I, and just about everybody who wanted one, received a beta key for the Vindictus NA beta event going on until early October (the game is live in Korea). I also laughably bought Minecraft on Friday mere moments before the servers crashed due to patch day overload. Of course then Minecraft became a free-to-play weekend, but I am happy to support the indie dev making the game. It was a very balanced gaming weekend filled with creating cliffside overlooks and aquaducts in Minecraft and destroying just about everything in free-to-play Vindictus.
And when I say “just about everything,” I mean it. Vindictus is built on the Source engine from Half-Life 2 et al. fame, and the destructability truly shines through the games physics engine. Bosses break down pillars with abandon, pottery becomes pinatas, and there is something really gratifying about picking up a 4×4 wood beam and bashing it across multiple enemies. You see, “just about everything” also applies to turning all of the above in to temporary weapons. The Source engine also brings some really nice graphics, and I’ve been hearing it looks pretty good on older computers.
The gameplay of Vindictus is very action oriented. Skills are more akin to something out of a God of War button combination than the usual skill bar set up found in most MMOs. The two mouse buttons give a light attack and a heavy attack respectively, and by pressing the light attack one to four times followed by the heavy attack, a combo will ensue. Then there are throw, kick, rush, sprint, etc. buttons thrown in for a little more combat variety. The combat is really intense, and often times I found myself facing four enemies ready to be ginsu’d by my double-blades.
There is unfortunately still some discussion on whether this game is an MMO. From a standard… uhh.. standpoint it already loses points in that direction because it plays like an bash-em-up action game instead of the fight-a-single-enemy, skill rotation tacticality of World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings Online. For the world itself it feels mostly like Guild Wars or Dungeons and Dragons Online. There is a single town instance (with multiple districts ala Guild Wars) with all the shops and quest givers, which leads to the docks. At the docks, players are given a menu of options to launch a boat to one of the dungeon instances. Each dungeon, such as Perilous Ruins, will have a handful of Battles. Battles change the formula of the dungeon with length, enemy makeup, difficulty, and most notably bosses as the variables. There are also various modes of difficulty for each Battle, similar to Dungeons and Dragons Online’s difficulty settings.
Also at the dungeon menu screen, party options are available. Players can choose to attack a Battle solo, make the instance private to friends, or allow anybody to join before the boat launches to the dungeon. If a boat is open to anybody there are a plethora of quick join buttons to find a specific Battle and people waiting for a party. My experience with joining random groups has been hit or miss, but not because of the players themselves. When I joined my own game I got a full connection, but when I joined a large party the group leader would have a full connection while I and the two others would have minimal, laggy connections.
Apart from the network issues, I have a few other gripes. The biggest is that the game thinks I am cheating, and boots me thusly, when I use the Steam overlay. They are using a Valve engine, and then they have this issue? Hopefully it gets fixed pronto. The other gripe I have is the low amount of content. There are only two classes (soon to be three out of five) available, and only two dungeons (each with multiple Battles). It seems pretty low.
However, the game is free-to-play, and I think most players wanting a action-oriented MMO aside to take a break from some of the slower paced “main” MMOs will enjoy Vindictus. I hope Nexon is going to be adding more dungeons at a good pace because this game has a ton of potential to be a mainstay in my stable of MMOs. Now just let me add it to Steam.
mouths open in silent screams