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Game Review: NosTale

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Game Review: NosTale

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Published by Servex Co., Ltd. Copyright 2008 Entwell Co., Ltd.
Note that this is a review of the Global version of NosTale.
Score 3/5

Introduction

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A while ago I found this game by chance, and I usually give many of these silly Korean MMORPGs a try. After signing up, downloading and installing the game (it's another free with cash shop MMORPG) I was ready to go! ... ... Well it sure looked cute at least. This game just feels weird, it reminds me of a soft version of the original Grandia where the environment is 3D but everyone's sprites. And just because an MMORPG has that click-to-attack standardized system doesn't mean it won't be mediocre... or will it?

Gameplay

When you first make a character you can decide between... the hair and gender of your character. Everyone looking like they were manufactured from the same factory aside, you are greeted by a overly happy animal-ear character who's name I swore changed in the dialog, but it's supposed to sound something like Eril Counter.

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Eril Counter?

At least the NPCs talk English well enough so that you could follow the tutorial, and this game actually did a tutorial just right. I'm tired of playing a new MMORPG and seeing a spacecraft's worth of buttons and gauges on the screen with an NPC that says 3 things in Engrish that was supposed to be the "tutorial". You'll still get that lost child feeling, but at least a giant red arrow above your head points somewhere when you're supposed to go somewhere in NosTale (and the NPCs are real friendly).

Fighting in this game started out kind of bland, actually. I click and watched as I beat the 1s and 0s out of chickens and sheep with a bat, but shortly after the first level I was told to read a guide about pets. Apparently, you can capture some enemies that are low on HP and raise them to fight with you. It's a cheap Pokemon style trick to add to a game but it actually makes it kind of fun, and you can move and talk as your pet just like any playable character. I just wish the pictures in the tutorial weren't still in Korean...

Soon after that you enter a spooky crystal thingy, some subspace of some kind, to a lobby that leads to a dungeon instance.

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"We will fight again in Adok!" ~Nitros

You're greeted to a random assortment of levers, chests, traps, time limits, bosses, NPC soldiers that shout stuff and sometimes help you out, groovy red backgrounds and often tremors. What's fun about this is the arcade feel it all has since it's a rush through the dungeon MMORPG style and the highest score and the holder is recorded in the mission menu. However, all of these I've been through were the same square shape with the groovy red backgrounds... Sort of reminds me of those bizarre battles against Nitros in Bomberman Hero. You'll be on your way to dish out the hurt on evil farm animals to Korean game metal music.

The armor/weapon customization system is ridiculous. There's so many things you can do to your equipment and they're introduced to you one after another that it makes my head feel funny. All the numbers can give a headache and it's sort of difficult to understand exactly how you can use any of it to your advantage. I didn't like how I went on so many different quests to go through all of the armor options, it's nice to be able to craft custom equipment but this was a little too much for me! Perhaps if you really felt like sitting there and thought about it, you could do something but there's games with good armor crafting systems that aren't so confusing.

You get skills and abilities that raise your stats from the shop and make them stronger using support skills, which is actually sort of unique because you control how your attack skills attack and so on. It's not that difficult and the NPC does a good job of explaining, despite the still-in-Korean pictures that go with the in-game help guide. Then at a specific level you can go ahead and choose from 4 standard classes, these classes are nothing new to the world of MMORPGs and they branch out when you want to advance to a better class later.

Overall this is actually a pretty mediocre MMORPG, there are a few new things here and there. It's still somewhat fun to play but there's better free cute MMORPGs like this out there. Remember, you can filter my project log to show only Game Reviews for a full list of every game I stumble across and review.

Graphics and Sound

Like I said, the graphics remind me much of Grandia where you're all sprites in a 3D map. Everything is smooth, despite the apparent lack of animation frames. There's some attacks that look like they really hurt, which is actually something missing from many of these games. They sure hired a good artist to draw all the portraits of the characters (in the dialog, a upper half body picture of the character is shown). The sounds are alright, the music is also alright but you'll get tired of the music in almost every MMORPG unless it was designed to be ambient and environmental (where it's soft music that sort of feels like it makes up the background). There isn't a flaw in the presentation of the game and I sort of like it, actually.

Story

I'm actually not really sure what was going on the whole time, but apparently there is some story and an opening sequence about 'Kovolts'... You know, creatures that look much like- well I don't know- Kobolds!? You have got to love phonetic Korean 'dlanslashions'^^ Well they get angry and stuff and there's evil enemies coming through subspace or something like that. But honestly, do you need a reason to kill stuff in any game? All you need to know is what are the things you have to kill, and wheres the thing that you use to kill them. Being an MMORPG means you find other people who want to kill stuff with things and basically that's all that matters.

Servers and Community

It isn't very easy to find friends in the game as there isn't anything that groups up people automatically. You'll have to set out and talk to people in towns and on the over world to make friends in this game. There aren't any hackers and the GMs can hold a presence since the community is still somewhat small to enforce the rules. If this game ever takes off, expect this to change. When attacking an enemy, sometimes this lag occurs and it becomes difficult to change your targets and move around to fight your opponent, but generally the game runs quite smoothly.

Conclusion

NosTale is the kind of game to amuse yourself in what little time you have after school and work. "You'll face fun times and tough challenges" (hehe) but don't be disappointed by anything. It's a game worth a short, but it doesn't feel like a game that can really make you serious about reaching the level cap or anything. I highly recommend you bring some of your dot comrades with you to start the game with so you have some people to play with from the get go and laugh at how silly Eril Counter's holding paws up and dancing is on the map or at the fact you're beating the stuffing out of helpless wildlife.

Click here to start playing, if you want.

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September 2014

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