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Friday, June 10, 2011

Strike While the Aion is Hot?

I have been playing Titan Quest on the Personal Computer over the last couple of days because I have that craving to play some massively multiplayer online role playing action again, in which of course something that Titan Quest just cannot hope to satiate. In my search for a quick fix, I found out that Aion by NCsoft, a fantasy MMO that was released in late 2009, now offers a 10 day free trial so I went ahead and downloaded the game.

Because you need to stab monsters with the biggest sword you can find.

This game was hailed as the best looking MMO when it was first released and I was definitely impressed by the robust character customization. You can even customize the character's size so it's possible to create little children with big heads in the game and I did just that for my first character although I made the mistake of making the head proportionate to the size of the body so she ended up looking particularly strange. Soon after, I deleted that character especially after seeing the running animation: When you have a small character, he or she would move at the same speed as large players so your character would move his or her feet quickly and run around like little rats. Urgh, it was not a pretty sight. So I made a new character with an adult body but that really didn't help with the foreboding cheap "free to play" MMO feel of the game. The writing is just bad and the throw-away beginner quests are just so uninspiring becausethey really don't do anything to introduce the lore of the game to the player. Perhaps I have been spoiled by the absolutely epic introductory level from Rift. The game also lacks racal variety. There is pretty much just one race divided by 2 factions: the "evil" Asmodians and the "good" Elyseans" and they both look like humans unless of course you distort your character's body so much then he or she could look like living dolls or aliens. The combat is at least fast paced but your character yells out things with each strike of your weapon and each cast of your spell. These voices cannot be muted so during a drawn-out fight, it may sound like you are constantly torturing something that may or may not be human in your house.

Your character's battle-cry is so loud that the enemies should be running away in fear.

Now let's go back to the graphics. This game is not the most beautiful MMO at the moment and even back in 2009, the generic Korean art style and the uneven color scheme just cannot compete with something as stylish as World of Warcraft. The character models  are detailed for sure but the shading on them sometimes look a bit flat. I am able to run the game with all the settings maxed out on my PC and for the most part, the game runs smoothly. Sometimes, there are some frame rate chugs while I am just running around the game world with nothing happening around me.

There are 4 classes in all and each class offers two role types.

Overall, it is safe to say that I am disappointed with Aion. I still have 9 days to go with the free trial though so before I delete this game, I will make sure to jump back on it to continue my adventure. Who knows, I may have a change of heart but it is clear however that if I want to go back into a MMO at the moment, Rift or WoW are definitely the superior options.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 2 out of 5

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