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  • Gender: Male
  • Birthday:August 06,1981
  • Location: France

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Hello MMOSITE readers and welcome to my latest review. Today I am writing about Archlord 2. This title is published by Webzen and the sequal to the older Archlord. I have never played Archlord I have heard that the general concept is copy and pasted in the sequal. That is: Build up your character in a PvP centric world, and battle it out enough to get the Archlord title. This brings rewards to you (and perhaps your faction) in the sum of buffs and other power ups. Sound enticing? Well I jumped into this with open mind and sword sharpened. Here are my first ten levels worth of review.





Introduction:
I heard of Archlord several years back when a fellow guild mate of mine in PWI, left to test new waters. He found his home in Archlord and tried recruiting us all over. Over time I lost contact with him, but that name: “Archlord” always stuck with me and I kept it as one of those “I’ll get around to testing it some day”. That day will never come, but now I have tested the sequel! I have played Webzen’s FPS titles and S.U.N. before. Never really thrilled and I never stayed too long. Upon signing up for Archlord 2, my eyebrows raised 15 feet off my face when I saw that Gpotato and Webzen accounts are now merged and I need to upgrade. I did. It was painless. They also offered me tons of goodies in Archlord 2, like custom capes etc.., if I gave them my Facebook information. I skipped all the fluff and did not accept and hopped right into the game.
 The game client is about 3gigs, and it downloaded fast enough. It patched decently. I had a few hic-ups with the launch videos. Crashed before and after. But ran fine later on.


The introduction was filled with a CGI video of a battle. Very much like Dynasty Warriors, it shows “you” or the hero in a deep iron armor clad siege battle. Tons of enemies running at you. The female “elf” charge out taking waves of monsters. She get’s beaten down, then rises again, pulling out two battle axes and starts attacking ninja like. She reaches the end of the battle field, takes a glowing power, and now wears better armor and zoom in on her face and film over.



Ok… Then the game restarts a new movie introduction. I was a little thrown off but ok…explain to me what I just saw…Sadly, I was given no explination. I am just now watching an animated 2D like narrated introduction to the game with lots of story dialog… It talks about epic battles of the gods.  Apparently the gods are not happy. Start fighting for whatever reason. Spawn war avatars, these powerful beings then spawn Archlords, or general like figures to guide ground battle troops for planetary fighting I guess…Then a demon being or “dark being, lord of shadows, etc..” appears. They find some magical abyss thing and seal an Archlord inside. Or something like that. Then dark being forces take to the land. Then the being is banished and now there is just bad dark forces unleashed.  Then it is over… My biggest problem is that the entire thing was super epic, super confusing, and has no room to explain the basic players role in this entire title… SO…if the gods are fighting, and it shows space dimensional battles… and then god like ARchlords and demons… and the result is a flood of planetary like discord that creates beings for the “war”..What is really at stake and who is fighting for what? So, above the Archlord (who really is just about 4 ranks down), what role to the gods and these other elements play out? What planet are we on that gets corrupted or enters the battle? All humanoids are creations of the gods for war, so were we innocently pulled into the war by being a neighbor planet? I am confused. Also, whay role will the abyss play?



 Things get worse, as right after this, you are now at a “chose faction screen”. Wait... the story just told us there is only one faction… The dark beings faction who has the archlord power sealed up. His humanoid creations fought internally (humanoid problems the dark being and gods and archlord care less about),  and split into two factions. SO TECHINCALLY ACCORDING TO THE GAME: The two warring factions are one and the same. But we read now at the screen one is for “the light” and the other is “the dark” a very “World of War Craft” approach to factions. It would have made sense if they were both “dark” factions and you chose the between the two evils…that would fit the story we were just told. At no point in the lore introduction did I get the sense there was a good side fighting against a dark side…Even in the gods war…there is no good or bad god, just gods duking it out…what is going on?
 Right after we get to creating our characters.



