By Kei Beneza (Dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Remember those Chinese variety shows where warriors take each other down with Kung fu kicking action? Yeah, this game is pretty much like that. Hero Online is a MMORPG that not only uses Chinese mythology but carries a bit of its history as well. The interface alone would remind you of Ancient China. If you're an avid MMO player then I guarantee that you're in for a big surprise. Not only does this game cater unique weapons, but also the chance to pick and master specific ones as well. Though the game was based on Chinese tales, characters in the game still fight like your typical (by that I mean exaggeratedly stunning) Japanese Anime characters.
Explosions, fast paced spell casting and elegant fighting skills are just some of the things that you'll encounter upon playing this game. You'll see spinning fans, yari spears and other oriental weapons as you venture into the world of Hero Online.
At the Start
Once you log in, you'll have to start creating your character. At first I was surprised as to how small the customization feature was. You start by picking one of the five characters (originally four) namely: The Ruthless Blade, Elegant Mystic, Majestic Muse, Piercing Eyes andOverseer of the Sky. Know that this only lets you pick whatever weapons you'll be using and will not be your actual class. Character creation is as easy as choosing a character and picking a name. This may crush any player's hope for a decent character creation system since you'll end up looking like most of the players in the game. Fortunately Hero Online gives you a wide variety of armor that will surely make up for the lack of character customization.
You can only pick your actual class after reaching 1 Dan (which means level 10). Hero Online has a bunch ofunique terminologies for some stuff that would be best left untouched. A good example would have to be the Dan and Kyu part which mainly resembles your current level. Now I know that a game needs its own gimmick to stand out but that one wasa bittoo much.
Picking your first job (or first class) will give you better skills than can further compliment your character's fighting style. Since there are tons of combinations in the game, it's quite unlikely for gamers to stop playing this game after maximizing their first character. The game also has thesecond job system so I guess we'll finally have something to look forward to.
Must Touch Pretty Flower
The interface looks a lot like RF online, with the red bar to indicate your life and the blue bar for your Chi (mana). The hotkey actionbar sits comfortably at the bottom of your screen, making it less troublesome to scroll your eyes around the imprinted skills. The graphics remind me of Dynasty Warriors for the PS2 (you cant blame me, they all dress the same way). The skills look pretty dazzling when executed. It's not everyday that you see an MMO with character models that blend well with their skill's lighting effects. The background is rather stale and could use a bit of work. Everything looks pretty hollow and the buildings don't seem to have that much texture. If I must cite an example, then I'd have to say that it looks a bit like GuildWars with less texture.
We all know that hacking has been a big issue among most of the MMOs today. This game however, managed to create a system that can end the line of hacking forever. The process is quite simple but rather insulting. In order to 'Seal' an item, one must first buy a sealing tool and apply it on a certain item. This makes it password protected and cannot be taken away without proper authorization. Once you're tired of your item however, you have to buy an 'Unsealing tool' to be able to make the item free for other players. The price is rather steep and is probably a waste of time. Unless you're a really paranoid player, this option wouldn't bemuch help and would only rip you off as time progresses.
Enough chit-chat! Where's the war?
Hero Online's combat is rather flashy compared to its MMO brethren. Cool skills like spinning blades, casting meteor storms and cleaving gigantic swords are all rendered perfectly to your delight. Everything is fast paced and the fonts used for hit confirmation is quite appealing. It always helps to let players feel how hard they can hit regardless of the sound effects.
As for you PVP-lovers, the game has a decent arena system that lets you plunge into an all out war that would remind you of Dynasty Warriors. Winning in the battlegrounds is quite rewarding since players can get good items upon victory. Some persistent territories also contain PK settings. This means that once you enter that zone, you're most likely to get killed (or is it the other way around?). In my opinion, persistent PK zones are quite good since it boosts a player's ingame paranoia. This means that the player will most likely be more alert, thus creating a fine link between the player and the game. Nothing makes you get into the game better than PVP (or the desire for vengeance hehe).
The game also features a Capture the Flag scenario, where players battle it out for each other's flags. The faction with the most captured flags at the end of the round will be declared the winner.
I honestly think that this is a very decent game. The graphics are pretty good and the skills look dazzling. Could use a bit of work especially with the character creation part. I guess they were focused on making the characters feel different and not look different from the others. The character selection screen doesn't look so MMO-ish at all which is rather appealing. I guess they did more than just Dans and Kyus. I think this game was trying to make players feel like they're playing a totallydifferent form of MMO. Don't get me wrong, it is quite different from the others. Though some of the things that made it different only served as nuisances.Definitely worth a shot.
-The Armors look pretty good
-Wide variety of skills that would make your MMO-ish mouth water
-A different approach to something quite normal (more like skinning an MMO and calling it something else).
-Lack of character creation
-Some of the features seem like rip-offs rather than blessings.