By Rick Charbs (Jammart), Onrpg writer
World of Kung Fu is a free-to-play MMORPG with an oriental style. Published November 2007 by VestGame Entertainment, this title has been a phenomenal hit considering its genre. This was only planned, as it is even more popular in its foreign counterparts (namely the one based in China). It was also known to have gone through an extensive closed beta phase, entering open beta in February 2008.
Based on Kung Fu and the Wulin society of Ancient China, this MMORPG is loaded with extensive historical references and interesting educational elements (believe it or not!)—and not that boring educational type, I mean actual interesting information on the ancient Chinese culture. The story line is very wide-spread, but it still offers a somewhat linear advancement, and I personally found it quite appealing.
This game is easily described as your average MMORPG. However, one must look past their generic gameplay and see into the extensive work put into the storyline and historical accuracy. Many elements of Chinese mythology are also incorporated into the game. In WOKF (World of Kung Fu), any quest, item, NPC, map, and even some skills are all related to the setting of this MMORPG. It takes a lot of attention to make sure to keep everything within context. There are various classes (chosen by the type of weapon you decide to master in), from fan users, to archers, to the unique “hook” users. Along with this wide array of unique classes comes a really interesting skill system involving forms of Kung Fu—but I’ll let you discover that on your own.
An extensive interactive bond between players and game masters is also on of the many reputable aspects of the game. A portion of VestGame’s staff is dedicated towards running events and some game masters are constantly in-game for your practicality. Some events are completely interactive with players involving a GM developed mini-storyline and a quick quest for you to complete and return to the said GM (which are quite rewarding, might I add). To quote their staff: “It is our goal to bring the Middle Kingdom of the World of Kung Fu to life!”
With that in mind, it is always expected by the loyal players of the game to receive constant updates and additions to the game (currently, the game updates once per week), some of which are affected by their suggestions, and for the game masters to be around often for entertainment and for a little help!
Avoiding describing the gameplay with much precision, I’ll try to explain it in simple terms. With a very simple combat system, and with a challenging levelling system, the game can get a little boring after a while. However, the controls are really great and most characters can use area-of-effect skills to damage many enemies—and I mean many—in a very short period of time, thus allowing you to level at a quicker pace. Without these area-of-affect skills, I found the combat to be extremely dull, although I enjoyed following the quests even though they were linear and somewhat uncreative.
Graphics and Sound
One of the “wow factors” of World of Kung Fu Online is their great deal of attention to the background music, the sounds and effect, as well as the graphics and visual detail of the game. Now, you may jump to the conclusion that the graphics are not as amazing as they make them sound, but you have to remember this game is FREE. Besides, on maximum settings… they are really, really, really pretty! The character models are very proportionate and very well done overall, and the environments are relaxing and dashing with color.
In the sound department, I was also quite impressed. Not taking the chance to turn on my own music even once, I was overjoyed of the background music. It was very appeasing, and it immersed me further into the game and into the Chinese culture the game holds. The sound effects were far past my expectations, and so they remained unmated for me as well. All in all, I really enjoyed the visual and audio aspects of World of Kung Fu. I would not imagine you would be disappointed of them in this game—that is, if you have a decent machine to run the game in normal to high capacities (which should not be too much trouble these days; even my mediocre computer could opt these settings).
World of Kung Fu was a real surprise to me. At first, when I was about to begin playing, I told myself it was probably just going to be another generic Chinese culture-themed game like the rest, and it was quite the opposite of my expectations. I really enjoyed this game in most respects, and I will most definitely be playing it again. I loved the controls, the very small learning curve, the interactive and story line driven quests, the fun staff, the great graphics and background music, and the extensive classes and skills. I had a lot of fun training, though I would suggest you play with a friend or find someone to party up with as the training might seem difficult alone.
What I disliked about the game was the slight lack of customisation, the obnoxious spamming bots you can find sometimes in town, and the linear gameplay/combat. If you can see past these things, or compromise with them, this game would suit your taste quite well. I humbly suggest you give it a try without labelling it as your average oriental MMORPG as I did. It was a big mistake! Happy gaming!
– Graphics and sound are both excellent considering this is a free game
– Compelling storyline
– Interactive quests
– Great staff and in-game GM team
– Constant updates
– Many character classes
– Training may get grindy too fast
– Spam bots are sometimes found in towns
– There is little customisation
– Linear combat