Friday, February 11, 2011

Pandora Saga - First Impressions

Pandora Saga is the newest MMORPG from Atlus Online. It is currently in Closed Beta and will have a F2P with cash shop system. This game has a few things going for it, but at first glance does not manage to avoid the same pitfalls most MMORPG fall into.

There are 6 races to choose from when you start, and 4 classes. The races are similar to many other MMORPGs, sticking to the same formula. The models, textures and effects in the game are quite nice, but not groundbreaking by any means.
The first thing you'll notice when you start the beginner quest is how annoying the cinematics are. They serve no purpose but to slow down your gameplay. They are entirely unimpressive and obnoxious. You'll also notice the same quest formula; go see all the merchants, walk around the town, etc. At least you can use both click-to-move and WASD at the same time. After these boring quests, you'll receive a quest to go kill X amount of monsters, again following the same MMORPG formula.

A real negative to this game which is obvious right away is the use of booths over an auction house system. This forces players to stay logged onto the server to sell items, and forces buyers to search among hundreds of booths to find what they might want. The only positive point I can make about this is the fact that there is a preview of 4 items visible before you even open the booth, so players can display their best items for all to see. Another huge problem is the constant loading, it completely destroys the immersion. Just to travel around the city, there are 4 distinct areas, each with a loading screen between them!
The combat in this game is somewhat awkward, the best way to auto-attack is to hit the F key. If this does not suit you, you can go into the options and use a diferent hotkey. There is a stat system point for levelling up, which is far more fun than a generic auto-stat system. Quest objectives show up on your map as a blue flag which is useful. There is a quest search function, to find any quests you may not have accepted, but there is no level requirement indicated, so you may end up finding the quest giver and not even be able to accept the quest. The user interface is entirely moveable, which is a plus because the default positions don't work for me.

So far, mediocre experience but the game is not terrible, so I will continue to test it because there is PVP content at higher levels and I will not place my final verdict on this game until I can test it some more. More to come in a bit.

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