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style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 204, 51);">Top
Free-to-Play Games

of Jun 6- Jun 12, 2010

1. Dungeons
and Dragons
Online: Eberron Unlimited

2. style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="">Runes
of Magic target="_blank">

href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">3.  href=""
target="_blank">Atlantica Online

4.  href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_top"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">FreeRealms

5.  target="_blank">  href=""
Chronicles of Spellborn

Perfect World International

 7.  href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank">Sword of the New World

8. target="_blank">Aika href=""

9. target="_blank">Allods Online

10.  target="_top">Requiem: Bloodmayne href=""
target="_top"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""

style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""
target="_blank"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href=""> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

Typically the week before a major event like E3 is, to put it mildly, a
slow news week here in video game land. The past week, however, has
bucked that trend like a wild bronco hopped up on jimson weed with
reveals, sneak peaks and expansion previews galore.  While
Blizzard may be hogging most of the headlines with the new information
about World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm expansion, it seems they are taking
a page out of EverQuest’s book by making bold expansion promises and
then removing most of the juicier bits before it launches.

Space games continue to blast off as the popular Battlestar Galactica
franchise finally makes its MMOG debut, albeit a browser-based one.
Now, I’m not knocking browser-based games--technology is allowing
developers to put out some amazing products--but I think I speak for
most gamers when I say that we will all hope for the best but prepare
for the worst on this one. Of course I have been wrong about a game or
two in my time when I base expectations on my first impressions and
this week I review one of those games, style="font-style: italic;">Aika Online.

When gPotato first announced that they were importing a South
Korean MMOG that was focused on end game PvP my initial reaction was
far from positive. Chalk it up to the old adage of being once bitten
and twice pissed off over wasting too many hours grinding mobs and
clicking to move. The more I read about style="font-style: italic;">Aika, the more
suspicious I became: a persistent companion familiar in the form of a
little girl called a Pran, gender locked classes with only 6 to choose
from, and the promise of epic 1000 vs 1000 battles all set my skin
crawling as I imagined the absolute worst.

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The world of Aika is beautiful and bloody.

When I finished the install of Aika
and fired it up for the first time, my first look at the graphics did
nothing to assuage my fears. Luckily I have lived by the mantra that 8
bit graphics are adequate if the gameplay is compelling, and after a
few hours of exploring and getting familiar with the game, my opinion
of it had turned 180 degrees. It is always refreshing to be pleasantly
surprised by a game; it’s a whole other level of happiness when you are
feeling that way after you had come in expecting the worst – sometimes
nothing tastes better than a fresh slice of crow.


As I alluded to earlier, graphics aren’t this game’s strongest suit,
however they aren’t a weakness by any means. style="font-style: italic;">Aika really was
optimized to host battles of players numbering 1000 vs. 1000, and all
the core elements are designed to facilitate that. While the visual
element in Aika
isn’t compromised of bleeding edge graphics and effects, it is still a
very pleasing game to look at.  Character models have a
distinctly Asian feel, with anime style avatars wrapped in a veneer of
slick looking armor sets that make your character look like a hero very
early on – nothing is worse than running around a game world looking
like you should be begging alms for the poor while more advanced
players are blinding you with their bright chrome and bronze
appointments.  NPC models are also well done here, with
everything from quest givers to mobs enhancing the game world.

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alt="Aika" src="">

Lush scenery that wont kill 

your FPS

Cities and environs are fairly stark, but not lacking in style, however
the moments of awe inspiring landscapes are few and far
between.  Once you are sufficiently vested in the PvP aspects
of the game you may be hard pressed to recount the locations as more
than a blur as you race through them trying to capture or secure a
relic. If this were a graphical review only, style="font-style: italic;">Aika wouldn’t score
the highest grade, but games such as style="font-style: italic;">Vanguard and AoC
have taught us that looks ain’t everything.


One of the more western themed elements of the game is the UI. As one
would expect in a properly ported localization, gPotato has always
managed to succeed in ensuring western players would feel comfortable
in their games and Aika
is no exception. While the UI is fairly minimalist, it lacks none of
the standard windows or menus needed to maintain a good flow of
information about both your character and the game itself. The only
detraction here is one that is fairly standard in the world of
free-to-plays and that’s the chat window and structure. Players
familiar with AAA title chat functionality will find the overall feel
and implementation lacking in Aika,
but it isn’t a game breaking flaw.


