For a “review,” this is as good as it gets. I’ll have my caveat first. I don’t really care about Vindictus. I am not vested in the game. If devcat became a sentient monster-machine and in a pyrrhic victory destroyed Nexon, Maple Story, and Vindictus, I’d pour a little off the top and move on. I mean, I named my character “Shingshing” for Eru’s sake. So take my ramblings for what they are worth.
Vindictus starts out as a fantastic game. I step in to this ridiculous dialogue starting out the tutorial with my nameless, faceless soldier, and then I find myself carrying a princess-girl-person while kicking gnolls in the face. I end up fighting a bus-sized tarantula on top of a crumbling bell tower while ballista bolts rain down on the just and unjust a like. Then I feel bad for the dead tarantula in an empathetic Ol’ Yeller kind-of-way.
Then it gets a little bit away from fantastic with that weird mirror world Korean MMO feeling. It’s not that things are designed wrong per se; it’s just they aren’t comfortable. Like how equipped items stay in the inventory with a helpful “E” over the icon instead of going into the equipment slot. Or, the very JRPG-like quest dialogues. Or, how obtuse it feels to trade and craft things by staring at all my icons. Or, how pigs are the auctioneers. Okay, that last one is pretty cool, but the whole thing takes some getting used to if the less green grass was World of Warcraft or another “Western” MMO.
Then it gets a heavy dose of arcade advancement MMO-juice. Completing a simple quest is a light dance symphony across the computer screen. Skills are built up by spending acquired AP. Battles (i.e., instances or missions) are chosen from a menu with variables such as a bonus challenge Oath, party size, or difficulty setting. Go in to the mission and kick things, bash them against a wall, slash them with combos, donkey kick them, throw spears through them, or pick up a piece of a newly destroyed pillar and crush the mob with a nice little “overkill” sign flashing for effect. Finally, when a boss is beaten the screen erupts in a multi-camera freeze frame of the killing blow. The shinies and sparklies are so great in that single moment, you’ll be lucky to see your character’s face.
This is about the extent of it for me. I pick a mission. Decide whether I want people to join. Kill things dead. Advance skills. Juggle the inventory. And, go back in. Round trip is less than 15 minutes on the beginning missions.
This is exactly what I needed while I wait for the 2011 crop of MMOs: a game that requires very little mental, financial, or temporal investment. I believe there is plenty of depth there for those that want to go that route. I am pretty sure I will rarely, if ever, play on a harder difficulty, but kudos to those that have. It is possible that as I progress I will find reasons to care, but for now it is pure entertainment. That’s something I haven’t felt in an MMO in a long time because so many MMOs still feel like work.
Perhaps the shine of this new MMO will wear off. Maybe I am still to early in to feel or see the work on the horizon. Still, it is perfect for now.
welcome to paradise