By Kei Beneza (Dividelife), Onrpg journalist
Phoenix Dynasty Online (PDO) is a bright and flashy oriental-themed MMORPG. The game is blessed with a remarkable set of spells and effects, not to mention in game action unlike anything you've ever seen before. There's no doubt that combat is much more enjoyable with a handful of explosions, in which case this game won't disappoint you. After browsing through player videos and montages, I was actually eager to give it a try. Explosive combat, colorful auras, I wonder.
Let's Get Started
As usual, every MMO starts with you creating your online persona. The process is tad simple, and the game doesn't give you that much options for character customization. Despite the lack of faces however, the game does provide a set action-packed skills which will be discussed as we progress throughout this review. The game lets you pick between four distinct classes, namely: The Assassin (a rather physical long-ranged unit), the Paladin (your handy dandy tank), the Priest (Healer), and of course the traditional Wizard (Nuker and long ranged spell caster). The lack of classes may not bother you, considering the fact that character enhancements such as second jobs and cross-classing are implemented in the middle of each MMO. Well, you can kiss your second job dreams goodbye for this game doesn't cater that type of game play. You're basically stuck with your class whom you must tweak and upgrade to perfection (will soon be discussed) to further compliment your playstyle.
Features That Go To Waste
The game has an intense combat system that's flashy enough to get any MMO gamer's attention. Things like energy waves and elemental spells are rendered to perfection in this game. One of the biggest gripes I've had against this game is its complete lack of players. Yeah, you'll find some lurking around the place, but the game is missing the idea of the first "M" in "MMO" (Massively if I still need to explain it). The game is called Phoenix Dynasty, and yet I've never seen a Dynasty population of one. The game would be much enjoyable if only there were living organisms that inhabits the place. Phoenix Dynasty is a good MMORPG gone to waste. Although the game lacks a player base, it's still not reason enough to dismiss it as something unplayable and dull. The game has a lot of interesting features with an intense system to match.
Ata! Ata! *kick*
What really captured my heart is the game's combat system. Who could ever resist blowing up your opponents by casting a tremendous amount of spells? The game really takes mobbing to the next level, as it lets you overcome a long array of monsters as you progress through the game. Mob after mob, you'll soon learn that there's a reason behind why you were given a long line of spells/skills. Once you start fighting, getting away would always be a chore as monsters tend to appear one after another.
Typical, But I Like It
What makes this game different from the rest would be its way of tweaking characters. You'll be opted to choose your element that will greatly affect your character's gameplay. This is the game's way of "spec-ing" your character, mostly similar to Ragnarok online's stat base. The element you pick will distinguish what type of enhancements your character will attain to fit your distinct gameplay. Whether it's extra HP, MP or regeneration, it's all up to you, so choose wisely when picking your element.
If you're not familiar with today's MMOs, then you'll probably find this game incomprehensible. The game lacks tutorials in game, which is a big flaw in my book. It's a given fact the game's official website [http://pdo.enjoymmo.com/] has everything there is to know about how the game is played; however, it's quite troublesome to exit the game just cause you need to know how to craft, let alone how to attack. It won't hurt to actually implement these tutorials in game you know. Some people may actually have this game as their first MMO. If not prompted properly, the game could easily be dismissed as "too-hard" due to its non-newb-friendly interface (no wonder they lack players).
The game shares the same Open-PVP Karma system as Lineage II. You can pretty much attack everyone in the game, while considering some consequences with for your actions. The game lets you choose between tree self explanatory states, namely: Peace mode, PK mode (or player kill mode), and Duel mode. PK mode characters are still free to kill players that are in peace mode but will then be issued with karma points that cause them to lose experience upon death or even jail time (state of being locked up from the world). In my opinion, open-PVP has always been a treat, but the freedom given is rather trivial due to the game's karma system. It's basically the game's way of tempting you with something shiny but will then punish you upon taking it. Yeah, they're just trying to stop you from abusing the newbies, but the harsh environment would normally encourage people to get stronger. RF online doesn't punish you for killing other players, in fact they even reward you for it. The best way to kill a PK lunatic is to get stronger and kill him yourself, not through some karma system. This form of jailbait is nothing but a form of trickery. That's as bad as dealing with extra charges after agreeing on a certain price. Someone get me an MMO Broker!
There's no doubt that Phoenix Dynasty online's visuals are awesome. I'm telling you, I've never seen so many rays flock the screen while playing other games. The character models look a lot like those from the late 90's. Although the dated graphics, they did manage to take the engine to the next level, flooding your screen with more jaw-dropping spells and effects like never before. The game doesn't really require that much power from your PC, so if you're itching for a game that looks good and at the same time runs well on a low-spec PC, then DL away.
Although the game lacks players, it has a long line of features that's sure to make you enjoy. The graphics are old but would still appeal to most gamers. The game has a PVP system so that's more than enough reason to play this game. It'll do a lot better without Karma system in my opinion, but someone has to stop people from abusing the newbs. All in all, I'd say that the game is worth playing. Yeah sure, you'll be alone most of the time, but nonetheless it's still a good game overall.
- Explosive Combat (it's just awesome)
- PVP System
- Karma System (for Newbies)
- Karma System (for PK lovers)
- Game's lack of character customization
- Outdated Graphics
- Low player base
- Lack of character classes.