Here is a review for Atlantica Online from Cody 'Neramaar'Hargreaves of MMOHut.
Atlantica Online Review
By Cody ‘Neramaar’ Hargreaves
Although I find the phrase a little cliche, you would literally have to have been living under a rock on a distant planet to not know at least a little about the smash-hit MMO Atlantica Online by now. Combining turn based elements from older-style RPG games with traditional MMORPG features was a stroke of pure genius, one that will be remembered for years to come as the moment that redefined the standard for F2P MMO gaming.
As for you rock-dwelling space creatures out there that have yet to experience the beast that is Atlantica Online, read on to find out why the vast majority of the gaming community have been calling this one the best 2008 had to offer.
WAIT UP! I FORGOT MY HAIR GEL!
Like any great RPG, Atlantica Online has a deep and enjoyable story for players to discover as they journey through the world. You play as a descendant of the once great Atlantians – a proud and greedy race that met their end and disappeared forever some thousand years ago. Your task – to find the lost city of Atlantis, and fight your way across an ancient Earth as you do.
Of course, before embarking on such a journey, one must first decide on the finer things in life – such as which weapon they prefer to use, and how they like to style their hair. Weapons range everywhere from Swords and Axes to Pole arms, Cannons, Bows, Staffs and Guns – hair and face styles however give much less of a choice. To get it out of the way nice and early, this is the single one thing that annoys in Atlantica Online – as with the limited armor styles later in the game, it truly is hard to stand out from the pack. It’s not a big issue – just one that saddens me a little.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Having created your character and chosen your weapon of preference, you’ll soon be thrust head-first into your first – and last – quest chain. This begins with a short tutorial, and then quickly turns into the long and perilous journey that is Atlantica Online. During the tutorial you will discover a lot about Atlantica, and there’s a good chance that most of it will be very new. The main ones include the turn-based battle system, and the mercenary system – both of which are fantastic.
The turn-based battles are pretty straight forward – you take your turn, and then the enemy theirs – but it’s the mercenaries that make things really interesting. You see, turn-based battles are no fun when you only have one character, thus, in Atlantica you take control of up to nine. These characters take the form of mercenaries, and each have their own individual styles and skills. They also level up just like your main character, and using Ashen Crystals can ‘evolve’ into different fighters later in the game.
GOIN’ OLD SKOOL
During the tutorial you are able to choose your first 2 mercenaries, but must recruit the remaining six as you progress – with one additional slot opening each time your main character advances ten levels. As you can see, this allows for hundreds of possible battle combination, allowing you to truly appeal to your strategic nature. You may, for example, set up some long range mercenaries like Gunners or Archers at the back, with some of the more durable Swordsmen or Vikings up front. Or perhaps you would prefer to focus on healing and defense, and hire shamans and monks to do your bidding. The opportunities are near endless, and it makes the battle far more interesting.
The battles themselves play out much like those found in an older RPG game, such as the Final Fantasy Series. You and your opponent take turn in attacking one another until one of you has been defeated. In PvE, you must kill all enemies to win, although in PvP, the battle ends when the main character falls. For the most part, each turn is time limited to 30 seconds – making the combat both faced-paced, and highly strategic.
Another interesting feature – one that caused a great deal of controversy with it’s implementation back in the closed beta – is the stamina system, by which one point of stamina is consumed per battle, with 120 stamina available per day. It’s a great way to pace yourself when playing, but it can also be viewed as a severe limitation to some players, as once your stamina is depleted – your experience and loot rates drops so significantly that it’s barely worth playing until it resets.
Upon completing the tutorial you will be flung headfirst into a world that is noticeably as vast as it is beautiful. Not only does everything both look and sound amazing, but the world that you’ll be exploring is none other than the glorious planet Earth – albeit a few hundred thousand years ago. While there is definitely a predominant fantasy setting throughout, you’ll be visiting places from all over the globe – everywhere from the Taj Mahal to Dracula’s Castle and Rome to New York City. While some of the places are simply towns, others are dangerous dungeons waiting to be explored.
Inside towns players have a wealth of options at their disposal – although for the most part the only place you’ll be visiting is the player driven marketplace to purchase ingredients for crafting. The noticeable lack of NPC’s in towns can make them feel lifeless, but the trade off is that the entire game – every single item – is player controlled. Need a potion? Then you’ll either need to make it, or buy it from a player; and the same goes with absolutely everything else too.
RULE THE NATION
To make things even more interesting, towns can also be claimed by guilds – that then reap the tax-based rewards of the sales made in the town. Warring clans can fight for control of the cities, and can even take control of entire regions to from a nation. While I won’t go into to much detail here – believe me when I say that there is a lot of ground to cover in the higher levels of the game.
The rest of Atlantica is up to you to discover – but you’ll be happy to know there are many other things to keep you entertained while you do. PvP makes up a large potion of the game, and can be experienced by participating in duels at the Colosseum in Rome, dueling other players that agree, or simply PKing those that don’t. The handy auto-run feature also helps to make Atlantica a breeze to play – as with only one real quest chain to follow, and the ability to auto-run to the next part automatically – you’ll rarely get lost, or need to grind enemies to level up either.
Final Verdict: Excellent
Put simply, Atlantica Online is the proverbial cream of the crop in free to play gaming, and will remain that way for a long time to come. With its gorgeous graphics, compelling and innovative gameplay, and unforgettable crafting and PvP systems, Atlantica Online is a game that offers something for everyone, and is more than worth the time of any MMORPG fan.
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