by Rick Charbs, Onrpg writer
LaTale is a brand new MMORPG to the English gaming market, being fully released to the public as of September 18, 2008. Being an anime, cute styled 2D sidescroller, one may come to judge this game too quickly. Its counterpart, MapleStory, plays completely differently. There is not much to be compared between both of these games aside from their graphical resemblances. LaTale features a more distinctive character sprite, having full body proportions to a certain extent. You will also have many more customization choices in character creation on LaTale, having about ten hairstyles with many colors to choose from, and other customizations such as face and skin complexion. The game is also much more quest based, in my opinion.
Anyhow, LaTale has been highly anticipated ever since OG Planet signed the contract to this game back in March 18, 2008. The game had extreme hype value, so did it live up to its dreamt glory?
Undoubtedly, this is a question of personal preference and opinion, but this review should give you my personal thoughts on this manner as well as my opinion on this game in general.
LaTale brings a whole new style of gameplay to the 2D sidescrolling MMORPG genre. It has more of an arcade feel with its controls, being somewhat slow rather than fast paced, which I found to be a little disappointing. The controls were difficult to use, making it an annoyance when trying to run and jump. On the upper hand, I absolutely loved their skill systems and classes; you can truly customize your character. LaTale has four standard classes that each branch off twice. That may sound generic to you, although every class has their own skill trees. For example, wizards can pick from four elements to add to their skill arsenal, either focusing on one specific element or combining a few, and explorers can choose from knives, to bows, to crossbows and more! On top of these skill trees, second classes have even more to choose from. This diversity truly makes up for the lack of attribute point allocation in the game, which also adds simplicity for younger players.
Guilds are also given a unique standpoint in LaTale. By creating a guild, you chose an alignment to go along with it: neutral, order, or chaos. Depending on the type of guild you create, characters in the guild will earn stat bonuses on specific stats. This stat bonus augments as the guild levels up.
Another fun feature in LaTale is the pet system. As opposed to MapleStory, you do not have to buy pets in the item mall. Some of them are purchasable, but every player has a right to the use of the pet system in the game, usually acquiring pets from quests. This system is not completely developed in the version Outspark hosts; however they are testing it currently. Pets do not last for any longer than 60 days (some may become unlimited in the future), however you can always revive them with cash shop items. Pets offer skill assistance during battle, and evolve from three stages as they get stronger: egg, baby, and adult.
LaTale hosts many other interesting features, such as the mailing system, used to communicate with friends while they arent online, and the waypoint system, used for easier access to the entire world map.
I wouldnt say LaTales questing system is that elaborate, but it is essential in every characters development. In order to level up without hours and hours of constant grinding, players can undergo repeatable exp quests. This makes hunting much more interesting, and of course offers nifty rewards. One can get very rich by completing many quests, without too much trouble. Recently, there were pet quests added in order to test out the system, and hopefully we will see more interesting events through new quests!
Graphics and Sound
LaTale is filled with vivid colors and inciting music. The sounds are average, but the graphics are where this anime MMO shines. Skill animations and character emotions are really well done, as well as the sprites and armors, being very unique. There are some recolors in the monsters department, but otherwise they are very detailed and most are fun to watch. The environments are at some times dazzling and at others just mediocre, but overall I liked them very much; this falls under personal preference. Surely, if you like the 2D genre, the chances are youll love this style. Some may find it a little too colorful, but I enjoyed it myself.
LaTale was a really fun experience. I believe I love as many things as I dislike about the game. Firstly, the graphics were beautiful and very unique. Everything was smoothly colored and well done, in my point of view. The music and sound was alright for the most part.
After a while I just muted the game and switched to my personal music player, only because things got a little repetitive. Another feature I loved was the character classes. Some of them are generic, but the possibilities of each class are endless. I loved trying a few characters out, wizards being my favorite due to their elements. I have yet to see a more extensive mage class in a sidescroller- I was impressed. The controls however, I highly disliked. I logged into the game expecting a fast paced sidescroller ala MapleStory big mistake. The game is actually somewhat slow paced, at least in the early stages in the game. I found it difficult to run and jump at the same time, and running alone was a challenge in itself. My character walked too slowly for my taste. This also made grinding much more difficult for me, and I discovered that there was a lot of grinding in this game despite the quests. On a much happier note, my all-time favorite aspect of LaTale is the customization value of the game. You can be truly unique in this game without having to completely cash out. It was an awesome bonus for me as I love to be unique in MMORPGS. Anyway, if youre into 2D sidescrollers, you cannot pass this game up. Some may be turned off by the slow combat as I was, though the game in its entity is really great. It is loaded with features and the community isnt nearly as bad as it was in the previous beta stages. If you dont mind a little grinding, I highly recommend you give this one a shot!
– Graphics are welcoming
– In-depth skill system
– Interesting class development
– Unique style
– Enjoyable atmosphere
– Heavy grind
– Slow combat/movement
– Odd controls