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
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!
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
In 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.
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
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
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
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.
The 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.
The 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.