It Looks Terribly Familiar: Legend of Martial Arts Review
By Mitch Baylosis-Benesa (Syllica), OnRPG Journalist
Legend of Martial Arts is Perfect World Entertainment's improved version of Q-world, a game exclusively released in Asia several years ago. The result is a cute, colorful and cartoony 3D fantasy MMORPG with a semi-Oriental theme. Legend of Martial Arts is very easy on the eyes with its anime-inspired characters and vivid visuals, a feature common to other games like Luna Online, Flyff, Rose Online and its sister game, Ether Saga Online. With that being said, does Legend of Martial Arts offer something new to be able to stand out in the slew of other cutesy and casual MMORPGs?
The Humans and the Reaver
Legend of Martial Arts introduces you to two races at the character creation screen: the Humans and the Reavers. Apart from the slight difference in appearances, there are no explanations offered about how these two races differ so you'll be pretty much clueless if each has a racial-specific skill or if one is particularly adept at anything. Humans look like how a normal human (in an anime setting) should be, while the Reaver has pointed ears and can have semi-beastly features. Upon trying out both races, the notable difference between the two is that the Human race offers more variety in terms of skill sets.
As a Neophyte Human, you can either choose the path of a Brawler or that of a Conjurer, both of which has several subclasses. If you want to be Ninja, Samurai, Dragoon or a Champion, then choose Brawler. If you are more of the spellcasting type and the titles Enchanter, Theurgist, Ritualist or Enlightened sound very appealing to you, then take on the path of Conjurer. If compared to the Humans, the Reavers will appear to have a limited set of skills. You start as an Imp, then you can proceed to choose from Brute or Reaper. Brutes will advance you to Sentinel then Berserker, while the Reaper will lead you to the Summoner class.
The user interface is quiet organized and look more inspired than most MMOs I've played recently. One thing of note for me though was their text formatting. It sounds a little trivial and weird, but come to think of it and I'm sure that you've probably noticed this in most of Asian MMOs: the text for quest or skill descriptions are often cut in a weird manner. Sometimes you see the first letter of the word in the last line being orphaned by the rest of the word takes on a new line so you will sometimes read "catch the c" and "hicks in the valley". This a major turn-off for me in MMOs since hey, I'm playing RPGs, I'm expecting to read something worthy and trying to forget how irritating it is to pause for a fraction of a second just to reread over a few words. Somehow, PWE has finally taken note of this in the game and fixed this rather annoying thing before they released it to the western market. Their text looks more readable now that it doesn't have spills in their designated text boxes, making the UI work well together with the eye-candy visuals.
However, the graphics-while beautiful in itself-is something that I've already seen. Frankly, the style and designs-from building palettes, trees, the environment-just resembles another game too much. It looks pretty, but quite unimaginative of the developers. Even some of the monster's sounds effects are not just familiar; they are one and same. I guess I will be docking points off the design's originality.
I kick you.. with my Ninja fu!
Okay, my heading title is rather weak. Fine, it's corny. Imagine your feeling of shame when you read that. Lower that feeling to a few degrees and turn it into disappointment. That's basically how I felt after checking out the skill set and talent progression in Legend of Martial Arts. The title seems quite misleading as I was expecting some major ass-kicking with martial arts skills, but all I found are some pretty generic stuff that I've already seen from other MMOs.
Wife, meet my master and my brotherhood
Legend of Martials Arts redeems itself with their skill trees that are not just user-friendly, it is also new player friendly. The skill trees and questing have been made pretty simple and easy to follow that even new players trying out the MMO scene would easily grasp its concept. First, the questing is made easier by the presence of coordinates. In the quest box, one just needs to click on the target location and once you're done with the quest, just click the quest giver's name once again and it will automatically take you to the person. As I've mentioned in my other reviews before, this could be a good or bad thing. In Legend of Martial Art's case, if they are aiming for PvE questing to be newbie friendly, then they succeed. However, this type of robotic experience for new players might also make them feel like it's all too easy and quite repetitive.
Second, with regards to skill trees, the game further expands this simplified concept for the more familiar players and allows you to have additional skills-passive or not-by featuring the Education, Brotherhood, and Marriage system. These three encourages players to establish good relationships either with a mentor, a guild, or the virtual apple of their eye.
While the feature is nothing new again, the concept still meshed well with the game. With the character looking like anime people brought to the world of MMOs, the whole feel of the game is somewhat about having a sense of adventure, mastering useful skills, establishing alliances, and having a bit of romance. And the Relationship system reward? Some pretty nifty skills like teleportation and buffs.
Other Features (?)
To be honest, the game's PvE content is somewhat generic (you know, something happened, we need more heroes so step right up). There a simple PvP system, but nothing too elaborate. You can be part of an Alliance and join in the territory wars. Apart from that, dungeon bosses are also epic in itself not for its difficulty, but for its "popularity". The bosses will always be in dungeons of course, however, you have to fight other players for the chance to have your group defeat it first and get its loot. Generally, Legend of Martial Arts has a combined PvE-PvP realms so you have a choice if you want to exercise your right to be able to gank other players. Be prepared for the consequences though, since the game also has a Morality system. If you keep on PKing, then the gods will punish you. A blue orb will consistently follow players with a red/pink-colored name and well, kill them.
As mentioned before, all of Legend of Martial Arts' elements are something that most of us might have probably seen and already familiar with. The game is like a hodge-podge of most games' great elements, which is like a double-edged sword: the game presents nothing new, and it doesn't have anything that will make it stand out as a cutesy fantasy MMORPG. However, once you get past the "ah, used concept already" and "ah, it's just like this game's [insert feature]", Legend of Martial Arts is one game that might appeal to newbie players who wants to foray in the MMO world. The graphics are easy on the eyes, the systems are easy to familiarize with, the quests are simplified and there's a bit of PvP. Legend of Martial Arts is like just a like a cake baked with other game's flavors, and it's up to you and if it will suit your taste.
- Cute, anime-inspired graphics
- Blue orb of death vs PKers
- Everything else has been done before