Atlantica Online: First Impressions
By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley
Turn-based games are not for everybody, but I am telling you right now that you are cheating yourself our of a fantastic game if you don't try Atlantica Online by NDOORS. Looking a little bit like Guild Wars in graphical style and quality while playing a little like Final Fantasy games in combat, this game shows high production value and is a blast to play.
Download and Installation
Before downloading any game, it's always best to check out the system requirements. Atlantica Online has modest system requirements, which are listed below, but I recommend having even better specs than those in the suggested column.
|CPU||Pentium 4 1GHz or better||Pentium 4 2GHz or better|
|RAM||512MB or better||1GB or better|
|VGA||GeForce4 TI4200, 64MB or better (must support vertex pixel shading)||GeForce 4 6600GT, 128MB or better|
|DirectX||DirectX 9.0c or better||DirectX 9.0c or better|
|HDD||5GB or more||10GB or more|
Don't let the description as turn-based fool you. Combat in Atlantica is fast and exciting.
My system is a Pentium 4 3GHz with 3GB RAM and a GeForce 8600GT with 512MB video RAM. On the highest graphical setting with Fraps running, I was getting 15 frames per second. Switching to the medium graphics setting gave me 25 frames per second with Fraps running. I was then able to tweak many setting without dipping below 22 frames per second with Fraps still running. The end result was a graphics setting that looked very close to the maximum while still playing smoothly.
Gamers can download Atlantica from a
number of mirror sites. The download is 2.15GB.The install size on my
hard drive is just under 6GB.
Installation took nearly twenty minutes, but I did not have to do anything. I just double-clicked the installer and let it do the work. I noticed that much of the music expanded as OGG files, which means players can pull out their favorite pieces and listen to them with many of the music players we use on our computers. The maps were DDS files, so I see potential for player modifications to pinpoint creatures on the maps even though that seems unnecessary because of one of the game play features (more on that later). When Atlantica finished installing, I was able to login using the press account I received from NDOORS. After a short patch period, I was able to play.
Even though I was impressed with the battle animation playing out on the log in screen, I was anxious to try this game, so I logged in and quickly selected the beta server so I could create a character. Like any good strategy game, your character is defined by what type of unit he is. I could choose between male and female versions of seven unit types: swordsman, spearman, viking (axe), gunner (rifle), archer (bow), artilleryman (cannon), or shaman (staff). Each unit type has its strengths and weakness and spell abilities.
Swordsmen have very high defense and a Flame Sword magic attack. They can use enchanted shields and make great front line fighters.
Each unit type in Atlantica has unique growth and skills.
Spearmen sacrifice a small amount of defense for doing greater damage and the ability to strike two foes in a line. Their Lightning Spear special attack is vicious.
The viking is a one-man wrecking crew, striking three enemies in a row and doing more damage than the other physical fighters. His Freezing Axe attack can stun enemies for a short time. As a trade off, the axe man has low magic resistance and low Action Power, meaning he can attack less frequently.
Gunners can hit up to three enemies in a line with their rifles, but they make poor front line fighters with their below average health and defense. Their special ability is Wild Shot, which does tremendous damage to foes, but you can't be sure which one(s) it will hit.
Archers can only sit a single opponent with their bows, but they do the highest damage of the ranged characters. They have very low defense and hit points, so keep them in the back rows. Their magic is the Silence spell, which blocks enemy magic for a time. This, like many aspects of Atlantica, makes the player use strategy to determine when to sacrifice the high damage output of an archer to prevent damage from magical enemies.
Artillerymen fire hand held cannons that do average damage to enemies in a T-shaped pattern. This firing method can hit up to 4 enemies at once. Like the other ranged units, artillerymen have below average defense, though they seem to be the heartiest. Their magic is Deep Insight, which delivers a normal attack and reveals the remaining hit points of the unit targeted by the attack.
The shaman is a magic caster who wields a staff. He has low health and defense and deals a very weak magic-based attack with the staff, but the real value of a shaman lies in his magic. One of the most important spells of the shaman is Blessing of Life, which heals another unit in his party. Other shaman spells include Hex of Darkness (damage over time), Brutal Will (make allies berserk, which makes them automatically attack with physical attacks but for greater damage), and Noble Sacrifice, which heals all allied units and kills the Shaman.
I made an artilleryman named Ginclock. In addition to gender, I could choose between 4-5 different styles of hair, hair colors, and faces. I could also choose two styles of clothing.
There's more to Atlantica. Continue to page 2.