Dark and Light Review: Game Had Potential But Failed to Deliver
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Dark and Light is the perfect example of a good MMORPG gone bad. While the game tries to execute various methods to improve its gameplay, it only led to its untimely demise as an MMO. The game description itself would be good enough to hook players into trying it out. Good thing I didn’t believe the rumors, otherwise I would’ve been more disappointed than I already am.
THE FIRST UNIQUE MMO WORLD (thats what they said)
Although I may have already disrupted your hopes with my opening statement, the game does have a lot of things to brag about. First of all, the online world is around 15,000 square-miles complete with diverse areas. As a player, I would say that exploration is one of the key features in almost every MMO. The best way to implement this would be to put enough areas in the game for people to visit.
Regardless of how big the world is, linear visuals would only render it dull and boring. Which is why this game does have something to be proud of. Another good feature would be the lack of loading times. Long loading times can be quite annoying when you’re in a climactic battle of epic proportions. Although it’s not the highest priority while making a choice what to play, a game with no loading time does sound excellent.
Flying through the immense world of Dark and Light
Leveling is somewhat different here compared to other MMOs since you basically level up a lot of different things at the same time. The axes (axis in singular form) represent your character’s benefits as well as your combat level. Quests don’t normally give level experience like other MMOs since much like combat, you’ll be leveling a specific Axis (geez… how complicated) whenever you’ve finished a certain task. The three axes are Crafts, Combat and Social (now I’m sure those things are easy enough to understand).
Crafting in the game does require grinding. You would need to create lower level items before being able to create a more suitable item for your character. I don’t see why people tend to hate the game over this since even WoW (World of Warcraft) employs the same form of repetitive useless manufacturing when it comes to creating items. The game’s crafting method is quite appealing (and hard at the same time) overall. Moon phases as well as other addons yield different results when crafting your item. There are tons of buffs to experiment on, so players can have fun when trying out new stuff. Does it remove linearity? Well, stereotypical builds are quite normal in every MMO, so I guess everyone will keep on doing the same thing when they find the high tier buffs.
The game has four decent character archetypes (fighter, hunter, healer, mage) that later evolve into fifteen different classes. As far as class variety is concerned, nothing is better than getting to have a wide selection of classes. I must say that character definition has always been a treat, so this is one aspect in which the game excels.
Fighting An Outdoor Boss
Okay! So where’s the bad stuff?
There’s been a lot of complaints regarding a glorious amount of bugs in the game. Now I know that bugs are practically out of the game design, but they’re not doing anything about it are they? Some of the game’s features load up for several minutes which completely obliterates their no loading time rule (tsk tsk for empty promises). Some of the game’s texts are badly translated and are either typos or just plain forgotten.
There are also a lot of graphical glitches that sort of looks like Doom 1 with the IDCLIP cheat on (it means you can pass through walls). Most of the time, you’ll come across black blocks on your screen which pretty much insinuates how unfinished this game really is. Don’t get me wrong, the graphics aren’t that bad but rather raw. I know it’s quite normal to see a few bugs then and there but this is just preposterous. Progressing in the game does seem rather troublesome since it’s basically work dressed up as an MMO.
If I were to sum it all up, I’d say that the visuals are shiny but not “flashy”. Regardless of their level, armors tend to look dull and simple. Most of them are just big hunks of silver molded into the shape of your character’s torso, making them look like raw 3D models from the early PS1 days.
The large area really compliments this game (and any other game that could pull it off), although the great lack of detail degrades its supposed merit. The area looks like an overstretched bitmap, all pixelated and blurry when displayed on a higher resolution. That really shouldn’t matter since we all enjoyed a lot of games that share the same problem. Much like any other MMO that got criticized, it got us all hyped up only to find out that we’d be getting a game that should’ve stayed in open beta.
Simple Robe Shows Medium Quality Graphics
Dark and Light does have a lot of interesting ideas, if only it could implement it in a more decent manner. The world is filled with lots of visual bugs and glitches, meaning they definitely have a lot to work on. The game also features a nice variety of poorly named monsters which would normally yank a few chuckles from players. Fortunately, huge boss monsters are always a delightful thing to have around, and this game doesn’t fail in giving you these necessities.
Some Weird Stuff
If you’re a Diablo fan then you’d prolly know what I’m talking about when I say “Bankruptcy through death”. Yeah, the game forces you to drop gold upon death. This is NOT a good idea. First of all, if a player happens to see another player getting mangled while exploring, their behavior changes: they just let him die and steal his gold (that’s just nasty…. really…. no really… that is just brutal). I’m starting to think that the developers have major issues with the kind gesture of helping a fellow player. “WELCOME TO YE OLDE AGE WHERE WE STEAL YER FINE GOLD!”
Ye Olde Verdict
This game had potential (yes… HAD). The whole idea of a 15,000 square-mile world would be marvelous to behold and the possibilities are quite profound. If you were going to play an MMO then you might as well pick the one with the biggest world. I think that this game just failed to deliver the epic justice of what it was destined to serve.
The visuals aren’t that bad due to the awesome frame rate, but greatly lacks detail and depth in style that makes the game less flat and pixelated. The gameplay is somewhat complex, though it focuses mostly on grinding aspects of the three axes. Enjoying the game may be quite tricky since it requires a workaholic to deeply enjoy games like these. This is a game that I would rather not mention. Fairly disappointed, but who knows? Maybe it’s got a few tricks up its sleeve.
– Smooth framerate
– A truly huge world
– Good array of monsters
– Good lineup of classes.
– A bunch of bugs and glitches (duh)
– Bad world detail
– Flat character design
– Unfulfilled promises.