Granado Espada is the latest game from Hak Kyu Kim, who is best known for the widely popular Ragnarok Online. The game itself placed in a 17th century European setting and boasts a new and innovative way to play MMORPGs. While the game is still months from launch, I took a peek at the Singeporean version hosted by Infocomm Asian Holdings, that is in beta as we speak.
The revolutionary control system that was designed for Granado Espada is called Multi-character control or MCC. This allows the player to control up to 3 characters at a single time by setting automated commands for the characters not under active control of the player. The best part is you can swap between characters at will and even trigger skills without having to take control of that character. What I liked about this was the ability to tailor a party to my liking without having to worry about weaknesses in a single character since I can have another character to cover that weakness with their strength.
The graphics are truly breathtaking and are hard to believe. Some localized versions of Granado Espada are free to play while the US version has been confirmed to have a monthly fee, but the graphics would tell you otherwise. They are some of the best, if not the best, graphics in an MMORPG to date. Character models are nice and smooth and feature a variety of clothing options. Monsters are very creatively done and some even pulled right out of nightmares. The effects from spells and skills also look fantastic, but I would have liked to see a little bit of blood when things are being shot at or slashed with a sword.
The gameplay is extremely varied and has very few limitations. With the MCC you can choose to control anywhere from 1 to 3 characters at a time from any of five character types: Fighter, Musketeer, Wizard, Scout and Elementalist. While this may sound limiting, each class has a very large variety of stances which grant them anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen skills to use. Dont worry though, scouts take the typical place of rogues AND priests and have the abilities to do all of their typical duties in a fantasy game.
Unfortunately the sound is not complete and I cant give a full breakdown of it. IAH is currently working on having a plethora of different voice actors from different backgrounds put their magic into the game and should serve to draw players in even more. The music in the game is phenomenal and definitely makes you feel like you are in the 17th century. Not once did I ever feel out of touch with the game and it makes me wish more games took the amount of time and attention to detail on the audio portion of a game as IMC Games and HanbitSoft did.
All in all this game is a must try no matter which server set you decide to play. The game will be titled Sword of the New World when K2Network releases it this summer and be free to play up until level 20 to try out and will cost only $8.99 per month though you will need to purchase a CD key as well. The servers being hosted in Singapore by IAH have not announced a business model yet, so it is possible that they will make the game free to play with an item mall. Give it a look and be surprised at how fresh it feels.