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alt="Aika" src="">

Combat is where Aika shines.

Of all the elements central to an MMOG gameplay is easily the most
important and Aika
never loses sight of that fact. Perhaps the most interesting and
pivotal element of gameplay, for me at least, was the abundance of
quests throughout the leveling process. style="font-style: italic;">Aika seems to have
eschewed the typical Asian mantra of “grind it ‘til it bleeds” in favor
of a more western-like model where quest experience and the kills
involved in completing them are substantial. Now, I don’t want to be
misunderstood here and lead you to believe Aika is WoW-like in its
leveling curve--it’s still an Asian MMOG and as such there is a bit
more pacing in the leveling of a toon--but comparatively style="font-style: italic;">Aika shares more
with EQ2 and WoW than it does Aion.

One of the most unique elements of Aika
is the combat pet, the Pran.  All players and classes have
access to a Pran, which is gained from a quest at level 7 and basically
becomes an NPC party member complete with dialogue and interaction.
Starting out as a small fairy, the Pran eventually begins to mature and
gain more power, morphing from the fairy persona into a pre-adolescent
girl and eventually a fully developed adult you can dress up (it sounds
kinkier than it really is). Other than the mildly creepy Lolita vibe,
the Pran is an integral part of the game in both PvE and PvP aspects.

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alt="Aika" src="">

Battlegrounds give players a

place to test their mettle.

End game Aika
is very PvP-centric with three major modes of battle to test your
mettle and help establish the identity of the server.  The
most basic of PvP encounters are the Battlegrounds – straightforward
battles that are down and dirty with simple objectives and mostly small
group sizes. While the battlegrounds are the most pedestrian of the PvP
modes, they still offer decent rewards for the dedicated player.

The second type of PvP battle is the Castle Siege – a faction (refered
to as Nations in Aika )
specific blend of PvP and politics. These guild-based battles vie for
control of the Nation, with the winning guild’s GM anointed Pope and
King for a period of time, giving them a measure of power and influence
over the land – from gaining the ability to communicate with all
members of the Nation at their discretion to the more formidable
ability to excise and modify a tax rate to rake in monetary rewards for
the victory. While some players are vocal in their opposition to an
anti-farming mechanic, Castle Sieges present some of the most fun and
intriguing encounters in the game.


The final, and most epic, form of PvP are the Relic Wars. Relic Wars
pit nation against nation in a struggle for control of, you guessed it,
a relic. Each Nation has 4 relics that are housed in 4 separate temples
with the end goal of the scenario being that another nation is able to
come in and abscond with one of these powerful artifacts. Relic Wars
are where we finally can see the 1000 vs. 1000 battles that are at the
heart of Aika
- think CTF across multiple zones with a ton of bloodshed. 
Successfully capturing a relic anoints the capturing player a hero with
a systemwide message and grants a boon to a particular stat for members
of that nation.

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alt="Aika" src="">

Relics and Altars require strong 


There is also a blended PvP/PvE encounter called the Altar War that
players will want to participate in. Altar wars are somewhat similar to
a Relic War in so much as that there is a tangible object to possess,
but the Altar is housed in a single location as opposed to the relics
which every Nation has. Capturing an Altar is a feat that requires
coordination and timing as the Altar only becomes vulnerable at certain
times and when certain conditions are met. Successfully capturing the
Altar not only rewards the Nation who pulls off the feat, but also
punishes the Nation who was last charged with its care, encouraging not
only capture but defense as well.


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(4 / 5

With the game’s first expansion less than a week away now is a great
time to check out Aika
if you are looking for a solid PvP game with an interesting world to
explore. Overall Aika gets
4 out of 5 hammers, scoring high marks in gameplay and originality.

Keep checking back with us each week as we continue to explore the ever
growing world of free-to-play MMOGs, and keep an eye out for our
upcoming look at Black
. Until next week, stay safe and keep it free.

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 Honestly, it's strictly platonic.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Aika Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016