This morning in Taipei at the Gamania Game Show the US press group sat
down for some hands-on time with Gamania's upcoming MMOG, Tiara Concerto.
From watching the brief trailer of the game, I became immediately
interested. The game promised a deeply moving musical soundscape in
which to play an action-combat-based RPG. I was quite curious to see if
the team was able to victoriously integrate the powerful soundtrack
with engaging combat.
Tiara Concerto has set the stage for what could potentially be one of the most emotion-evoking gaming experiences we've seen in the MMO field. The characters move in motion to the continuous musical score and music itself empowers players to perform magical attacks and combos.
First showed at the Tokyo Game Show last year, and met with much interest, Tiara Concerto has set the stage for what could potentially be one of the most emotion-evoking gaming experiences we've seen in the MMO field. The characters move in motion to the continuous musical score and music itself empowers players to perform magical attacks and combos.
For my play session I played through the demo first as a Ranger class and then a second time through as a Composer. Between the two classes I felt more of an affinity with the Ranger and I was a little disappointed that I didn't "feel the magic" of the Composer.
The Ranger had several gun attacks, including a powered up sniper shot, a thrown bomb, and a couple of ranged attacks that doubled as dodges. It was a fast-paced class that felt very much like a dance, which Gamania claims to be one of the main intentions of the game. Unfortunately the volume on the PC was a little low and the room had a lot of ambient noise so I wasn't able to fully enjoy the "dance" but even still, after a bit of practice, I found I was able to weave comfortably between the attacks and almost felt my fingers dancing across the keyboard to perform the combos. It was a rewarding experience overall.
Class preferences aside it was difficult not to enjoy the demo. The play session was a scripted event in which the airship transporting the player came under attack by a war-like dog race. The goal was to defeat the invaders, board their ship, and disable their cannons. During the mission we also had to activate the ship's cooling systems and rescue some prisoners. Despite the often-awkward phrasing, the goals were set quite clearly and were easy to follow. The instance itself presented some puzzle-solving in the way of activating the cooling systems. Dodging steam vents and enabling the cooling valves became more challenging as the enemies would run back into the room and turn off the valves if you didn't act fast enough. This, too, was much easier to do the first time as I was in a group, whereas trying to solo it the second run-through made it much more challenging.
Final Fantasy and Ratchet & Clank. The experience was only enriched by the anime-style characters and rich musical score (as quiet as it was).
Once again we wrap things up here with the question of "how will the game translate to a North American audience?"
I think this game has a chance, maybe even more so than the previously viewed Langrisser Schwarz. It may not appeal to a massive core MMO audience but the sheer beauty and action of the game is surely to capture the interest of some gamers in our little corner of the world. Best of all, the game doesn't feel like a game trying to be something that it's not. Often with exports the games feel a bit contrived, trying to force-fit itself into some sort of bastardized hybrid of a game in attempt to appeal to a wider range of regions. That's not the case with Tiara Concerto. It embraces its style and does a wonderful job of maintaining its theme. Sure, the English needs a bit of work before it gets shipped to North America, but apart from that, I believe the game will be most enjoyed by celebrating what it really is: a beautifully expressed magical, musical MMO.