Elsword: Manga Platforming Perfection
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Elsword Online is a free-to-play, two dimensional side scrolling MMORPG. Elsword is a very popular Asian game developed by the South Korean company KOG Studios. It has now come to the US and I will be giving this game a fair shot to look how this game makes itself unique compared to other side scrolling MMORPGs. This manga oriented MMORPG is a popular franchise currently running in Asia and its taking the next step of releasing in Europe and America. This game is all about the fast paced stylish combat so let’s get to the details!
The first impression when I got into the game is the cute music in the background that is extremely relaxing. Beyond this, the anime style this game uses is quite eye catching. When you first start up the game you can select a server, currently there is only one to pick from right now. There are several different channels; these channels have different level requirements so it is easily divided for everyone. After picking the corresponding channel it is time to create your character. There are currently four classes to pick from, each of these classes have different abilities and weapons that they are using. If you prefer melee types you can choose between Raven and Elsword. If you prefer range over melee you can pick between Aisha and Rena. The characters based off of their manga counterparts, which explains the odd class naming. I went with Rena as she has a good mix of range and melee combat options so I would get the best of both worlds.
The current classes that are in the game are Aisha, Elsword, Raven and Rena. All the characters have different stories from the past and follow one main story that starts off with defending the El.
Aisha is the mage class currently available in Elsword. She is equipped with a staff and possesses the abilities of magic and great sorcery. At the young age of 12, she traveled with her Grandfather to discover ancient magic ruins. He was an old wise man and taught her all his secret magical arts as they journeyed together. At the peak of her power, she discovered an ancient ring that deviously absorbed and transferred her magical powers to someone else. In order to retrieve her powers back, she sets off on a journey to find the person who swindled her of her strength.
The Elsword is a melee class that uses the Great Sword as weapon. He was trained to use the Great Sword at a young age and excelled above all. Elsword’s sister was the leader of the Red Knights. Since childhood, she rigorously trained him to become one of the Red Knights. However, she soon left Elsword to pursue a greater mission for the Red Knights. Elsword wanted his sister to recognize him as a strong warrior and soon joined the Kingdom’s El Search Party. Even so his sister still did not acknowledge him to be strong enough. Elsword has now set out on a journey to become the leader of the strongest El Search party in order to gain his sister’s trust.
The Raven is a class that uses a Nasod Arm along with a Blade to fight against his enemy. Raven, a commoner from the Kingdom of Velder worked hard to become the Head Captain of the Crow Mercenary Knights. Being a commoner in such a high ranking position caused jealousy to arise from the nobles and they decided to bring false accusations against him. Although he was rescued by his followers, Velder’s soldiers surrounded him, his fiancée, and his friends in the forest and slaughtered them. Raven however survived the incident and awoke with devices attached all over his body in a Nasod capsule. Reborn with a Nasod arm and a blade on the right hand, he fought unconsciously to destroy the kingdom he once protected. That is until he is shown the weakness of seeking revenge by Elsword and joins forces to find the El Shards and atone for his sins.
Rena is a range class that uses the Bow along with body techniques to defeat her enemies. She provides long range attacks using a bow and the ability to double jump. Rena is a fairy living in the forest’s outskirts. One day she mysteriously lost her sense to commune with the spirits. She soon discovers that the weakening power of El is to blame for causing a split in the mortal and spiritual world. This news causes Rena to drop her peaceful ways as she begins a violent crusade to restore the spiritual link created with El. Rena felt the resonance of the El from the Tree of Light and soon sets out on a journey to find it. She believes that the Tree of Light will help her find the missing magic of El.
Elsword can be played alone and with a party, follow the quest line to get to various different dungeons along with several different end bosses. Elsword is a really fun side scrolling MMORPG that uses a rather unique gameplay style. Every class has its unique style of play and I had fun with both melee and range. After a while I decided I preferred melee over range. Although its not nearly as safe playing Rena at melee range, the action is much more intense and overall more fun.
Once you complete dungeons you unlock the privilege of replaying them on a harder difficulty, though you might want to team up with friends for this. Luckily the community is quite active and outgoing so finding groups to run dungeons with was never a challenge. And even if it was, the amount of fun I had playing this game grew exponentially when playing in a party compared to solo play.
Beyond running dungeons, there is a lot of ways players can coordinate as a community in this game. There is a great crafting system in place and the PvP modes are always popular. Town shops similar to old school games like Ragnarok and Maplestory also add a feeling of community not always found in modern games.
The Graphics are really beautiful for a side scrolling game while putting minimum strain on PCs to play it. As long as you have a dedicated video card your computer should be more than able to handle them. At minimum its recommended to have a GeForce FX5700/Ati Radeon 9600 Radeon video card along with a Pentium 4 processor. These video cards are at least 10 years old so even an ancient computer made out of twigs and stones should be able to run this game just fine.
As I mentioned before, this game plays as if you were running through slides of a Manga. The overall graphics are wonderful and the combat is stylized to the point that you really feel each attack you deal is cinematic and epic. The real fireworks begin when you unleash combo attacks with your team against a boss monster. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on all the action because of the sheer amount of detail put into the background of each match. Heck sometimes the background will launch attacks at you so I guess that isn’t a bad thing!
Elsword is a really beautiful and fun side scrolling MMORPG. You can easily play solo or grab a few friends as you progress through the story and dungeon crawl to collect crafting items. Something that really set this game apart from most MMOs is the storyline is intriguing and worth reading. Each character has a unique personality that helps draw you in and make you feel connected to the gaming world. Unfortunately the voice overs are still in their native language but that isn’t always a bad thing. This game is very casual friendly and a great pick up and play action game for people that don’t have large amounts of time to invest in an MMO. I recommend that all platformer gamers try this game out!
ColbyCheeze also recently did a playthrough for Elsword. Be sure to check out his impressions video coming later today!