Aika Online Review: Gun-Kata Women? I'm In!
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Aika Online is an action-packed MMORPG famous for its nonstop PVP experience. The game has been blessed with enthusiastic reviews, all praising its supposed quality of gameplay. After seeing tons of awards bestowed upon it during the 2009 Korean Game Awards, I couldn't help but be drawn to its fame and glory. It is one of the most famous MMORPGS in Korea today, so I'm expecting no less from the famous Aika Online. Again, the game is praised for its PVP features such as its astonishing 1000 vs 1000 RVR (that's a lot of players!). This means that you will always have people to kill regardless of how bad your virtual bloodlust is. The game is also epically stylish combat-wise, meaning it's not your average everyday MMO that features a single slash or attack animation per character. Will 2009's Best Game of The Show live up to our expectations? *logs in*
Smexist Galore: Is Healing Really For The Women?
There are six classes in the game, each with their own unique playstyle and GENDER (that's right! Genderlocking!). Anyway, the classes are separated via archetype, meaning there are two melee characters (Paladin and Warrior), two long ranged ones (Dual Gunners and Rifleman), and two magic users (Warlock and Cleric). Yes, it's amazing how both genders play differently from one another, but that's not really the thing here (talk about sexists). Aside from the class option, you are given a small selection of premade faces and hairstyles to choose from. The graphics are solid, that much I can assure you, but it always pays to look different from everyone. Anyway, if you're into stylish suits, there's no doubt that this game will satisfy your lust for fashion as the characters do look exquisite in every way. There's definitely enough fanservice pretty boys and underboobs to keep you company all the way. I guess the sad part is that the armor sets will be the only ones that will differentiate you from each other.
What's Next? Flying Unicorns?
After enduring a series of grindfests, you'll be prompted to get your first Pran. Prans are technically magical loli girls who sort of acts like the pets in the game; however, unlike the player characters, these cute little girls actually evolve and grow up depending on how you play your cards (which will be further discussed). Much like pets, Prans can learn combat spells which can aid you well in battle. Since you're bound to take on a wave of monsters soon, it'd be wise to strengthen your Pran as early as possible. Perhaps the best thing about Prans is how you can customize them to complement your playstyle. Whether you want a damaging buffer or a healing little dodger, you'll find that there's enough Prans to go around. Prans start out as freaky long-legged Tinkerbell ripoffs but will eventually take on a scrumptious humanoid anime girl form after a period of time. Her form changes depending on how you treat her, so make sure you toughen her up if you're looking to acquire a tough cookie.
Talk To Me
One additional factor that makes this game a unique experience for everyone is the quest dialogue. Unlike other games that force you to read a big block of quest text before letting you get a piece of the action, Aika Online gives players the ability to respond through a series of premade replies much similar to that of single-player games. This system is also essential for your Prans' growth as most of the changes that are bound to occur greatly relies on how you treat her. It's actually a great way of strengthening the bond between a player and his pet; too bad other games don't give you this much interaction.
TO THE RIGHT! TO THE LEFT!
And now on to the nitty gritty!What makes Aika Online TRULY special is its PVP system. If you're looking for an all out epic war, then Aika Online is the game for you. Aside from the petty duels, the game sports a series of battlegrounds, all ranging from 100 vs 100 to 1000 vs 1000. Imagine that! I enjoy wars that match the clashing population of RF Online's Chip Wars and World of Warcraft's Battle for Wintergrasp, but this is ridiculous (in a good sense)! Aside from the epic battlegrounds, players can also participate in nation wars which, as the name states, is a giant bloodfest between all five nations. There's also my favorite which is the Castle Siege, where guilds team up with other guilds to overthrow the current rulers of the castle. Players can earn bonuses and a lot of useful stuff if ever they are successful, so be sure to participate when able. When it comes to PVP, Aika's player-to-player goodness beats a lot of MMOs by a mile. I can't seem to emphasize that further, but you get the idea.
The two meanings of 'flashy graphics'
The graphics are actually pretty flashy if you were to ask me. The characters look pretty crisp which allows players to admire the stunning features of their clothes... as well as other body parts :3. The background is actually pretty good but it could still use a bit of tweaking as most of the terrain lacks texture and depth. Though the idea of aesthetics doesn't really affect the gameplay, it wouldn't hurt to make the eye-candy experience a bit more extravagant. The framerate is more than acceptable resulting in stunning character movements especially when your character is beating the living crap out of a single enemy. The vibrant lighting effects are amazing in my opinion and greatly complements the whole action-packed feel. I don't know if it's just me, but floating texts/numbers during combat for me is an additional factor when it comes to MMO graphics. It's always great to see how hard you hit through a series of floating red numbers. Now if my claim is true, then I would have to commend Aika Online for having one of the most satisfying crunch numbers in MMO history (I like to exaggerate but it's also pretty darn good).
I think it's pretty obvious how impressed I am with the game. Awesome PVP system, questing, loli fairies, what more could you ask for? As far as features are concerned, Aika Online definitely deserved being Korea Game Awards 2009's game of the show. You see, these are the type of games that prevent me from commiting myself to playing various PAY TO PLAY games. It's free, it's good, and most of all, it's really damn good!
The character customization phase could use a bit of gender tweaking. It would definitely be awesome to play as a male dual gunner, or better yet, a female rifleman (or riflewoman). Anyway, if you're looking for an MMO for keeps---register, download, and play!
-Prans are damn cute (when they mature *cough cough)
-Character customization lacks features
-Graphics could use a bit of tweaking