Continuing the JRPG-MMO theme this week, the Captain sets course for the Aura Kingdom! Brace for rough weather mates, this was a short and violent ride…
Where do I even start on this shipwreck? It was just so, so bad… nauseatingly so. And I’m being literal there–the character creation process comes well before you can get to a menu to adjust your screen settings, no matter how off they are. If any of the crew is still green, lean over the leeward side of the ship before we continue.
Game Play Pro Tip: If you get stuck with an unwatchable setting, best bail on the chargen and re-setup the graphics settings in the game launcher before continuing.
Aura Kingdom is self-described “causal” rpg, something for those who like their anime girls and mmorpgs but don’t want to work too hard at the whole questing and leveling thing. It’s being produced by some Taiwanese code-house and distributed by the German Aeria Games Europe GmbH. The whole thing screams “free-to-play, but pay-to-win” with a wafting odor of sweatshop game development.
Admittedly, it has the JRPG look down perfectly. Yanna hasn’t looked this kawaii since we took a spin through Wildstar.
Annnndddd… that’s it. The only thing this game has going for it is the anime look.
It took several tries to get a name to be accepted. No combination of Yanna Tarassi, yannatarassi, Yannatarasi, or Yanna Tarasi were accepted. All it gave me was a cryptic “Some characters are not allowable” message. I finally got Yannat passed and entered the game, only to see this:
I eventually deduced that this was a flash-forward scene, with a ton of game tutorials and quests being thrown at you at once. I poked for awhile, following the simultaneously poorly-written and obnoxiously flashing directions to get to a point where it didn’t feel like a like 1990’s website was being shoved into my face.
Ignore the blessing or massacre or whatever that is happening behind me, they never explained really anything of what was happening in this scene. It eventually fell into a Diablo 2 rhythm of “run to the biggest demon and thump it” routine, leading up to the NPCs (the ones you’re told that you care about) dying while attempting to thump a Big Bad (that they tell you is both Big and Bad). Now it’s your turn to try to thump it with some new skill you suddenly learned and were not told how to use. Whatever, this is when we just fall back to our classic Star Wars Galaxies motto:
“If it’s Red, It’s Dead.”
After smashing the Big Bad (yawn) and him revealing that the thing you smashed was just an illusion (double yawn), we eventually find out that the entire level Was All Just A Dream (triple yawn) before getting dumped in Starting Village. Finally. At least the game made a bit more sense there.
It turned into your basic series of Fetchy/Killy quests then, all of which were so bogged down in “Enhancements” you could buy (for real world $) that it was honestly difficult to follow what you should be doing.
Which leads me to the mortal sins this game has committed. For one, it was too damn easy. They literally take over your screen to highlight the place where you click to Auto-run to the quest to complete it.
Worse, it would run you not just to any questgiver, but the thing they want you to fetch as well. Need to kill a critter or 10 instead? Just look near it and press an attack key, you’ll happily skip right over to it and start whacking. You barely need to pay attention to the game, that is a bit too casual of an mmorpg for me.
Still having trouble following the quests the locals give you? No need to worry, there’s no dialogue tree so all of your potential answers are delivered to the NPC for you automatically. I hope you like playing a Lawful Good Paladin. Because that’s what you’re playing weather you like it or not.
Oh, and one more thing. Voice acting: Nope. Character emoting: Nope. Emotional Music: Nope. None of that. Mister Knight is Sad, because he told you he is Sad, it said so on the Text Box Screen. /facepalm
This part, right here:
I don’t know how desperate you’d have to be to waste time on this game, but it would be right up there with selling your kidneys for meth. Do yourself a favor and go play Guild Wars 2, or Lord of the Rings Online, or RIFTS, or even that Neverwinter MMORPG. They’re all free-to-play or nearly so. Anything but this, please.
Until next time, I wish you clear skies and fair sailing. The Captain is going to find a sufficient amount of rum to clear the memory of this game from his log books.