Aurora Blade Review: Labels R' Us
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
I've had a love-hate relationship with browser games lately. There were times that I simply got tired from clicking through text box after text box just to do one move. My utter disdain for browser based online games has somewhat toned down in a recent review when I got to experience a true MMORPG browser based game.
So I had my hopes up that Aurora Blade would completely dispel that lingering bitter aftertaste I experienced in browser based online games however I was wrong.
Awkward First Step
Upon starting the game I was faced with my first problem with it. The placing of a lot of panels in the game were awkwardly placed specially when the tutorial box takes over for the first few minutes. If you accidentally refresh the browser or close the window where you are playing the game you won't be able to get it back and be stuck with the quest you started with.
I had to create a new character again so that I can redo everything from the start. It's pretty inconvenient specially when you are using a browser that can't seem to properly play the game. I even had to switch from firefox, to google chrome just to be able to play the game decently.
Lots of Labels
My other complaint on the game is that the labels are too loud that it doesn't jive well with the game's overall look. Though it may be understandable that the design was supposed to be like this because the only way to navigate through the map is through clicking the names.
I was actually surprised that they were using this kind of game system. I was expecting that the game would be more of an actual browser based MMORPG rather than just a click heavy browser game.
Even with the awkward first steps into the game, Aurora Blade has a lot of redeeming qualities. The first one I noticed is the familiarity of the game features. Even with the limitations of animations, graphics and visual goodies you often expect from MMORPGs, the game does at least provide a little familiarity in the gameplay. You don't need to learn anything new to play the game because everything that you can find in MMORPGs are already set in the game's interface.
I also liked the fact that they were able to go around the limitations of being a browser game by putting everything in the interface. The chat box are separated into two panels for easier chatting while the game also allows the use of shortcuts that don't mess with browser shortcuts.
Tabs are easily seen and you wouldn't have to look for it with too much effort.
Another thing that I liked in the game is the attempt of immersing the players into the game. With the obvious lack of visual capabilities, the game tries to put players in the proper perspective of the places they are visiting.
There will be moments where the main window of the game will change according to the location you entered. While I cannot say that the purpose of this attempt is successful, changes done on the main window are welcome so that I wouldn't be too bored staring one static map after another.
Of course what would adventuring and MMORPGs be without battles? Aurora blade has a very simple battle system in place. All you need to do is click on the sword icon beside the name of the monster or player and a mini window will appear. Battle's happen in real time and there's no indicator or sign that gives you a signal that it's your turn to attack or not.
The only active thing you can do in battles is clicking on the skills and the usable items that would activate in the succeeding attack opportunity you have. While this shows that little imagination was used in the game's battle system, and the obvious limitations of the game's medium, this pretty much makes battles a little exciting. There were a lot of moments where I was clicking on the skill buttons crazily and was hoping that was able to defeat the monster before it knocks me out.
Before you can start battling you need to learn how to explore and adventure. For people who are not used to these kinds of MMOs I must warn you that you need to prepare your fingers for some massive mouse clicking. Adventuring entails you to click on the boxes you will find in the adventure maps all throughout the game.
While this welcomes you at the beginning of the game, it still takes time to get used to. If you're the type of person who has little patience for constantly clicking for movement then I better tell you that this game is not for you. Save yourself the trouble and don't even try the game.
Personally, I must say that I was pretty disappointed with my run of Aurora Blade. I guess I set the bar too high and expected a lot more from this browser game than I should've. Patience will be a big factor if you will continue on playing the game for a while or not. While I personally don't have that patience I can say that if you do and you are looking for a browser based MMO then by all means you can try Aurora Blade.
You just have to make sure that you have more than one browser that you need to use. There's an off chance that you may need to use a browser if the one you are currently using fails. However once you find the right browser, you'll get to play a browser based game that's easy on your computer's resource. The game's is easily playable so you don't have to need a high end computer to make it run.
Easy on the computer resources.
Feels like an MMORPG even with the limitations.
The game is easy to pick up and play.
A lot of the panels are awkwardly placed that you have to get used to them.
The game uses labels instead of seeing your character travel.
The game is click-heavy