Secret of the Solstice Review: A Refined Version of Ragnarok Online
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
For us who have been immersed in the MMO scene, it would be rare to find someone who is not familiar with Ragnarok Online. That game has surprisingly, up to now been one of the most active MMOs out on the market.
With its success spawned a lot of MMOs that tried to follow its winning formula, most of which end up being a mere shadow of the main material of the game. However, among the followers there seems to be one that has successfully incorporated the winning formula and thus created its own mark in the MMO scene. This is where Secret of the Solstice comes in.
Before I continue
First things first, I must say that I used Ragnarok Online as the springboard for this review due to the fact that Secret of the Solstice has a lot of Ragnarok Online’s elements present. However, I am not saying that the game is a complete clone or copy of Gravity’s major MMO hit.
A town in Secret of the Solstice
Secret of the Solstice is an MMO that uses the mix of cute graphics and a refined character growth system that I must say is a rare thing to find in these kinds of MMOs. The mix of a superb set of game sprites, the wonderfully created game background music and the breath taking in-game visuals makes this game a game that is worth trying, and because of these elements the game has earned itself its own place in the MMO scene.
However, I cannot ignore the fact that Secret of the Solstice takes a lot of Ragnarok Online in terms of style and game theme. The city you start in feels all too familiar and the forests, dungeons and maps you get to travel and explore makes you think that you’ve visited them before in Ragnarok Online. Plus, Secret of the Solstice’s game system has a familiar ring to it especially once you’ve immersed yourself into it. The familiar feel of the game will continue on as you keep on playing however, the differences will also become noticeable as you play.
Similarities and differences
The first difference you experience once you log in is that Secret of the Solstice’ graphics are better than Ragnarok Online, the characters and game visuals look crisper, furthermore, Secret of the Solstice’ animation is more fluid when compared to Ragnarok Online. Another difference between the two games is that Secret of the Solstice has a more difficult gameplay system compared to Ragnarok Online. The quests are more challenging and more laborious plus questing in Secret of the Solstice eats more of your time than it does in Ragnarok Online.
When I started playing Secret of the Solstice, the beginner’s quests were a breeze as the game system has its own tracking feature which makes you character move on its own. All you had to do was to click on the NPC and you’re all set. However, when you reach you’re a new level the game then drops you like a hot potato and leaves you hanging as you try to figure out how to play the game. It felt as if the rug was tugged right out from under me as I fumbled along my first experience with the game.
On a quest with my pet
I must also say that the quests in Secret of the Solstice, even the low level ones are a handful and tedious. Aside from the usual killing, looting and finding NPCs you’d have to go through a lot of maps, and I do mean a lot of maps before being able to accomplish a quest. There are times that you’d even wish you’d just grinded your way up. You realize later when you’ve reached the 40 level mark that quests are your best friend.
Secret of the Solstice’ quest system has a lot of similarities with Ragnarok Online’s as both games have a guild, PVP and pet system. However, this is where Secret of the Solstice pales in comparison to Ragnarok Online because the game has neither a siege system nor an actual guild war system. Sure, guilds can go head to head in the PVP rooms however, there is no actual system that allows guild leaders to directly challenge one another. Also, the lack of a siege system is a letdown especially for those more competitive players. However, Secret of the Solstice does have a mount system where aside from having their own pets players can ride mounts ranging from horses to hippos, each having their own stat bonuses.
Characer class guide with detailed information
Secret of the Solstice is a hit and miss game where the hits come from the refined look, texture and feel while the misses come from the lack of game systems that can really interest the game’s population. Outspark does try to make the game interesting by steadfastly implementing a lot of events and whatnot to pique the player’s interest. The thing is, you really do feel that the game’s lack of system is a reason for not continuing. The lack of a siege or guild war system is a nagging reminder of the limitations Secret of the Solstice has. Yes, the graphics may look better and the animations are smoother but then that would only serve as a temporary reason for playing. Then you ask yourself what’s the whole point?
To be fair, Secret of the Solstice is a solid MMO. In fact, aside from the nice visuals and solid gameplay, the game’s community is one of the nicest I’ve experienced in a while. However, the game is better suited as a competitive MMO much like Ragnarok Online. The game has all the makings of a great game but due to its lack of additional play systems it has to rely heavily on its events and community.
In the end, I’m sticking to my conclusion that Secret of the Solstice is in fact a refined version of Ragnarok Online in terms of graphics and visuals. Anyone who wants to experience a solid, cute and enjoyable MMO should really try this game out. However, as a precaution one should not expect much from this one cause you’d only be disappointed in the end.
– The game looks good
– Solid gameplay
– The animations are fluid and fun to watch.
– Feels all like your playing Ragnarok Online
– Lack of game features
– Quests are tedious