Fists of Fu Review: Not Fond of that Kung-Fu That You Do
By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Outspark is looking to satisfy gamers with not one, but two action MMOs. Fists of Fu is a free-to-play action MMO set in anime version of oriental China. With beat 'em up style action, Fists of Fu attempts to create an experience simple enough for anyone to get into, but perhaps this experience may come up as a little too simple.
When entering the world of Fists of Fu, you have a choice between three character classes: Mage, Archer and Fighter, each with the option to roll as a male or female. Once you've picked your class, you'll put in your desired player name and head straight for the tutorial. There's no starting character customization or anything like that, so prepare to see clones of you all over the starting town.
The beginner tutorial is simple, easy and won't take more than five minutes to finish. The tutorial shows you how to run, jump, attack and perform specials with the arrow keys and Z, X, V keys, respectively. The tutorial also lets you know that gamepad support is possible, so I decide to plug in my PS2 controller convertor and play through the game that way.
Afterwards you'll be dumped into Peach Blossom Village, where you'll meet up with some NPCs, grab a quest or two and head out. The town functions much like the ones in Dungeon Fighter Online: They serve as a hub for players to buy and sell items, chat with players and all that, with the ends of each town being gathering spots for players to join up with up to four members before entering instanced dungeons. You can also take on a few daily quests to earn some extra exp (which you may or may not want to do, since quests cough up the most EXP needed to level up since straight up grinding on dungeons over and over isn't the best idea. But then again, the quests can get really tiresome since it's the usual "Kill this, bring me that" kind of quests.
Fists of Fu plays out like your average beat 'em where you must defeat every enemy on screen before moving on to the next area where you'll have to defeat more enemies on screen. Rinse and repeat until you reach the boss, which for the most part, doesn't take much thought to defeat. Once you've taken down the boss, you'll claim your reward, turn in your quests or whatever and enter another dungeon to start the process all over again.
The shallow combat that goes with all this certainly doesn't make things any better with very little combos available. There are not many different alternative combos available and even if there was, button mashing would work just as fine. Performing special attacks (which brings the action to a screeching halt every time with unnecessary portraits of your character) are as simple as pressing a hotkey when you have enough MP available and activating rage mode when you've taken or dealt enough damage doesn't make things any more interesting, either.
Whenever you gain skill points from leveling up, there are only a handful of skills you can choose from and most of them are just stronger versions of skills you already have, so basically every warrior, archer and fighter will play exactly the same. There's also an enchant system available to upgrade your equipment and whatnot, but again, these kinds of features are far too common with MMOs today.
Whenever you're not participating in repetitive dungeon runs, there's a bunch of PvP options available, but they seem somewhat tack-on. There are way too many instances where enemy players can get you into long strings of juggling attacks with not much you can do to stop them other than to not get hit in the first place. Special attacks are not altered at all during PvP, so you can expect the action to freeze up every time someone performs a special attack. All this mixed together can make PvP action feel less like a battle of wits and more of like a battle of who can get the first hit in.
Fists of Fu offers up some cartoon style graphics, but it's nothing that we haven't seen before so it's average at best with textures on just about everything looking bland and blurry despite so much color thrown in. Even though I enjoy listening to oriental tunes, music in Fists of Fu is average, repetitive and forgettable. One nice touch I did like with voice work was that every character spoke in Chinese whenever attacks were performed.
The game also tries to throw in some story content to go with some of the quests, but fails miserably with simple dialog that even kids won't pay attention to.
Take it off, then!
One small gripe I had over the game was laid within the game's title. With a name like "Fists of Fu", I was expecting some hand to hand combat, but there is none of that to be found anywhere. Sure, Kung Fu isn't always necessarily limited to fisticuffs, but personally I find that to be a little misleading!
I'm not sure if it was me or the game itself, but I found the PvE to be fairly unchallenging, even while solo-ing dungeons on hard. Taking down groups of enemies was easy as long as you didn't get surrounded, and bosses had fairly predictable attack patterns.
Fists of Fu feels like a dumbed down version of other action MMOs currently on the market. In fact, you could say that it's a dumbed down version of a particular action MMO that came out a while ago (Elesword, anyone?) Well maybe it's supposed to be a casual experience for the kids to enjoy it, but personally feel that there are way better titles to enjoy and look out for.
Anime style graphics
Combat lacks depth
PvP feels tacked on
Overall features are average