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Eastern games continue to enter the North American market and Dragon
Nest is one of the latest, not to mention probably one of the more
entertaining, of this breed. This fantasy MMORPG focuses on a great
combat system married with an anime-cute visual style. Dragon
developed by Eyedentity Games and published by Nexon and is
free-to-play. So if you want to look adorable, but be able to kick much
monster ass, then read on!
Nest. There is no gore or
profanity and the violence is of the cartoon variety (no blood).
However, there is some very light fanservice normally found in anime in
Gameplay - 90 / 100
the player chooses one of four different classes to
play. Sadly, these classes are gender locked and there is just bare
bones customization to your avatar. You can get costume pieces to wear
in the game or from the cash shop. As your character levels, you gain
skill points used to purchase new skills for use in combat. When you
hit level 15, you can choose to specialize in a sub-class of the class
you are playing. These sub-classes are more specialized versions of the
main class, each with their own particular focus.
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The design of the game is your typical hub style MMO. You have several
quest hubs (towns) from which you can enter various dungeons that are
instanced. You clear a dungeon by killing all the monsters found
therein, and, at the end, you fight a boss monster. Upon completion,
you get to choose a random chest for extra loot. There are multiple
difficulty settings for each dungeon, which results in better loot and
more experience the more difficult the setting.
Combat is the central feature to Dragon
Nest and it
is a damn good system.
It’s flexible, dynamic, and loads of fun. There is no
targeting in Dragon Nest.
You use your crosshairs to aim your attacks,
so you really have total control of your avatar. To dodge, you hit the
same direction key twice. You use your two mouse buttons for your base
attacks and you use the number keys for combo attacks. The left
mouse button is your normal attack whilst the right mouse button is
your special attack. The special attacks vary depending upon the
situation and the skills you learn as you level. As a warrior, my base
special attack is a kick. Later on, I can gain a new special attack
where I do a normal kick first and then follow it with a roundhouse
kick. If an enemy is stunned, my special attack will kick them up into
the air, along with any adjacent enemies. If I jump and do my special
attack, then I do a cool drop kick. My absolute favorite is when an
enemy is down on the ground. In that situation, my special attack
delivers a crushing elbow slam. (Can you smell what the Jeffprime is
Video showing combo attacks.
I cannot emphasize how fun the combat system in Dragon Nest is. Between your combo attacks, dodges, normal attacks, and various special attacks, there are a ton of options available to you during every fight. Combat is never stale and I just can’t get enough beating the crap out of monsters.
A refreshing aspect of the game is the humor. While it’s not overly slapstick, there are quite a bit of humorous touches to be found in the game. One quest that made me laugh was a goblin version of 300 where you had to defeat 300 goblins in a small area. Another was a spy saying that he hid in a basket to get some intel of some dark elves, not to ogle them. (Dark elves are psychotic hotties in the game.) While the tone is light-hearted, there are some serious moments, which are made all the more serious by the normal tone of the game.
The usual bells and whistles of MMOs are found here as well. There is an auction house, guilds, crafting, and storage so the average MMO player will feel right at home in Dragon Nest.
While I am giving gameplay a high rating, I would have rated it higher but for a few caveats. First, the dungeons can get repetitive. There are times where I’ve entered a dungeon a couple of times and the next part of the quest chain, instead of going to a new dungeon, instead sends me back to the same dungeon. Fortunately, you should clear a dungeon anywhere from five to ten minutes, on the average.
The other quibble in the game is the cash shop and its impact upon crafting in gameplay. You can easily enchant items up to a certain level, but if you fail while you are enchanting an item, the item is destroyed. The only way to prevent such a thing is to purchase an item from the cash shop to prevent the item from being destroyed.
Graphics - 82 / 100
Sound - 77 / 100
Multiplayer - 77 / 100
I had a blast playing in respawn matches where you play until one side accumulates a certain number of kills. Too keep it somewhat balanced, the game will enhance players so that you won’t be walking in with your 10th level hit points and facing a horde of level 20 players. Surprisingly, my sloth-like reflexes resulted in getting more kills than deaths, which is a rarity!
The main improvements that I would do to multiplayer would be to have scenarios in PvP and to add some other guild benefits.
Value - 82 / 100
Lasting Appeal - 82 / 100
Pros and Cons
- Extremely solid and fun combat system
- Lush, colorful graphics
- If you like anime-inspired cuteness, then you’ll love the look of Dragon Nest
- Dungeons can get repetitive
- If you hate anime-inspired cuteness, then you’ll loathe the look of Dragon Nest
- Locked character selection with very little customization
Overall 80/100 - Good
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