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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution

Published By: Nexon America
Developed By: Nexon America
Genre: Persistant Online RPG
Players: 1-??
Rated: M (Mature)
Screenshots: Link
Written By: Anthony Cara

October 11, 2010 - Vindictus = Good; Hackshield+Nvidia = BAD. Brilliant visual effects, dynamic battles, and…free? With Vindictus, Nexon completely revolutionizes a genre and ups the ante for the Free-to-Play market. The only downside of course, is Hackshield. In preparing for this preview, I clashed heads a few times with Nexon support and ended at the result “Sorry buddy, there is nothing we can do.” Anyone who is familiar with Hackshield knows that it stops just as many fair and honest users as it does hackers. If it doesn’t like you anti-virus, malware protection, video card, or the color of your shoes it can completely shut you out and make you cry!

My issue is that most new gaming laptops with Nvidia cards use an unfortunate “Optimus” technology that provides users with the option of running integrated or high end graphics. Running high end graphics I got to enjoy a beautiful opening sequence and tutorial battle before Hackshield decided I was bad for the community and put the kibosh to my questing activities. I submitted several tickets to support and each time they gave me a silly solution that wasted time and then they closed the ticket forcing me to start up a new one. Finally, they admitted they knew what the problem was all along and there was nothing they could do about it.

Determined to give the game a fair chance I had to play at bare minimum settings on my integrated chipset. I find it rather silly that Nexon’s first graphically demanding game features a Hackshield that shuts out HIGH END GRAPHICS CARDS. Still, I do understand that Nexon is not responsible for the incompetence of Nvidia or Hackshield. So at a brilliant 10 frames per second, I got to enjoy one of the most enjoyable action MMOs ever crafted.

The game is best described as a cross between Phantasy Star Online and Dungeon Fighter Online. There is an over-arching story to the game with a typical fantasy setting. The god’s are restless (if you pardon the cliché) and the once peaceful town guardian now runs amok. In the tutorial you are forced to slay this revered beast, and this is only the beginning of a dark age of doom and death for the good people of Tieve. Luckily, there are heroes like you to help fight the darkness.

In the BETA you could be a 2-handed- damage dealer or a balanced sword and shield wielder. I chose for balance as I enjoy the blocking when I am too sluggish to dodge. The battles feel strangely familiar from my time in the Phantasy Star Online universe. There is a hack and slash element and some variety with light and have strike combos. My little sword-and-shield-er had a delightful little kick combo that dealt some massive damage. I don’t think there was a single boss fight that didn’t end with me dramatically slow motion kicking a poor beast into oblivion. The brief instance-like missions really remind me of Dungeon Fighter Online. It’s essentially fast paced hack-and-slash action with quick quests and big rewards. The addictive nature of these rewards makes you want to keep on questing. Along the way you level up and get better gear along the way. The only downside I’ve seen so far (and this is hardly fair since it’s only a beta test) is that the first several missions were all in the exact same environment. I’m positive this will not be the case in the final version of the game, but I felt I should mention the apparent lack of variety.

In addition to this the game also features such MMORPG standards as an in-game auction house (well technically marketplace) and item crafting. Throughout your missions you gather various rare items and materials that will aid you in these activities. The game also features a very hand and easy to use social system that helps manage friends and build parties. Before you depart for a quest you can check the board by the docks to see if anyone else is about to do the same. If not, you can put up your own notice and wait for more to join. If you feel like soloing, you can simply head right out and enjoy! Like similar games, going through these quests eventually opens up further plot points in the main story and the intrigue thickens. Unfortunately, most MMO games (present company included though I hate to admit it) skip any and all NPC text as they speed through and rely on mini-maps and quest trackers to get around. At least for Vindictus, a nice story is there should you choose to pay attention!

This game is truly fantastic, and I can’t wait to be able to play it at max settings once again. I hope Hackshield is either fixed or abandoned in favor of one of the many newer and more efficient alternative solutions to game-breaking ne’ re do-wells.

Interactive and destructible environments, a brand new “Brutal” physics engine, and fun fast-paced action- oriented game play?!? Alright free to play online games, the bar of quality has been raised.

Your move.

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