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Dragon Nest Review – Cuteness Abounds in Action-Filled MMORPG

Posted Mon, Oct 24, 2011 by jeffprime

Dragon Nest review

Eastern games continue to enter the North American market and Dragon Nest is one of the latest, not to mention probably one of the more entertaining, of this breed. This fantasy MMORPG focuses on a great combat system married with an anime-cute visual style. Dragon Nest was developed by Eyedentity Games and published by Nexon and is free-to-play. So if you want to look adorable, but be able to kick much monster ass, then read on!

Cautions

There is nothing objectionable in Dragon Nest. There is no gore or profanity and the violence is of the cartoon variety (no blood). However, there is some very light fanservice normally found in anime in some instances.

Gameplay

90GreatIn Dragon Nest, the player chooses one of four different classes to play. Sadly, these classes are gender locked and there is just bare bones customization to your avatar. You can get costume pieces to wear in the game or from the cash shop. As your character levels, you gain skill points used to purchase new skills for use in combat. When you hit level 15, you can choose to specialize in a sub-class of the class you are playing. These sub-classes are more specialized versions of the main class, each with their own particular focus.

Dragon Nest review
Open wide!!

The design of the game is your typical hub style MMO. You have several quest hubs (towns) from which you can enter various dungeons that are instanced. You clear a dungeon by killing all the monsters found therein, and, at the end, you fight a boss monster. Upon completion, you get to choose a random chest for extra loot. There are multiple difficulty settings for each dungeon, which results in better loot and more experience the more difficult the setting.

Combat is the central feature to Dragon Nest and it is a damn good system. It’s flexible, dynamic, and loads of fun. There is no targeting in Dragon Nest. You use your crosshairs to aim your attacks, so you really have total control of your avatar. To dodge, you hit the same direction key twice. You use your two mouse buttons for your base attacks and you use the number keys for combo attacks. The left mouse button is your normal attack whilst the right mouse button is your special attack. The special attacks vary depending upon the situation and the skills you learn as you level. As a warrior, my base special attack is a kick. Later on, I can gain a new special attack where I do a normal kick first and then follow it with a roundhouse kick. If an enemy is stunned, my special attack will kick them up into the air, along with any adjacent enemies. If I jump and do my special attack, then I do a cool drop kick. My absolute favorite is when an enemy is down on the ground. In that situation, my special attack delivers a crushing elbow slam. (Can you smell what the Jeffprime is cooking?)


Video showing combo attacks.

I cannot emphasize how fun the combat system in Dragon Nest is. Between your combo attacks, dodges, normal attacks, and various special attacks, there are a ton of options available to you during every fight. Combat is never stale and I just can’t get enough beating the crap out of monsters.

A refreshing aspect of the game is the humor. While it’s not overly slapstick, there are quite a bit of humorous touches to be found in the game. One quest that made me laugh was a goblin version of 300 where you had to defeat 300 goblins in a small area. Another was a spy saying that he hid in a basket to get some intel of some dark elves, not to ogle them. (Dark elves are psychotic hotties in the game.) While the tone is light-hearted, there are some serious moments, which are made all the more serious by the normal tone of the game.

The usual bells and whistles of MMOs are found here as well. There is an auction house, guilds, crafting, and storage so the average MMO player will feel right at home in Dragon Nest.

Dragon Nest review
Checking out a town.

While I am giving gameplay a high rating, I would have rated it higher but for a few caveats. First, the dungeons can get repetitive. There are times where I’ve entered a dungeon a couple of times and the next part of the quest chain, instead of going to a new dungeon, instead sends me back to the same dungeon. Fortunately, you should clear a dungeon anywhere from five to ten minutes, on the average.

The other quibble in the game is the cash shop and its impact upon crafting in gameplay. You can easily enchant items up to a certain level, but if you fail while you are enchanting an item, the item is destroyed. The only way to prevent such a thing is to purchase an item from the cash shop to prevent the item from being destroyed.

Graphics

82GoodThe graphics in Dragon Nest are very lush and colorful. The visuals in the game are of anime-style cuteness. Your character looks cute, the NPCs look cute, and the monsters look cute, mostly. If you can handle anime-style cuteness, then you’ll love the look of the game. If you don’t like this style, then you’ll probably go mad. Personally, the visual style of the game grew on me and I found it a refreshing change of pace from the normal, gritty fantasy games I play. The combat animations are well done and are a natural part of the combat system. I love how when an enemy is defeated, they try to rise, reach out their little hands, gasp, and then expire. Bloodthirsty and cute all at the same time.

Dragon Nest review
Watching the poochums at work at the forge.

Sound

77Pretty GoodThe sound in Dragon Nest is pretty good. There are plenty of action sounds in combat and the NPCs all have a catchphrase or two when you talk to them. The music is your standard fantasy MMO fare and does a fine job, but like in most games, you will be tuning out the background music as you’re stomping butt in the various dungeons. Overall, the sound helps keep you in the right mood as you play and doesn’t detract from the game experience.

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