Ten Ton Hammer Nostale Review
is a 2D MMOG hosted by Uforia in North America. The story of style="font-style: italic;">Nostale begins long
before the player is born when Ancelloan, wife of the games sun god,
creates the world by stopping a dispute between her husband and their
son, the moon god. She blocks the flaming sword of Sun with her left
hand and the icy spear of Moon with her right. The blows are fatal to
her, but her death brings about many births. The spirits spawn from her
charred left hand while the frozen right hand thaws to become the
source of all water. Her golden hair transforms into Mystic Heaven
(ruled by Sun) while her body decays and changes into Hellrod
(regulated by Moon).
Not surprisingly, each of the short-tempered males blamed the
other for Ancelloans death, resulting in a celestial war between the
angels of Mystic Heaven and the demons of Hellrod. As usual in similar
mythologies, the humans are caught in the middle, and the players
eventual task is to enter both realms and resolve the conflict for all
sports an ambitious plot presented in a world that is drenched in
color. The overall experience seems geared toward people looking for
adventure, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Gameplay - 50 / 100
All characters start as a basic class, the Adventurer. After
ten levels as an Adventurer, gamers get access to the real classes,
each of which advances to two specialty classes at levels 20 and 35.
The three basic classes (at first glance) become nine classes when
explored fully, but playing to level 35 is long time to reach the class
you really want to play. The game also seems to miss the notion that
allowing access to one class at level 20 and another at 35 is
incongruent and unfair. Since the Holy Mage is the only full heal path
a character can take, why do we need to wait until level 35 to take
that path. Why can't we choose it at level 20 like it's arcane cousin,
the Red Mage?
A Swordsman can become a Warrior at level 20 or a Blade at
level 35. This class line covers the melee specialists who wear the
best defensive gear. The Swordsman is a man-at-arms wielding a sword
but also is comfortable with a crossbow. The Warrior goes for
two-handed swords and pure carnage, and the Blade goes for precision
with a katana.
The Archer is the classic ranged fighter that uses the bow as
the primary source of damage and daggers when forced to engage at close
range. The level 20 option is the Ranger, a better bow user. The level
35 upgrade is the Assassin, a master of the dagger.
Finally, the Sorcerer covers the magic users. It mixes healing
spells with spell guns (magic spells that transform into real bullets
and hit the enemy). The level 20 promotion is the Red Mage, which
focuses on damage spells and gains some AoE abilities. The Holy Mage is
the pure healer and becomes available at Sorcerer level 35.
Whatever class you choose, combat in
style="font-style: italic;">Nostale involves
pitting the player and a pet against a horde of cuddly little critters
from furry sheep to even less orthodox enemies like pea pods. On the
plus side, nearly any enemy you fight can be captured to become your
new pet. Until then, everyone starts out with a pet chicken, a hen to
be exact. While offering variety, the pet system is highly flawed.
Ignoring the fact that my first pet being a hen ruined a number of good
fighting cock jokes, pets are hard to manage at low levels. Even
though I was doing a ton more damage than my chicken, it kept trying to
tank and drawing aggro. Thus, it died a lot and lagged behind in
levels. I could attempt to fix that by taking control of the chicken
and going off to fight chicken-vs-enemy battles alone. The problem came
when I tried to switch my control back to the human and could not
figure out how to get the chicken to auto-follow again. This happened
EVERY time I switched to the perspective of my pet. Usually I had to
zone out to get my pet to follow me again.
When youre not wrestling with the controls of your pet, you
can collect gear to improve your character. Equipment in style="font-style: italic;">Nostale is handled
well and is one of the best mechanical aspects of the game. It doesnt
break any new ground, though; players equip pieces on their head,
chest, feet, and jewelry slots. Better gear adds to attributes to make
your character stronger.
Graphics - 65 / 100
Despite the flare for cute and a 2D world,
style="font-style: italic;">Nostales colorful
graphics look nice. The grasses are vibrant greens, and the flowers add
splashes of color. Character animations are solid if limited, and each
enemy has a small assortment of combat moves to add panache. While
individual spells have mediocre graphics early on, the screen can get a
little busy with multiple players and enemies fighting and using skills
all at once. Higher level magic spells are more flamboyant, but the
rest of the classes shouldnt expect to put on flashy displays. Most
melee moves involve moving your sprite and adding a quick camera-like
Likewise, dont anticipate a ton of variety in
style="font-style: italic;">Nostales zones on
the human world. Each zone I visited had the same super-bright bushes
and trees. Mystic Heaven and Hellrod offer some variety, but they each
end up as a lot of the same, too.
Sound - 60 / 100
I am mostly aware of music and sound effects in a game when
they are supremely awesome or super annoying. In the case of style="font-style: italic;">Nostale, they are
neither. Music in most zones is upbeat, almost jaunty, but immature. It
lends a feeling of watching a cartoon. Regardless, its not bad at all.
Sound effects are a collection of cacophonic clashes for attacks with
weapons and a series of fwips, fwooshes, and frings for spells and
special skills. The whole ensemble falls somewhere just short of
Multiplayer - / 100
The biggest incentive for grouping in
style="font-style: italic;">Nostale is speeding
up the leveling treadmill. Some quests let the gamer know that it will
take a few people to complete, but most can be accomplished by
outleveling the quest. I appreciate that style="font-style: italic;">Nostale does not
ram grouping down its players throats, but it also doesnt really do
much to encourage cooperative play in the PvE experience.
PvP is a completely different scenario;
style="font-style: italic;">Nostale features a
couple of fun PvP games that promote player interaction. Freezer Tag is
the same game you used to enjoy on the playground when you were eight,
but this time it is played throughout the world. The Arena allows for
one-on-one and group PvP battles. Finally, Rainbow Crystal Battle is a
type of capture the flag for two teams of 10+ players divided into
pairs and pitted against one another. Other developers would do well to
look to Nostale
for some PvP ideas.
Value - 65 / 100
More than any other trait in a review, the value of a game is
relative to the individual. Since the bulk of the style="font-style: italic;">Nostale experience
(PvE and pet system) is poor to me, its a good thing the game is F2P.
Players who manage to grind out the levels could end up having a blast
in the PvP. As it stands, the only thing I lost for trying it was my
time. I was unable to discover what items or resources are available in
the item mall, but I had no interest in using it.
Lasting Appeal - 50 / 100
turned out to be a review and uninstall it title for me. Big fans of
PvP and collect em all pet games might get more out of it than I
did. Still, with a number of MMOGs on the market that do almost
everything better than Nostale,
it seems unlikely that it would win the heart of the average gamer.
is a stable 2D MMOG that is pleasing to the eye if youre not afraid of
a vibrant world. The grand story falls flat in the gameplay and it is
more work than it is worth to explore the lore. The best feature of style="font-style: italic;">Nostale is its
innovative PvP, but its not innovative enough to make up for a
Overall 55/100 - Mediocre
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