Character Creation:


(These factions have nothig to do with the story we just saw. In fact, we should be under the same "dark" leader, but two different ideals of power...according to the story)

Character creation was very simple and straight forward. It starts a by asking you to chose between male and female. You get a preview of what a male and female look like…but covered in armor that looks like it is made out of poo stuck together. Then you chose your “class”. Well, there are no real classes, but rather “arm” or weapon choice. I chose 1 handed, or, sword in one hand, shield in the other. This is your main weapon and will be given boosts for using your main weapon. You can build in other weapons in the game and swap out in battle, but will never be as strong as your main weapon build.
 It is not clear in character creation screen, but in game you will see each “arm” does have a role tied to it. My one arm, is the shield carrying tank. I do have taunts, high DEF and high armor ratings. So the trinity and typical lore roles exist. The only thing different is the weapon swap and ability to mix and match skills and spells. This is great if you are tired of one role one type mmorpg. But in the end, you will be required to play that one main role to the best of it’s abilities. No one wants a fail tank in the dungeons pulling out a bow…


(End game armor looks like poo)

Moving on, you are then taken to a character design screen. It is limited and you will see your clone in game. It offers hand full of hair and face choices. Toss in a couple odd facial attachments that completely alter your default face, and a slider bar for size. The odd thing was, there were pre-set buttons that change your muscle mass, no slider bar… and the result was very weird muscle mass choices. From “pear” like build to “bottle” form…it was just not good to look at. There are very “runes of magic” looking faces, that sort of animation meets half way realism. And there is one “realism” face…I chose that. It was the least runes of magic looking…
 Skin color choices were white, brown, vomit and diarrhea. Seriously. Two decent selections, the rest ODD! There is one reddish tint that I guess is ok for that “red brute anime” look. After all is said and done, you pick a name and get in the game.


 


Game Play:

The first thing I do in any new mmorpg I test is to sit and play with all the menu systems and buttons.  The UI is very simple and easy to use. No menu under menus complexity etc.. The typical preset buttons work. For example: “C” opens up the character menu etc.. The UI is very well tucked away. However, it is VERY tucked away. There literally are only 4 buttons on the screen. The first button hides all the “on the go” options. There are auction house, armor enhance, and enchanting options that can be opened up anywhere with the press of a button. The second button hides all other in game features, from settings, character, skills, crafting, etc.. the list is long, and the way the button is graphically set up, means it is hard wired in, and you can not customize the UI any further than what you are presented with. The third and fourth button are PvP and dungeon related. Both of the later I would not use in this review. There is a cash shop button. One thing I liked already is there are no reminders to use the cash shop. No blinking, no on screen reminders. It is very easy to ignore.



 If I could say anything negative, it would be that the menu buttons take some pushing to open up. They are “sticky” if you will and not responsive. The movement between targeting, talking to NPCS and other functions are very rigid and some basic designs like: “Clicking off to shut menu” “Clicking off screen to stop moving” do not work fluidly. You will literally have to search the “cancel” buttons and move strictly around. This makes the system feel a little “dated” and clunky. But it is not a big bother.


 The character screen shows we are allowed to build in stat points in any field. So I can take my tank like warrior I chose, and pump nothing but Int. Magic damage stat build…it would be silly unless I knew you could do a warrior magic build, but since I do not know and do not want to risk building wrong, I am taking the standard “put points in HP and STR” tank build.

The skills or spells page is built around point system as well. There is a hitch here. You are not given skill points based on your level up, but on your weapons level up. When your sword levels up (based on use), it gets points. You distribute these points across skill trees. You have can level up weapons independently. So you will have to grind up the point son that second hand bow if you want to build it up and pull out some nice skills with it. One thing I noticed in the first 10 levels is that you, the player, level faster than the weapon. I was about 1 to 2 levels below the weapon, and I was given level up gift packs that include weapon level up boosts. If you see how this is done, you can really start to piece together how this game was originally meant to play (and possibly how the eastern version is set up) where power ups do not exist and you grind out the weapon a little longer each region. I have a very strong feeling to “adapt to western audience” they are handing out the power up packs… otherwise they make no sense to design this way.




After tinkering around with those menus I decided to get into the game. I mean, after that epic battle introduction, there has to be some epic battles to get to right? RIGHT?! YEAH! So I look around, I am in a calm kicked back village area. The entire map is called “Grassy Lands”. The guards slowly walking around, bored. The village people just standing there doing village people things… nothing seems epic so far… Let’s talk to an NPC. I walk up and start clicking on the NPC’s and quest givers. First thing I notice is the bad and lazy design. There are copy and paste NPC’s design everywhere. The young man with a beard, when clicked on, does a little old man voice script…the young busty female model, when clicked on, does a old lady chuckle..WHAT? It is like the developers had a  mixed voice pack and just blindly randomly attached a sound to each NPC…without looking. The old man voice does not match the young man NPC model… little over sights like this are everywhere and make the game feel cheap and rushed. It is not a big deal… but it is the little things that start to accumulate and give an overall “cheap” impression.



