By Dane Frandsen
Point and click MMORPGs, we all know that they are nothing special these days. They run the gambit from little free-to-play games with a couple hundred players to massive online communities with players in the millions worldwide. Every now and then, one of these games comes along that changes things up a bit, be it for good or for bad. Holic doesn’t really change much for the genre, but what it does do it does well.
The first thing you may notice is the games GUI. You may also notice how bland it is. The entire GUI is a single, solid color, which is not a problem in itself. What is, however, is how astonishingly boring it is. It seems as though it was simply added at the last minute, almost like it was forgotten entirely.
Graphically the game has a few issues. Environmental textures are depressingly bland, objects have no distinct features on them and lack any real aesthetic pleasures. In contrast to the games environments, however, characters are beautifully done(further weakening the environmental graphics). Each piece of armor has a distinct look to it which is reflected on your character. In terms of animations, characters are sometimes jerky, and (at times) it seems as though a frame or two were simply clipped from the animation sequences. Needless to say, such a thing gets annoying rather quickly.
Next, let’s talk sound. The games soundtrack is nothing great, a slow, though upbeat score seems to be the norm, bordering on orchestral. The sound effects are decent, though seem to often have a bit of a sync problem. It’s normally not anything terrible, but when you see your character attack and hear the sound of the weapon hitting the monster two seconds after, it can get a bit disorienting.
Now I can get on to the actual game. The game starts out like most MMORPGs these days. You create a character, choosing your default clothing, face and hair. You’re allowed to choose between five classes to start as at the moment, those being: Warrior, the usual strong-man character; Rogue, the swift damage dealer; Monk, the power house damage dealer; Mage, the magic-slinger; and Priest, the healer. Needless to say, we’ve all seen these classes a hundred times in these exact roles.
The gameplay is nothing to new or interesting. You point, click, and watch as your character begins to battle whatever you just clicked, with you using hotkeys to initiate skills. Early on, you’ll be plowing through enemies in seconds, but they quickly start to take more time to bring down. Before long, the game’s skill combo system kicks in. Each offensive skill is assigned a certain color which must be paid careful attention. When skills of certain colors are used in the correct order, combo affects may kick in. The most simplistic of which is a minor damage dealing affect, doing minor amounts of damage to enemies every so often. Affects such as these are easy for a soloing player to initate, and easier still for a party taking on larger creatures.
After your character reaches level 10 with its initial class, you gain the ability to freely switch between classes at a certain NPC, setting a secondary class as well. You may freely swap between your primary and secondary classes, allowing you to combine skills from both classes. This adds an interesting turn to the gameplay, as you effectively have twice the number of characters in your party. Partying is not only easier thanks to this, but it can also be a bit more entertaining as well. However, this also means you MUST level multiple classes on the same character.
The game sports the usual cash system that most games have these days; that being the option of exchanging actual money for in-game items. It is always nice to see something like this in a game, as it allows a bit more character customization. Items provided range from character clothing, to other items such as: HP potions, MP potions, pets, mounts, and teleportation items; just to name a few.
Sadly, all I have mentioned does not save the game from its biggest flaw, that being the actual gameplay. The game is nothing more than the usual grindfest MMOs that are quickly becoming the norm. Granted, some of the graphics look good at the highest quality, but a lot of games do these days. Sure, it is fun when you first discover how to combo with skills, but enemies often die before you can really do anything. Yes, it is nice that you can swap between classes and combine skills to suit your combat style, but the cool down while doing this and the sudden alteration of stats can really put you in a pinch.
What I’m getting at with this nitpicking is that as nice as these features are, they don’t salvage the gameplay. At the end of the day, you’re still killing the usual enemies (Giant insects, woodland creatures, etc.) with the usual weapon. You’re also still killing them in the usual way, clicking them and waiting until your character has killed them before moving to the next one.
To its credit, the game does what it does fairly well. However, it does nothing new or spectacular, leaving it as simply another free 3D MMORPG. As a reviewer, I do wish I could say more about this game. The sad fact is, however, that there really isn’t anything else to say. The game is what it is, and nothing more.