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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Adventure Quest

Game: Adventure Quest

Publisher: Artix Entertainment

Download or web based: Web-based

What you get if you pay: A one time fee for Guardian status can be purchased to unlock many weapons and quests. Z-tokens can also be purchased for many rare weapons, pets, and pieces of equipment.

Review: Adventure Quest takes place in a fantasy world called Lore. The residents of Lore vary from simple humans to walking lizards to rabbit-like Moglins. These beings live in the many lands and cities of Lore. Mountainous regions, seaside ports, and monster filled deserts are all reached from the starting village of Battleon.

Quests are avaliable at almost any level and outnumber the varied species. From short hunt-and-kill quests to elaborate travels across the land following a familiar looking Frogzard hunter. Monsters can also be attacked individually without undertaking a quest to gain experience, gold, or just satisfy the urge to kill things.

Elements play an important role in combat. Weapons, armor, spells, and shields all are strong in one or more elemental atritbute. Enemies can be strong or weak in elements as well. Finding out what element is needed to maximize damage given or minimize damage received is accomplished by looking at the foe's in-match status screen. Weapons and other equipment can be quickly swapped during battle to allow for the best setup possible with items on hand. Pets from the pet shop can be switched in battle as well to enhance elemental damage.

Combat is a single screen, limited animation, turn-based encounter. Any game controlled companions of the player will randomly attack or not in the same turn as the player themselves. This includes any pets or quest related characters along for the ride.

Rating: 6/10 Despite the simple visuals and limited animations AQ is very enjoyable. The quests allow for a wide variety of gameplay options. The limited weapons allowed to free players is a slight hinderance but not enough to limit play of the game.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Neo Steam

Game: Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent

Publisher: Atlus Online

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Packages that increase experience gained. Crowns can also be purchased and used to buy customizing items as well as consumables that boost various stats.

Review: The game takes place on Chrysalis, a steampunk universe with war being waged between two nations fighting over the ancient technology of Neo Steam. The Republic of Rogwel believes in advancing technology to betterment of all. The Kingdom of Elerd wishes to promote a more ecological path, preferring to use the energy of Neo Steam to heal the environment.

Both nations are home to many races, some that are remnants of a former Taxn Alliance. Elves, Humans, and the wolf-like Lupine are common sights. There are also the Pom, a mechanically inclined race that resembles walking bundles of fluff.

There are many targets available for combat and numerous quests to defeat them. Besides the main story line quests there is a character that has lists of quests to help various residents of the towns. There is also the option of attacking players or characters from the opposing nation. This means that outposts of one's own nation may be attacked at any time with quest related characters falling in the melee. They will reappear after a time, assuming the enemy players have been defeated or moved on.

A small pet can be evolved and trained to use skills that assist their owner. Attacking, healing, and teleporting their boss to town are just a few.

Skills are gained and improved by spending Skill Points and Training Points. One Skill Point is used each time a skill is learned or increased. Training Points are spent in increasing amounts depending on the level of the skill, the higher the level, the more Training Points required. While both Skill and Training Points are gained each time a character levels Training Points can also be acquired by using training stations outside the gates of major towns.

Moving between towns and outposts is accomplished a couple of different ways. Balloons can ridden to outposts and other regions in the field. A subway system is used to move from town to town. The subway system uses a traditional train or a one person submarine depending on the destination.

Rating: 8/10 The variety of foes and quests makes for long hours of play without any loss of interest. The training stations are a great way to utilize the downtime required for minor things like eating, sleeping, and bathroom breaks. While having one's pet out and assisting can make leveling it faster it does require a large amount of food to keep them happy and active.