Pandora Saga Review: Rise as a Nation, Fight As One
By Bryan King (Bryan), OnRPG Journalist
In ancient times, a Great Empire once dominated the whole world under the rule of one King. The King was granted this power due to his possession of the ancient artifact known as Pandora. He was beloved for his infinite kindness and presided over a long age of peace and harmony. One fateful night, peace was shattered as the night sky was lit ablaze with large balls of fire showering down upon the earth, turning everything they touched into ash. Overnight, the once great empire was reduced to rubble and any trace of Pandora was lost with it.
The world suffered many centuries of endless warring since no one nation alone could dominate the other. However, an evil shaman named Brahm signed a contract with the devil and planned to start a war for his own desire to claim Pandora as his own.
You will take on the role of one such adventurer on a quest to regain your memories and discover the truth behind Pandora…
Upon entering the game, the player has many choices in terms of character customization. Pandora Saga’s first positive is the fact it does not lack in terms of player archetype customization, with players able to choose from one of six classes, four initial archetypes, and one of two racial skills for the race you choose. This gives a player an ideal playstyle from the beginning, so they have an idea where they’re going to end up in terms of gameplay down the road. The races include Humans, Elves, Myrine, Enkidu, Lapin, and Dwarves. The inclusion of 6 races made this game stand out from most MMOs that usually feature maybe 2-3 races.
Although we’ve seen Humans, Elves, and Dwarves before, the Myrine, Enkidu (pictured above), and Lapin all feel especially unique in racial skills and in physical appearance. If you’re looking for a game where your appearance is very unique from many games you’ve seen before, Pandora Saga excels in the variability of character races.
Pandora Saga’s main gameplay quests aren’t anything too extraordinary. The game begins with an introduction to many (almost too many) of the game’s basic features, giving you a guided tour of the first ten levels of the game. A welcome feature behind this introduction was that it was all somewhat cinematic, with the game using interactive cut scenes for the player to get a feel for the game.
Combat in Pandora Saga is actually quite tactical. As an assassin, I noticed bonuses for being behind and to the side of an enemy, and my cool downs were long enough for me to utilize certain skills instead of others, fearing that I would end up breaking a nice damage combo if I messed up. Using your manual auto-attack is kind of like a frontal cone AoE, with the length of your weapon extending past a single target to other targets that are very close to your weapon’s reach. When I was in a party, I noticed many tanks utilizing this to their advantage and being able to aggro multiple targets in order for us to get quest objectives done quickly.
Pandora Saga uses an “abilities” system along with the timeless stats system. With abilities, players can spend and earn points in specific abilities to make their player stronger. For example, melee characters can upgrade their proficiency in Slashing, Thrusting, Cleaving, Bashing, and Defending, thus, increasing the skill parallel to that ability’s function. This adds another somewhat tactical element to character growth, allowing players to fine tune their character’s functions.
At level 20, players can choose one of two subclasses for their archetype, and at level 45, you can choose another from one of another two based on your 2nd job choice. This class selection is very well implemented, as many F2P games suffer from a lack of job choices. Allowing two second job choices and four third job choices for each class allows for a great deal of variety for players to enjoy. The only problem that lurks behind this is the fact that Pandora Saga’s leveling is simply bland and uninspired. Kill this, kill that, talk to this NPC, and talk to that. Yes, this is the case for many MMOs these days, but paired with the game’s dated graphics (we’ll get to that later) and emphasis on low EXP rates, it’s no wonder why many people are turned off by the game.
In terms of gameplay, Pandora Saga has much variation in character play style, and the combat has some highlights, however, in comparison to the barrage of action MMOs becoming available on the market, the lasting appeal simply isn’t there for the game.
Pandora Saga’s main selling point is the RvR. At any time in the game, players can choose from one of three nations: The Kingdom of St. Pfelstein, the Latugan Empire, or the Varik Confederation. Players are able to sign up for a daily war, and the game uses an objective based RvR map that awards players points, honor, and other currencies in order to tally up a total and award bonuses to the winning nation such as Drop Bonuses, PvP Point Bonuses, and EXP Bonuses.
This system is actually pretty unique and fun, as players can earn ranks and gain different reputation bonuses with NPCs, as well as rare capes and other various items to show off to the community. This is a great addition to the game, and the massive battlefields are a great way for PvP-warmongers like myself to show what they’ve got. Sadly, the population of the game isn’t quite capable of filling the wars to capacity, but it’s still full of potential, especially with a population boost.
Pandora Saga’s weakest point lies in the antiquated graphics that it has. Originally developed by RossoIndex years ago, Pandora Saga is still stuck in the past in the graphics department. The textures seem bland, character designs are not up to par by today’s standards, and skill effects seem moot. The only upside to this seems to be the fact that it can run on virtually any computer, but gamers who are interested in graphics won’t be wowed here.
The Final Verdict…
Pandora Saga is a game for players who put gameplay over any polish or graphics, for sure. The game has many features that are hard to find, yet lacks overall polish that would make the game absolutely fantastic in another world. However, if you’re one for massive scale RvR, give this game a try and you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for a groundbreaking modern MMO with graphics that will blow you away, don’t look here.
Gameplay – 4/5
Graphics – 2/5
Customization – 4/5