There’s been a lot of revivals lately of old early 2000s online games. Of course the majority of them are mobile ports rather than rehashing the same thing again on PC. Some of the most notable examples include MapleStory and Ragnarok Online getting their second wind on the mobile platform, despite their PC presence still going strong. Now Webzen has thrown their hat into the ring, attempting to take the growing mobile MMORPG market by storm with MU Origins.
MU Origins takes place on the world MU Online established on the surface. Before I continue with the review, I must admit that I’ve had no prior in-depth experience with MU Online. I was just a casual observer in the computer cafes when people have played the game religiously (and they would often just sleep/camp overnight to play the game). So don’t expect a deep, blow-by-blow differentiation from MU Online here. Though on a positive note, from what I can tell the mobile adaption is strikingly close to capturing the exact magic present in the PC edition.
Moving forward, MU Origins has all the staples of what you’d expect from a mobile MMORPG. Character control is relegated to a virtual direction stick on the lower left side of the screen. Active skills and normal attacks are accessible on the streamlined right side of the game screen. You’d have the various game modes also accessible within the upper portion of the screen. And you have a minimap (of sorts) on the upper right side. Character information is seen on the upper left side of the screen and tapping on your character’s portrait enables you to see a more in-depth run-down of your character’s stats, attributes and points allocated.
Character creation on the other hand allows you to choose from three classes which are the Dark Wizard, Dark Knight and Elf class. These classes are basically your mage, knight and archer classes found in the normal MMORPG archetype spectrum so don’t expect anything fancy here.
The various game modes that you can get into in MU Origins include arena, event and dungeon battles. Each area has its own set of instanced maps that you can fight either in PvP or PvE Battles. Thankfully, MU Origins does away with the standard mobile energy system so you won’t have to worry much about marathon playing until you are disqualified from enjoying anything in Mu for the rest of the day. However to avoid burn-out they have implemented a daily cap on entering events and dungeons to keep you wanting more, and force you to experience the rest the game has to offer in the meantime.
MU Origins also adopts the automatic battle and travel system you’d often see in mobile games of this scale. With just a flick of the finger, you can have your character travel through maps, battle monsters, and get back to turn in quests. On that note, questing is the run-of-the-mill gather and kill quests. As I said before, this game captures the essence of the original game, from an era when questing diversity was not so common.
The one thing that’s prominent with MU Origin is that it retains the dated look MU Online was known for. The mobile platform thankfully denies you to see the game in its full “glory”. Since there are tons of F2P mobile games out there that don’t look as dated as MU Origin does.
But then, the game doesn’t really hide that fact since you can see the game as what it is on the preview store and website. So it’s not like you’re getting lured in by sexy pictures that don’t reflect the actual gameplay. Plus I’m sure there’s quite a few players that will get nostalgic over the look and feel of their old friend.
So moving along, let’s talk about the game’s visuals. We’ll focus now on what MU Origins stuck with from MU Online that can make someone interested in playing the game. Character development shines.
MU Origins follows the typical leveling system you’d find in MMOS with the exception of the rebirth system that allows you to unlock higher tiers of your character. With the game’s automated battling and travel system it makes the level grind less intense. You can actually leave the game running as you go through your daily tasks and just get back into the game at a more convenient time to experience your newfound power hands-on.
Another cool thing that MU Origins retained is the emphasis on the wings your character gets. This adds another dimension in the areas of increasing your character’s stats. In fact you can also increase the star rarity of your wings (and your other equipment too) by investing currency and ingredients to make it stronger.
World Bosses, Events
If there’s one thing that stands out as my most memorable experience in MU Origins, it would have to be the world boss and world events Webzen throws at you. The world boss encounters can hold their own against a decent sized group for quite some time. Meanwhile the lower tier world bosses make an ideal auto-play hotspot due to the extensive time it takes your character to solo one.
The events on the other hand will test your skill in the game as you slaughter your way through as fast as you can. They’re a great opportunity to turn the auto-questing off to showcase your power! The awards for both encounters are too good to pass up, so you’d be doing a lot of them as you play through the game.
My MU Origin experience is a nice throwback to the early 2000s of MMO gaming with the dated graphics, almost mind-numbing quest/level grinding and the downright basic gameplay and story build-up. It’s a good nostalgia trip for those looking to remember the good ol’ days of gaming with the convenience of the modern automated quest and navigation tracking.
With that said however, the game doesn’t hold much in terms of the more modern games we have these days. The visuals alone can really turn you off, especially if you’ve grown accustomed to games that have a certain visual flair. Gameplay-wise, MU Origin can hold its own with its fast-paced kill happy action combat. Essentially this game isn’t for everyone, but if you’re the group its targeting, this game can be awesome.
On that note, the enduring fanbase of MU Online should go crazy for MU Origin. However MU Origin may need some additional updates to capture the imagination of newer players to the genre lacking that nostalgic feel for this classic.