Zodiac Online Review: Cool… I Think



Zodiac Online Review:Cool... I Think
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist

Geez! Talk about lacking ideas. Nah, just kidding! Zodiac online is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that deals with ancient Chinese mythology (or at least a version of it). The story revolves around the arrival of doomsday (possibly an apocalyptic prophecy) and about the twelve eastern constellations who are hell-bent on stopping the catastrophe. Zodiac online is basically the same MMO we know and love, only with a different perspective and a less stereotypical storyline (YES! NO ORCS AND ELVES HERE FOLKS!).

The concept is also a bit different as far as character creation and progression are concerned but we'll get to that as we go further with our review. The game is actually pretty cute, with "chibified" (small dimension) characters that are sure to make you go "aww". The game is actually one of the best 2d MMOs I've seen so far, kind of like a better version of Ragnarok online when it comes to its nicely done visuals. So aside from the Zodiacs and horoscopes, what separates this game from other 2d games? Is its visual advantage over its 2d brethren the only thing that makes it special? Yeah I know, the Logo is actually pretty catchy but there has to be something there.

Zodiac Online Story
Storyline in Zodiac Online

Starting Up

One of the first things you'll probably notice would be the rather unusual character selection screen. Honestly, the design makes it look more like a fighting game than an MMO. One thing you have to know is that there are no classes in Zodiac Online. The character selection screen is only there to verify which path you would like to take. Yes, you will have a lot of unique features at your disposal at first (like your starting statsand stuff) but everything is available for everyone to learn. What separates you from the rest however is how much you'll progress on your own path. The game uses the aptitude system (stats bar) so I guess there's no need to explain that part. Each constellation or Zodiac has its own specialty. It doesn't mean that they have exclusive skills, but the way they excel in their own specialty is beyond the rest. There are no class restrictions so if you want a fire mage that does extra ice damage then go for it! A healer that deals melee damage? Why not! The possibilities are endless whichmakes character creation really fun for those who enjoy experimenting on builds.

Zodiac Online Item Mall
Experiment with skills

Who is that POKEMON?!

Perhaps one of the best features in this game would be the Pet system. I sort of remember the same mechanics in Shin Megami Tensei Online but this one's a bit more tame (in terms of headaches). Pets, much like in other MMOs are your eternal party members. There are a lot of reasons why players should get pets, and a higher rate of survival would probably be enough to convince anyone. The evolution is just amazing as your pets can transform into stronger beings when they turn into eggs. With a few talismans for luck and a bunch of other stuff for MORE LUCK (lol), your pet can turn into the ultimate killing machine.

Questing

Well, I suppose that takes care of the grinding factor. Renown Quests, as they call them let players gain double the experience and a bit of cash when doing their first 20 quests of the day. You can take as many quests as you can but do but only the first 20 give double exp and gold. After a mouthful of rewards, it's back to your average x1 rate (Boo). Hmm, the whole idea is probably similar to the Daily quest routine of World of Warcraft. It does pay well really, but gets kind of old after continuous repetition (I mean come on... can you stand doing the same old thing over and over again?). Questing in this game isn't the typical "Kill this monster and I give you money" routine. To be honest, you'll be surprised at how diverse the quest objectives are. Courier missions, kill and retrieve, crafting tasks, you'll find a lot of those here.

Zodiac Online Event

Graphics and Interface

Superb would be a good description for Zodiac Online's visuals. Here you have a pimped up 2d world with cutesy characters that are exquisitely armed in combat. The details are amazing (of course counting that it's 2d) with anime drawn characters (the Zodiacs) that look very much different from each another. I wasn't really kidding when I said it was like Ragnarok online on steroids. Here you have an isometric birds eye view which can't really be rotated as freely as Ragnarok but hey! It's an awesome setup for a 2d game. Some of the characters (namely NPCs) may look out of place, being all non-anime and stuff but that shouldn't be much of a problem as a player's focus is his or her character. Things can get quite confusing at times since some NPCs look a lot like each other. Maybe it's just me but I often end up interacting with the wrong NPC, probably because I tend to remember their faces and not the names.

The Verdict

During the beta, things ran pretty smoothly. I'm sure this MMO will cater to a lot of gamers worldwide. A diverse character creation system, a whole array of possibilities, this is one awesome game. The game has an item mall so I guess players can just quicken the pace if things start to turtle around. The pet system is superb as well, giving a whole new mechanic for the strengthening of your everyday adventure buddies. The stat system, in my opinion is rather stupid as people would always go for a stereotypical build after learning which one hits harder. Stats are nothing more than a nuisance that separates people who just started from the people who experimented for countless nights trying to find the right build. Really, there are more ways to encourage character builds, and stats (in my opinion) are definitely one of the worst ways to promote individuality. Overall I would say that the game still has more room for improvement. One thing is for certain though; Zodiac Online is definitely on the right track.

The good:
- Awesome character creation
- Pet system
- Quests
- Good visuals

The bad:
- Stats system again?
- I can see clones manifesting in the future
- lack of individual character looks.

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