C9 or known as Continent of the Ninth Seal is an Action MMORPG. It excels in combinational-input combat. That is you don't just press a few buttons and watch all your animations play (i.e. Silkroad Online, WoW, etc. Sorry if I offended anyone with these examples.).
Now I've read that a lot of people are comparing C9 to Vindictus. I must say you should withdraw your comparisons and give C9 the same amount of time Vindictus has been out before passing your judgement. C9 has only been out for less than a month.. July - August 04, 2012 Date of this review.(And I mean by Official Launch not betas) you can't pass the same impression and content to that of Vindictus that's been out for at least 3 years. I played Vindictus when it was in closed beta for gosh sakes up until season 1 ended with the dragons and k...... no spoiler here if you do play Vindictus.
I wouldn't compare this game to Dragon Nest either, the art style is completely different as well as your game-play model.
So NO my opinion and review of C9 is not biased.
Some new things I've encountered from playing C9 are:
Dungeons are different depending on your difficulty, the bosses and obstacles all change with them!
Most games have repetitive boring dungeons where you see the same environment over and over. You recycle the map the same map over and over. What C9 changed was simply along the lines of something like... "Here's a portion of the map and we'll give you more of it when you choose a harder difficulty" was what it felt like when I first played it.
C9's difficulties are Normal -> Hard -> Expert -> Master -> Hell* -> Nightmare*(Unavailable, not implemented yet)
*Hell being only available to some maps and should be attempted with in a party unless you're extremely good at blocking and destroying enemies. If you're the average casual gamer Hell will be very tough for you to solo. (If you play more than 40 hours a week you are not an average casual gamer. That's practically a full-time job if you play that much.))
So the great thing about this map system that C9 implemented is that sure you're recycling that map over and over but your first run on each difficulty will always be different.
For every dungeon you have at least 4 different environments, except for the first 3 which only go up to hard and expert, with bosses also being possibly different on a higher difficulty. (E.g. Northern Delpast Front -> Normal/Hard = Baruyan Gnoll General(Big Gnoll thing), Expert/Master = Kirimu of Flame(Giant turtle)). Not only that but after playing for so many hours which I haven't clocked but I know the first week was like non-stop, all the maps feel different even upon replaying them over and over.
Quests aren't exactly all dull and boring either. Yes most of it is just "hey you there come talk to me so I can tell you to go kill these things then when you get back I'll help you level and give you some money/items.". There's been a few number of quests where you actually go in to a dungeon and do something else.
One of them was sneak around and don't get caught and find the boss/information you need and assassinate it. You get caught the boss teleports to you and kills you instead. It felt like I was playing Metal Gear Solid.
Another quest was defend the bridge from waves of enemies. Almost like a Tower Defence game but with your hero/character instead.
Finally not all missions/quests are blatantly kill things, at least they have an objective for you defend and not just you going on an onslaught kill-fest without having to worry about things. Some dungeons are just defend you don't even go anywhere you just have to guard something.(e.g. Seashore Village, defend the x number of sanctums; varies with difficulty setting).
I can't take your opinion seriously unless I have some data...
Just to as a measure of how much I've played is that my guild points accumulated on my Elite Shaman is 17689 GP, all from solo runs so I didn't get any party bonus GP to contribute in. For those who don't play C9 GP is Guild Points. You earn 1 * yourcurrentLvl of GP per dungeon run complete. Multiply by 2 if you turn intrusion on. You can also gain GP from playing in PvP arenas, or killing intruders, or killing dungeon runners as an intruder, installing items in guild house gives a little. Partying gives the most but I played mostly solo, I've partied only about 3-5 times.. less than 10.
How about how long per game session?
But should you enter a dungeon on Normal the run normally goes really fast, an approximate 5-10 minutes. Where a Master difficulty run could last anywhere between 15-30 minutes. Even longer in the future higher levels when you reach Runnersville-Lvl 42+.
The game is free-to-play and does not seem to be leaning towards pay to win either. (Subject to change in the future. But so far it looks good and doesn't seem to be headed that way.)
ALL the classes are OP it just depends on how well YOU perform with that said class.
They're all imbalanced IMO. Hunters got range and kiting to annoy the crap out of you and movement speed, Shamans got nukes that really hurt or lots of Super Armor effect(i.e. they won't flinch when they get hit), Witchblades can juggle you in the air forever if you don't use your evasive dash wisely, Fighters can bounce you on the floor over and over with good combo-ing making you never able to get up. So yeah, they're all imbalanced where all of them are super strong. Which in that case means it's balanced.
I've seen many debates about oh this class is OP and that class is OP (i.e. Taoist or Blademaster) but I've come across at least 2 or 3 of them and I don't find them OP. (Me level 29 Berserker at half my hp killing a level 32 intruder Taoist with no fury and got first attack on me) It's more so the player behind the monitor making them OP. I play a Berserker atm and an Elite Shaman waiting to change that one into a Reaperess upon its release.
It can't be a lopsided imbalance because C9 Webzen has held.. 2 or 3 championships already for their game. Where the winners take home cash and swag.
How hard can the game get?
It could range from a cakewalk to you laughing behind the monitor at everything dying to your hand or you could be facepalming and raging behind the monitor at why you die so much. It really depends on the player. I had a lot of people telling me that levelling past 25 without job changing on my Elite Shaman would be difficult but I'm at level 45 at the moment and I only die maybe once or twice on the 3rd continent per run. And my Elite Shaman is at a serious disadvantage because of all the skills it does not have that other classes do when they perform their job change test at level 20.
Some other features to highlight:
Intrusion -> If any of you have played Demon's Souls on the PlayStation3 then this feature will be familiar to you. What happens when you enable this is opening a doorway to anybody to come in and kill you while you're doing your dungeon run.