One item I would get early on is a random enhancement item. This is given by using a gambling box. You get coins, or “tries” and put them in a slot machine looking menu, and get goodies. This is one of many “gamble” machines they pasted in this game. Love it or hate it, it is there. So far the rewards are mediocre. Speaking of mediocre, the NPC told me the village is under the threat of Goblins.


(Auction house "on the go" and other features)

I go out to do my kill X quests of goblin killing. And I am going to say right now, I will finish the first 10 levels doing nothing but goblins. The only mob graphics they had were goblins, peppered in with mosquitoes. At one moment at level 7 I killed one humanoid tribes man…just one…and I left the area after the quest. They use the cheap design by copy and pasting the same mob and just changing the name title that floats above it. It would have been a huge let down if that is all I did until level 10 “kill X”, but the game peppers in some other kinds of quests such as gathering plants, rune fragments, installing a barrier, and other little “click bait” tasks. Again… Nothing epic... For a new title wanting to break the mold and find a foothold in the game market…They should have spiced it up more. I have played older games that have used environment settings to create epic  atmosphere. One game that stands out is Bloodymare. The “bloody violent mmorpg” that used its creepy design, aggressive monsters, and little things like “skeleton gates falling and closing you in the monster room” design. This game… was boring. Nothing felt epic. Nothing felt exciting. I am being lulled to sleep by a little fantasy more musical score, as geese and wild life lazily walk around, the guards seem to care about nothing. I am told how goblins killed families, menace the farms, and do other bad little goblin things outsite the city gates. My first 10 levels is about heading out to massacre the goblins for their bad deeds and do other meaningless tasks that are forgettable. They serve as pacing out the EXP, pushing you along the map, and giving out equipment. It was a let down. That said, it served it’s purpose and pushed me decently along the map. I never felt hung up. A good example is Black Gold. I has instantly blocked and turned off in the first 20 levels of it’s bad design and swore never to sign in again. This game has decent pacing, and I have no problem continuing playing…but not because the epic game play, lore, or other elements…but perhaps to see what the next part of the map looks like.

 

(The second button has all these options tucked under it)


The map is large, but if you look close, it is also linear. It is no secret where I will be going next. What the region looks like is the secret. The game hides it’s linear and confined spaces well. Enough room to walk around and everything is auto walk. Click on a quest auto walk. Open map, click on map auto walk. Oddly, you cannot break auto walk unless you move. Even combat will not break auto walk. Several times I naturally just clicked off screen to stop and he kept on walking. I enjoy auto walking when done right. But all depends on the environment. For example, Perfect World is a huge seemless world with no to little loading maps, auto pathing is essential and works. Swordsman online is a bad example, it is cramped, and auto pathing ends so abruptly it feels off. Auto pathing past certain enemies take the “open action” parts out of the game. In this game, it is a bit of a mix. I enjoyed auto pathing longer routes, but because so many other things are poorly designed in this game, I can’t help but feel the “it is here to get what you need fast, quickly, and lazily to push you to end game content”.  I would not say take it out, but give us at least some kind of larger meaning to be using it.





Camera is wonky. You can zoom out very far, but you cannot zoom in past your shoulders. I could not take the screenshots I really wanted because of this. Also, you can look top down at an extreme angle (looking right over the top of your head…but you cannot look straight up at the sky. And there were times I wanted to look up at a large statue or take a night sky screen shot but the ground blocks you, and the camera will not look up.


There is a robust gathering and crafting system and very straight forward. Nothing too hard to figure out. You level up gathering by gathering, and then work on crafting. Nothing more or less from what I can tell.

Inventory is very limited early on. You will be full. Do not worry, you will have access to a warehouse at the level 1and level 5 gives you a free bag extension. There is also a large gathering book bag, but you can’t put gathering supplies in it, just the books to learn. Odd. Quest items rest in your main bag taking up space. Again, not a big deal so far, but sometimes I confused it with other item s and just made organizing a little off. Speaking of odd things, the mail box has to be found in each town to get mail. Odd because auction house and other “on the go” things are tucked away in your menu… why did they not just throw the mail in there as well? Personally I prefer all the functions linked to actual NPC’s you have to talk to. So, I am glad the post is not “on the go”, but I did find it weird the other things are.

