Updated Wed, Apr 24, 2013 by Xerin
Age of Wushu is sort of a different game that’s sort of the same. It’s got an interesting combat system, EVE Online-esq leveling system. Is it something worth paying attention to, considering Jet-Li is a representative for the game, or should you Wushu stage left? Find out below.
Age of Wushu is more of a creative attempt at trying to escape the box of classic MMO design then it is something completely new and different. You’ve got a veritable cornucopia of ideas mixed into a giant hot pot, ranging from your beef (World of Warcraft-esq graphics), pork (Eve Online-esq skill based leveling system), bok choy (TERA-esq active combat system), and all the way to your potatoes (Minecraft style need for food). The only issue is that, it’s a bit hard to really pinpoint what Age of Wushu actually is when it comes to gameplay.
As an example, after you’re done with your first set of introductory quests, you’re pretty much plopped down into a giant open world of a somewhat poorly translated game with a task list of things that you could do if you wanted to. You could also really not do them if you want to. Instances are just a way of obtaining items, which by the way is totally random if and what you get. Killing NPCs isn't exactly a rewarding experience either; they don’t give EXP, so grinding is out of the question.
Basically Wushu is a weird game in the sense that if you play it like an MMO, it is sort of not that fun, since nothing you do in an average MMO has a significant reward. The game is literally designed around the basic principle of go do random things, get rewards. Obviously, players will narrow down the most rewarding tasks for repetitive grinding, but it does a good job of offering tons of different activities to do – missions, story quests, PvP, instances, and crafting.
One of the interesting about Wushu is the advancement system, which takes some getting used to. It’s still a simple level based system at heart, but it obfuscates that by focusing on an EVE Online style skill based leveling system. Think if in EVE you could spend SP to not only improve skills, but also improve a skill that’s basically your level when equipped. VIP players can improve their skills while offline, while non-VIP players will only see advancement while playing.
Speaking of offline, one interestingly cool thing Wushu does is it lets your character stay logged in even when you’re logged out. Wherever you log out at will be the starting point and your character will do random tasks within the world (VIP players will receive a reward for doing so). This also plays into the do random stuff get rewarded system because you can undertake missions such as kidnapping offline players and selling them into labor (which if it happens to you has no negative repercussion other than your character moving across the map).
The combat in Wushu is, to me at least, rather lack luster. Why? Well first of all it’s pretty clunky. It feels like I’m playing Final Fantasy 3 US/6 Japan where you stand around and wait for different actions in sort of a mixed active combat / traditional combat system. The animations probably don’t help the chunkiness and the combat just doesn’t feel very fluid. However, it’s still neat and can be fun in PvP. It’s an active combat system in the sense you can actively block and do actions with your house, but it’s a traditional system in the sense you still attack through skills. I don’t believe there is an auto attack.
Oh and the combat also is sort of like um, hrm… Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne I guess? Although Nocturne is a battle of elemental superiority, ala Pokémon, I’m not sure of a game that’s similar off the top of my hand. Basically it works off a rock paper scissors style format where there are three types of attacks and each one is defeated by another attack and defeats another attack. It’s pretty cool, but it’s not very fluid as I previously mentioned.
Oh and the translation is pretty bad, although Snail Games is awesome and has been working hard on making that better. So props to them!
As mentioned earlier, the graphics remind me a lot of World of Warcraft because they’re sort of cartoony and sort of realistic. It’s pretty cool and some of the graphics are really pleasing, but I’m not overwhelmed by it. It’s no TERA, that’s for sure, and honestly after seeing so many MMOs, I can’t really say that there is anything really noteworthy about the graphics. This isn’t a Snail Games issue either – so no fault there, it’s just you know, the game.
To that extent, the UI is sort of bleh too. I mean, it’s functional, but it’s also got a lot of what I call forced texturing. Which is when you open a UI window and there is parchment paper in the background and it doesn’t look very clean. I think any graphical interface for a game should blend in and be smooth, avoiding the parchment paper as much as possible.
Oh, last comment, characters are super androgynous. That may or may not be a good thing, depending on your taste in characters.
The sound is so-so, I’m not blown away by it, and well it’s just. Alright? I guess? It’s not like you’re listening to nightcore retro country dinosaur dubstep, it’s just your average run of the mill score.