Why might you do this? you get 25% bonus exp, double guild points, more gold, and you want to have some PvP as you're doing your run. The thing about intrusion is that it's not scaled in any way. So if you have super powered gear it will retain that effect towards your opponent. Unlike the Arenas where your stats and stuff are scaled so its less noticeable.
Guild house buffs/Guild Skills -> Although not groundbreaking or new in the industry, the system provides a bonus for making and levelling up a guild. It provides bonuses to all members and simply not being in one you're at a slight disadvantage. Being in a guild grants you also 2% bonus experience per run. Buffs aren't just things to shrug off and not care about either. They include casting speed increase, attack damage up, defense up and stat buffs. They're all % based except the stat buffs. So if you had 3000 defense and your guild had a buff of 5% for defense that would already be an increase of 150 armor which is about the same as enhancing one of your armors to +5.
These all sound like good things how about bad things?
The bad things in this game are the language barriers. Because it's global entry and no IP blocks for any country there's a lot of racism and hate going on in the World chat. Yes there's gold spammers but the racism and hate from one another is almost equally as much as the gold spamming happening. It's quite shocking.
Lag -The servers are located in the US or Europe, so if you're not in proximity be prepared to experience lag. As I live close to the US, I still get disconnected from time to time and lag only seldomly. Though in their forums I've seen a ton of complaints regarding lag and pleas for an SEA server or an Asia central server.
General Specifics Breakdown:
Graphics -> The graphics are definitely there. I am a 3D artist and have speculated their in-game assets already. They have enforced normal maps, made use of their 3D models, textures aren't dull, special effects are amazing, monsters are fairly detailed, player models are highly detailed, motion blur and camera composition effects are all there if you have a boasting video card to support it all.
Been seeing too many "c9 has terribad graphics" well.. this is bad graphics? I better get my eyes checked.
I give it a 9.5/10, not perfect because that's really hard to give out. And for what I'm getting without paying a single cent that is definitely worth the score. (Although I did recently just purchase from their Item Mall for aesthetic items for my character this does apply to most of you, you don't have to pay anything to receive all this content. You should be grateful that they let it go free).
Gameplay -> Fairly refreshing for an action MMO. The dungeons will keep you returning simply because of they differ from one another. Once you get sick of one town and you're about to reach the second it seems to make you return and play that next area. If you've played Vindictus before you're undoubtedly going to compare the combat fluency vs. Vindictus' combat. You should place it aside and see if you can reach 100+ hit combo in C9 and see if you can do the same in Vindictus of a 100 hit combo non stop Lann smashing a boss. It's just about the same. With C9 granting more options and a different style of game play. With all the explained features above I'll give it a 9/10 because I feel they could've done more with the quests after experience some of those different ones they had along the way. The in-game cutscenes could use some work too but I'm not complaining too much since that's not the focus of fun.
I have here a recording of me just playing a Level 29 Berserker in C9, unedited and is a raw recording using their in-game recorder. Don't forget to set it on 720p for full detail
Sound -> All the effects and weapon interactions + the music all fit very well. The sound of my staff crashing through skeletons is a satisfying crunch that repeatedly echoes when my character swings through hordes of them only to watch them crumble in destruction which in turn brings a joy of feeling powerful and having fun to exploring for more foes. The music for bosses and stages feel themed towards Rock N Roll, yet when you're in town it sounds more serene and melodic. Sounds are definitely great in the game. I'll toss that a 9.5/10, the 0.5 missing being the player character voices are kind of lacking for some of the classes like the Shaman or Witchblade.
Story -> So far it's about some guy named Nefer taking his revenge, long story short, you're the character chasing him down. It's an MMO Free to Play story; For that I'll give it at least a 7.5/10 because I've experienced far worse. The only game that might be heralded with comparisons in the future with every other MMO to be released is possibly Guild Wars 2 much of which storytelling was a high focus for the team at ArenaNet.
Originality -> It's not a "me-too" game as far I'm concerned. They've done mostly everything correctly, and the game title itself relates to the game so it's not just something dreamt up out of nowhere that associates with nothing. C9 Continent of the Ninth Seal... so far Waterford town is in (Level1)Continent 1, (Level25)Vimpeli Castle is situated in Continent 2.... , (Level42)Runnersville is situated in Continent 3..., (Level 50+)Okapia Continent 4 Not released yet but do you see where this is going? So this game still has a lot of content to move forward into, and I can see how they can also recycle all 9 continents... if they head in that direction which could make the game extremely challenging. For this I'll give it a 9/10. The missing one point because the story isn't really new nor is the action MMO, but their overall content is interesting.
Challenge -> Easy if you're a hardcore gamer/fulltime gamer; Hard if you're casual gamer or don't play very many MMO's/action games very often; Very hard if you play very little action-oriented games. Challenging but not impossible to the player. You're not getting one or two-shotted like some action games that I won't mention here...
P.S. The game isn't easy if you're dying and using resurrection scrolls. If you ran out that actually means you failed your run for those who might tell me its brain numbingly easy. When you can beat all the dungeons without using res scrolls then sure I'll believe you when YOU tell me it's easy, but I'll only take it that it's easy for you. Not for the rest of us.
Score: 44.5/50 -> 89/100
Lasting Effect: Unknown, the game is all right for the first 40 levels, with some hating or completely being turned off by the tutorial, however at 45-50 I am unsure of whether the game has any lasting effect but the Survival mode is something soon to be tried and discovered. PvP in the arenas are always fun. The PvE is rather easy at all difficulties but the gist of the game mainly lies in PvP. Turning on intrusion in your runs is sort of like having a giant arena to hide and seek around. The only problem is waiting for an intruder to come, or you could simply go intrude and don't have to wait.