Duels Review: Awesomely Awesome!
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
In Role playing games, character speech often adheres to the setting the game is following. So it is generally safe to assume that most games which have an arena as the setting would use old style English. However, Duels begs to differ.
Welcome to the world, boy
It was surprising to see characters that are set in the Roman/barbaric setting using the word ‘awesome’ in a lot of the items found in the game. What’s more surprising is that the game, being a PVP-centric browser game, has in fact a very unique and immersive story telling device. It uses comic book panels as a means of narrating your entrance into the world of arena fighting. The game is like a visual novel that gives you the control of how your story is told. A choose your own adventure game if you will.
As part of the game’s emphasis on integrating in-game visuals to the overall gameplay, you often get to see your character in the story through the character card. The character card works like a paper doll of your character. This is where you get to see the equipment your character has on. This is rare for a browser game because too many graphics overload the game server and affecting the gameplay. Surprisingly, this is not a problem in Duels as the game is still runs smoothly even though your interface is smothered with images.
Duels gameplay is similar to the usual RPG system. Your character gains experience points per battle and levels up if the required amount of exp points is reached. Each level up also means you gain stat points which you can then allocate into your character. The stat point based system is not really new, but works well with the overall gameplay of Duels. This gives you the chance to hone your character in a way that suits your gaming style.
Quests and Battles
You gain experience points in Duels by completing quests and participating in battles in the arena. There are no limits on the amount of battles you can do. Your character regains its life after each battle so you won’t have to worry about going from one battle to another. Aside from the experience points, gold and possible loot, battles affect your rankings. This gives battles more meaning especially to those who are rank-conscious. Battles are done in flash style and in real-time, so you can really see how things fare for your character. However, you can’t control what your character does so it’s all about how you nurtured your character.
Duels also provide an alternative to battles. In the arena you are given a choice to either challenge the enemy or have a skirmish. Challenging the opponent means you are going to do battle with the enemy. Skirmishes on the other hand give you a chance to see how a battle turns out without the risk of affecting your record. Though the rewards are lesser in skirmishes, at least this gives you a way to scout your enemy so when you battle him for real you are better prepared. Skirmishes serves as the games scouting system, although this takes more time than the usual spying, it gives you an idea how the battle would go. This is one of the many interesting features the game has.
Character Screen in Duels
Aside from battling, your character may also go on adventures. NPCs hire your character to do odd jobs for various people or creatures. The rewards are in the form of resources that you can exchange in the shop of the person who sent you on the adventure. The items you get in the exchange are unique and therefore are not usually found in the armories or other shops. Though of course this takes more time but the payout is great and it is worth it. Adventures are narrated and when you do one, you don’t have any control over what happens. You just have to sit back and let the story unfold.
Surprisingly, I first assumed that Duels would be like any other PVP-centered browser game. Never did I think that the game would also be one of hell of a good story telling experience. Using comic book panels as a way to bring your character to life is a great way of providing the basic background without being too boring. The extensive use of Flash in the game is a very good idea as the games concept must have a very smooth and steady flow. You won’t get bored as you play the game, and everything is such a visual experience that there would be times where you have to ask if this is a browser game. Everything just fits well with Duels. From the visuals to the battles and even to the story, this is one of those games that is very well done and that the people behind the game really gave a critical eye down to the last detail.
I must say that Duels gave me more than I expected. As far as games go, this is a sign that a game is done well. Of course, Duels isn’t without its faults, like you do not really have a choice on how your character moves in the battles or that your character is just a silhouette fights. However they’re just minor inconveniences that have been overshadowed by a lot of good things. The game really has pushed the limits when it comes to PVP-centric gaming and therefore I must say this is a game worth your while.
– The comic style interface makes the game an interesting game to play
– The game is easy enough to understand that you can pick it up on the get go
– You get to see the exchange of blows as it happens.
– The game finds it hard to load in some browsers
– You only get to watch your character fight
– Your character in battles is just a silhouette.