 


Combat:


Combat works. It is not bad. Not exceptional. But it works. And believe me…after Black Gold, Swordsman, and other fail combat systems… this tab / combo system feels so good to use! The targeting and auto pathing to the target feels a little clunky, but once you press 1, 2, 3, the sword swings and the contact feels hit.
 I do enjoy the combos, and it makes more interactive. First ten levels, the mobs pose no threat.  I have not tested a second weapon out, but I do notice you can swap your weapon sets out smoothly. I did encounter a lot of lag. Lag in combat situations and movement. If, by chance, another human being came near me, the game lagged heavily. This is a “Europe” server and I was shocked to see it lag so much. I am in France, and I play heavy populated games with no lag in US, East and West coast, no problem. Not sure what is going on in this game, but I have no interest to test out laggy pvp. We will see in the future.
 The blood that comes out is comical. It makes large splat spray on the ground…but EVEYTHING does. Kill a goblin? Red blood splat. Kill a bug? Large blood splat. Etc… they could have at least used green blood with a different splatter design for the goblins…but that would mean attention to design, clearly not used here.


(There are no god wars. The real menace are Goblins threatening this meat pile)

There are agro meters and group exp meters making grouped combat easy to get into.

I grinded out levels 2-3 without quests, I farmed a little. I did not need to, but I chose too. That means I have 2 levels of weapon exp. After that I did all the quests normally, and maybe killed 5-10 extra mobs. I never used another weapon, but I used the free level up gift packs weapon EXP boosts. This left me at level 10: Main weapon level 9, All other weapons level 7. So that is how the weapons scale up to level 10.


(Fighting off mosquito eggs in the water. Kind of big..they could have used birds to change it up a bit)


Graphics and Sound:


(NPC design is nice and all...but do they look like they have been ravished in a gods war and faced dark beings? naahhh. Looks like napy time to me)

Graphics are good. Not exceptional. The NPC’s are higher resolution than the environment making them seem plastic and odd looking. The goblins are a darker gritty texture and the overall game ran fine.  The environments looked decent enough and had their feel to it. Each armor and weapon pieces are colored and detailed.  I have no complaints on the graphics as it allows most older systems to join the fun. However, it is a little let down for higher end systems and people especially looking forward to a sequel to their favorite game in a better looking engine. My real problem was the bland setting for the first ten levels so far. There was one bridge I took that looked nice. Other than that. Wood. Plants. Stretches of field. Mediocre stuff.



(There is beauty in this game. Not a lot, but worth rogressing out to look at)

The music is nice. It is actually very calming and although it is on a short loop, it is just long enough and nice enough to not annoy me. I prefer leaving the music on. The problem is, it is so calming and relaxing it completely contrasts with the combat, the epic introduction and distracts from the theme.

 

Conclusion:

I went into this game thinking other reviews of this game were too harsh because the players wanted a high resolution graphical game. Sadly, I have to be a little harsh with this title as well. It is rough around the edges. It has an epic introduction and a huge let down in actual game design. Nothing is as epic as presented so far. The design is very cheap. Sound clips off, tiring and boring game play elements. Battle is good tab targeting battle set up, and feels connected when hits hit, but the comical blood, and boring mob selection keep negate the positive and end up with a very stale and mediocre experience. 


(All the same NPC, just different name...lazy)


The element that stands out is the fact you do progress at a decent rate (even though majority of progress relies on gifts and hand outs) and the game has enough to keep me interested in what the next map looks like. When I look around and see games like Archeage being launched and people being denied service, standing in line to kill one mob, and other experiences that lead to pvp rape end game…it makes this game, Archlord 2, stand out. Want to be fighting, gathering, leveling up with balanced PvP and working to both dungeons and end game Archlord status? Leave that 3 hour Archage queue and come on over to Archlord 2 for some decent MMORPG fun.  As a bonus, I the cash shop seems very balanced and nothing P2W. I only briefly looked through it, and will be doing a more extensive review of the cash shop in the next review.


(So shiny...)

No tricks, no secrets, nothing too new, but still refreshing to know it is not ruining the core combat mechanics and not telling you it is something bigger than what it is. It is easy to get a “feel” for and once that “feel” hooks you, it will make a decent home to level up in.


I give these first levels a 2.5/5. Rough around the edges. And I do not see patches focusing on “fixing NPC voices” and other things to iron out. You get what you get face value. And I sort of like this “hiding nothing” approach. You can learn to love the little rough spots, they will not annoy you. But they will remind you that you are in a “cheaper” slapped together game. This score can change in the next review from levels 10 – 20. Stay subscribed and check me out then!


(Wonky camera makes it so I can not see up to take the screen shot of this statue)

Tags:
Archlord 2   MMORPG   REVIEW   PvP  

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