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Kicking It Old-School With Twelve Sky
The martial-arts based MMORPG from Aeria Games is a grind-heavy PvP game that’s surprisingly light on story, questing or anything other than grinding. The game features three different races, each with their own selection of weapons and skills.
The biggest problem of Twelve Sky 2 is not with the game’s lacking aesthetics, animations, or even with the combat. Twelve Sky 2’s major flaw resides in the fact that it has absolutely nothing going for it outside of grinding. A few dungeon instances, hourly battlefields and a solid fighting system really can’t save the game from being a somewhat lesser version of Min Communication’s Ran Online. This one-note sonata MMO could have been much greater than what it was. Keep reading to find out how the rest of the game breaks down in this Twelve Sky 2 review.
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The entire point of a game concept is to house features, ideas and a general direction for the game’s design and play mechanics. The problem with Twelve Sky 2 is that the concept is entirely one-note and absolutely nothing more. The tutorial missions even designate the sameness gamers will experience as they “progress" throughout the game. Even the classes are very standard fare, with players designating what kind of fighter they want to be simply by adding points into a skill tree and basically calling it a day.
Much like other older MMORPGs out there such as Fly for Fun, Deicide or Conquer Online, Twelve Sky 2’s conceptual focus relies on moving players from one grind quest to the next. The entire game’s premise revolves around questing in order to grind; grinding in order to level; leveling in order to grind higher level monsters…and then you PvP.
It’s a rather sad state of affairs given that Twelve Sky 2 has a really solid gameplay foundation at its base, yet much of it is foregone for an overly simplistic concept that gets stale very quickly.
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The game takes a monotonic approach to questing like I’ve never seen before. While both Twelve Sky and Ran Online featured level-based quests that required completion of one quest to unlock another, the difference was that after level 15 Ran had gamers taking on multiple quests. In Twelve Sky, even after level 30 the game’s ham-fisted approach with singular quests came across like giving adding and subtraction problems to a trigonometry fanatic.
Players who have a tough time getting started in MMOs will find it easy to grab a foothold in Twelve Sky 2, but after grabbing that foothold there’s nothing more and nothing else. The game doles out one grind-fest quest after another, requiring players to kill ‘X’ monster ‘Y’ amount of times. The grinding never lets up except for the hourly battlefield encounters; otherwise mid-level players really have nothing else to look forward to. Not only that, but the game's community is so focused on buying and selling high level equipment (since there isn't anything else to do) it's a quest in itself just to find someone to party with...you know, so you can grind some more.
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I’ll talk about my gripes with the gameplay and then get into the sweet nectarine of Twelve Sky 2. My major (and only) gameplay related gripe with TS2 is that there are no keyboard controls for the characters; all traveling must be handled with mouse clicks. Being able to run around using the WASD or directional buttons would have made the game a lot easier to play. But other than that I think that the gameplay has just about everything else implanted with spot-on perfection.
The fighting mechanics allow for combo attacks and easy skill manipulation; it also happens to be one of those item-hungry games where players will zap through their resources about as quickly as they acquire them. The leveling system is also commendable given that players who fight higher level monsters get more experience (duh) but it’s not impossible to defeat bosses single-handedly or take on high level mobs alone. The fact that a little strategy and timing can be used during combat to even out a fight makes the game somewhat enjoyable. However, I would not go as far as to say that Twelve Sky 2’s combat is as effective, diverse or strategically inclined as the vastly superior mechanics found in Red Cliff (or better known as the upcoming Heroes of the Three Kingdoms).
Still, gamers who like easy button-mashing in their MMOs will find a suitably workable system in Twelve Sky 2, perfectly fine-tuned for endless hours of monster grinding.
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Graphics And Sound
At first glance this game doesn’t look all that great, but when you wheel in and zoom up close to the characters you’ll find that the game has extremely detailed texture mapping. Rivets, ruffles and fine trimming can all be seen in great detail upon close inspection and I thought that was a rather impressive inclusion by the developers.
The fighting animations are also quite nice. Appropriate slashes, swings and movements even correlate to enemies being beheaded or impaled to the corresponding attack. Gamers who relish classy fighting moves will probably be impressed most of the time from the skill-set and fighting mechanics in Twelve Sky 2.
However, outside of animations and texture mapping, the game really doesn’t have anything else going for it visually. Many of the environmental effects and model files are all standard fare of what you might expect from a game made back in 2005.
The audio in the game isn’t bad, although most of the good musical tunes belong to the Dragon Clan with their upbeat action-movie score. Other than the aforementioned, though, everything else is just standard-fare.
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While I hate to say it, I was actually extremely disappointed with Twelve Sky 2. I went in with high hopes and came out bored and ultimately let down by the poor implementation of interesting or engaging quests. The drab look the game carries with it doesn’t really help for immersion purposes, as opposed to games like Martial Empires, Heroes of Telera or TERA Online.
Ultimately, Twelve Sky 2 is just another grind-heavy MMORPG much like the original Twelve Sky, which is not quite as good as other grind-heavy MMOs such as Ran Online, or dare I say, Rohan Online. Still, gamers looking for a grind-only, medieval martial arts game based on Asian mythology could always give Twelve Sky 2 a try.