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Vindictus Unveiled – A Ten Ton Hammer Review

Updated Thu, Dec 30, 2010 by Medawky

Vindictus

The second installment of the Celtic mythology fueled world of Mabinogi; Vindictus, elevates the series with a fresh new look and combat style rarely seen in an MMOG. Nexon has spared little expense in developing this title and bringing it to market, with its development being rumored to have started before Mabinogi had even launched. With many elements reminiscent of multiplayer co-op games and first person adventure titles, does Vindictus have what it takes to make it in the often unforgiving MMOG market? Join us as we take a closer look at this innovative new title. 

Cautions

Vindictus is an MMOG first and foremost so the main caution is the standard “gameplay elements may change over time”, but other than simulated violence and a virtual breast enhancement slider at character creation – Vindictus has no major cautions.

Gameplay

87Very GoodVindictus was built using the Source engine which allowed the developers to create a very lush and beautiful world that players are free to explore, and destroy. Many elements of the game world can be hacked and slashed – and used to the player’s advantage. While this opens up a whole world of fun possibilities, it also gives the game a feel that is very reminiscent of multiplayer co-op dungeon games such as the Diablo series.  The interactive environment isn’t the only parallel to the isometric dungeon crawlers either: Combat is primarily a mouse driven two button affair and the non-combat game world is laid out as a town square with internal interactions done in 2D.

evie Character creation is a mixed affair as there are an amazing number of aesthetic customizations that one can make to their avatar, but very few classes to choose to customize. Characters are known by their hero name instead of a class name or archetype and they are gender locked.  My personal favorite so far has been the magic wielding Evie, a buxom lass who speaks demurely but carries a rather large scythe.

Once you have settled on your hero type and have tinkered with their appearance (which may take up a good chunk of time) you will be introduced to the world with a cinematic fueled introduction that leaves most tutorials to shame.

Your fledgling hero is accompanying a group of soldiers who have been called upon to stop a rather large and angry spider that is attempting to destroy the town. Complicating matters is the fact that this spider isn’t some random beast, but the town’s guardian spirit who has inexplicably gone rogue – much like Sarah Palin, this fearsome white beast with multiple eyes can’t seem to be reasoned with.  Once you have dealt with this threat to national security, its back to town to rest up and become acquainted with the rest of the world.

Vindictus

Gameplay is very linear as you are shunted through the town, meeting the principal characters and becoming immersed in the story. You are eventually allowed to branch out into several side quest and tangents, but with the central story line always driving the bulk of the dialogue. Combat here is also strikingly similar to Diablo-esque games, with left click and right click providing the main attacks and small hotbar of usable spells, abilities and items to help enhance your prowess.

Like many popular South Korean games the experience rates are a bit on the slow side and there is some repetition inherent in the game, but unlike most of those open world games where mob grinding is a tedious affair - Vindictus has some fun facets to lessen the drudgery. Check out the multiplayer section of the review for more on that.

Graphics

95OutstandingThe Source engine, the same one that powered Half Life 2, gives the 3D portions of the game both an exceptional look and a unique feel for an MMOG. Much like other games using this engine, Vindictus allows players to interact with many environmental elements. Examples include planks of wood that can be picked up and used as clubs, urns and stones that can be used as projectiles and support beams and roping that need to be bashed to gain entrance to new areas of the map.

Vindictus

Even the 2D areas of the game look alive and the overall style of the two environments blends nicely together. The world is styled in a medieval theme that is well done, with good continuity and lots of nice touches to help tie the player to the environment.  Fans of Mabinogi will notice a definite departure in artistic style from the two games, with only the common thread of the Celtic lore to tie things together

Sound

95OutstandingTo me sound isn’t an area that can make or break an MMOG like it can a traditional game, there are just too many other important elements at play and you always have the option of turning it off.  That being said, sound can still play a huge factor when it is done properly.  The sound in Vindictus is very well done with music, speech and environmental noises all adding a nice flavor. Vindictus manages to accomplish what most import free-to-plays fail to do, and that is to have dialogue that sounds good and makes sense. Kudos to Nexon and DevCat for realizing that the devil is in the details and that these little nuances are what can really elevate a title.

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