos, you can choose the class that uses normal ground attacks and combos over the air combo type.
The game itself takes place on a 3D field. You can move up, down, left, and right but primarily the screen only moves left and right. There is practically no platforming at all like LaTale or Maple Story so its simple to get from point A to point B with the exception of launch platforms. The primary complaint with this is the dash system. To dash you need 5 MP. Each time you dash that is 5 MP. This adds up very quickly and MP regenerates very slowly. If a battle drags on for more than 2 minutes chances are you will reach 0 MP without using any skills simply from dashing. This is very annoying for me because I practically can't use dash as part of a strategy or else I would forfeit the ability to use a lot of skills.
Leveling is fairly easy. There are plenty of quests that give decent starter equipment and money. The game itself encourages group leveling by giving increased exp and drops in party instance dungeons. These are for a small group of say 3 or 4 people who can work together to clear the dungeon. Experience and drops are increased in the dungeons and completing the dungeon gives bonus items depending on how skillfully they were able to clear the dungeon. Doing it as quickly as possible while receiving less hits and having a high combo results in up to 4 bonus items. The only difficult part are bosses who do not flinch and have high amounts of knock down and knock back. The only way to counter this is by overpowering them or performing a group beat down which tends to be simple once the mobs on the side are cleared out.
The primary fault in the combat system is the lack of dash attacks. You are unable to attack when moving up or down on the field but you can attack when dashing left and right. Some mobs tend to move up and down more than others making it annoying. When you move up and down it also leaves you vulnerable to the enemies. This falls under the category of poor controls which are noticeable in this game. The enemies fall down at the end of each combo regardless making it difficult to perform more than 4 hit combos without aerial combos and skills which don't really count. There is also a problem with the standard combat system. There is a limit to the number of targets your weapon can hit so if you get mobbed, you might be able to hit a few but a majority of the time, the mobs will overwhelm and just beat you to death.
Another problem I have was the game's tutorial system. It teaches you the basics, but for the most part, the game's tutorial is very lacking. There is also no option to skip it as it leads into the main quest chain as well. It does not teach any advanced maneuvers either which can be crucial later on. All it teaches you is movement, charge attacks, and basic attacks. Later on the stupid fairy thing will pop in your face and explain things to you on the battlefield which can get you killed. The same goes for all NPCs on the hunting fields really.
Guilds promote some decent activity. There are guild quests and guild skills. Guilds start off at a decent number too (50 players) and can be expanded by completing quests and leveling up the guild. Some of the quests are pretty difficult to achieve which can be a problem for players. Some of it can be exploited though such as using weaker weapons to increase the number of combos before a mob dies.
If you like these side scrolling games, Dragonica will be a bit of a change but keeps the essence of what makes these games great. The problem is that it doesn't fully incorporate the 3D and the 3D field itself is fairly limiting. If the controls could be adjusted, it would also greatly improve. I did not manage to test out the PvP aspect of the game itself although it would be very easy to beat players into a corner.
6/10 – A poor attempt at 3D side scrolling action game based on controls for a 2D side scrolling action game. The controls themselves are a bit lacking and MP requirement for dash is very annoying.
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