4Story: First impressions (page 2 of 2)

By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley Graphics
By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley

4Story looks like Wow. It has slightly blocky character models with bright but not childish colors.

4Story uses skill trees like WoW.

The ground does not have massive details, but the draw distances are pretty good. Spell effects in the early going are decent as bright flashes of magic energy exploded out of my Wizard toward the enemy. Combat animations were pretty fluid from what I could see of the melee fighters in my group. The game is in beta, though, so I saw some leashing issues with monsters and some pathing issues for players.

Buildings in the starting town for my faction were detailed enough to create whatever feeling the artists intended (in the case of my town, a pioneer woodsmen settlement). The overall stylized art direction, like WoW, prevents anything from looking like real life, instead lending a feeling of a romanticized caricature.

The monsters I saw included pumas (young and adult) and werewolves (in two flavors). Like the character models, their featured stylized graphics that made what they were clear--but clearly in a game. Dare I say it again, it was just like WoW.

Game Play
The first quests my Wizard encountered were about learning which non-player characters (NPCs) sold weapons and armor, how to equip gear, who could bind my spirit and what that even meant (hint: It's just like WoW). Once I got through with those quests, I was sent to the captain of the guard to report for patrol duty.

This became my first real challenge in the game because I could not find the captain or read the cluttered mini-map well enough to discern his location. On top of that the quest text was written in such broken English that I could not be sure which direction I needed to go. I made a sweep through town and ventured outside a bit. I came back in and made another pass. I finally accidentally found him standing on the porch of a house, the awning obscuring the question mark above his head from my view.

Ralsu found a friendly party easily.

The captain was portrayed as a man of rotten disposition, pressured to keep the safety of the townspeople and forced to deal with an untrained military force (including me). I have no problems with that somewhat cliche concept, but the execution was lacking because the translation in the game is horrible in this early stage. I honestly had trouble following the dialog half the time. The code for making NPCs say my character name was broken, so I often saw a number sign (#) where a name would be, but that wasn't the real problem. I just plain could not understand what I was being told to do some of the time. I'd just look at the bottom of the dialog box to see what I needed to kill and get to it.

The captain sent me on to an outpost where I had to kill a few pumas to prove my worth. The next quest had me fight werewolves held captive for the purpose of training new recruits like myself. The spelling here was atrocious, as the quest dialog told me to kill "catched warewolves."

Parting Thoughts
With a solid translation into English 4Story could pass for some World of Warcraft spin off. After only an hour or so, I was already tired of playing the game because it felt like a colossal grind. After I logged out and thought about it for a while, I realized that my sense of the grind could be artificial because the shoddy translation left me without a clue to the lore behind what I was doing. True, levels seemed to come slowly, but part of my awareness of the XP curve could be because the game had no purpose except to kill monsters without a story I could understand.

4Story might get a recommendation from me for people who love WoW if the translation were better. As it stands now, even being free would not be enough to entice me to play this game over WoW. With a solid translation, I think free-to-play gamers could really get into it. But right now, people get poorly translated quests that attempt to appeal to some undefined audience through the use of cursing.

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