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Vindictus Hands-On Preview: An Amazing Physics-Based MMO

by: William Usher ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Once known as Mabinogi Heroes, Vindictus is an action-packed next-generation MMO with state-of-the-art visuals and unparalleled physics-based gameplay.

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    Destruction Never Looked So Good

    Kicking a knoll into a wall   Nexon and devCat’s unbelievably polished next-generation MMORPG sets a standard that even most console games can’t measure up to. What's more is that the future of MMOs could definitely sway in a new direction if this game manages to attain a loyal enough following.

    The first public, closed-beta test was held for the upcoming free-to-play MMO, Vindictus, shortly after the gameplay was on display at ComicCon, which reaped very positive results from most gaming media outlets. This Vindictus preview basically runs through what you can expect from the game and what some of the in-game features are like...and anyone who has been following this game since it debuted as Mabinogi Heroes will want to keep reading.

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    Cinematic Quality Graphics

    Cinematics are all done in-engine   The first thing anyone might notice about Vindictus once they boot it up is that the game pretty much looks like most cinematic sequences in common big budget games (with the graphic settings on high, of course). The opening sequence of the game entitled “Prologue" is a playable mission that helps acquaint players with the game’s next-generation play scheme that revolves primarily around physics-based gameplay…yes, physics-based gameplay.

    Running on a modified version of Valve's renowned Source Engine, the gameplay in Vindictus is strikingly solid to have such a rich visual atmosphere. The latest in bloom, high quality normal mapping and clothes physics (complete with tearing and shredding) is on full display, right at the start of the game. What’s more is that these amazing graphics aren’t just there as some ploy to get gamers to oogle and stare in awe at the amazing visuals, they actually serve in-game purposes. For instance, if a player kicks down a support beam whatever it was supporting will fall to the ground and if someone or something happens to be underneath it, they’ll get crushed…this even applies to boss battles.

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    Taking Physics To The Next Level

    Clothes and armor rip and tear up during combat   The key element to the gameplay in Vindictus is its reliance on physical interaction between the player and mobs, as well as the player, the mobs and the environment. Just about every visible object that isn’t part of the ground or composed of the walls can be picked up, broken down or used as a tool of destruction to whatever end the player desires.

    But picking up and breaking things isn’t the only purpose they serve, it’s how players unlock titles, earn health bonuses or uncover hidden objects within an instance. The developers have done a remarkable job in ensuring that the interactivity levels are there to compel players to search, explore and ultimately, destroy everything in sight. In addition to this, players will have their armor damaged and visibly wrecked during combat, with the physics being used to display loose shreds of clothes and hanging plate mail.

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    Partying Through An Instance

    Carrying an NPC to safety   Unfortunately, due to the game’s non-targeting gameplay procedures, all the combat is handled via instances. A handful of players can party up together on a boat, which is usually designated by the instance or battle selected, and then the party leader can choose to depart to that battle. Before leaving out there are additional achievement points that can be chosen for each unlocked stage to earn extra experience, skill points and gold. Players can only unlock new stages by advancing the storyline so the developers managed most of the match-making based on questlines rather than level, which adds a nice twist to the game, insofar that high levels and low levels aren't immediately basked in the nepotism found in most other MMOs.

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    Keeping The NPCs Simple Makes It Better

    The Mercenary outpost   In a lot of other RPGs you’ll head into the main square or a shop and it’s crowded with players, all jam-packed into an area trying to talk to the NPC as well as each other. Vindictus completely eliminates the NPC-crowding by getting rid of NPCs. Yes, this game has no 3D NPC avatars oftentimes found in most MMORPGs released in this day and age.

    Some of the beautiful art featured in the game   Instead, Vindictus opts for a more old-school effect for interacting with store owners, mercenary members and soldiers: 2D sprites. That may sound like a step backward in our modern age of super-advanced visual effects and high-end HDR lighting. However, for the game it makes perfect sense having 2D avatars because players can interact with them without the worry of being bombarded by a hundred other players all crowding around the character. Added to this, there are certain story related elements attached to these characters that only change after players individually access or unlock specific story-related quests.

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    Home Sweet Home

    The town hub in the CBT of Vindictus   The towns in Vindictus, much like the battle scenarios, are instanced areas where players are grouped into various non-visible channel hubs. Within these towns players can talk to the 2D NPCs, acquire story quests or side-quests, as well as engage in crafting or trading/exchanging items with other players.

    Considering that the game could easily fall into one of those “What the heck do I do next?" situations, the game has small icons on the ground indicating where players should go and what they should do next to either progress the story or unlock new content. Surprisingly enough, the game is extremely casual-friendly to be a hardcore, physics-based beat-e’m-up title.

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    More Classes To Come

    A high level Lann Warrior   While the closed beta gave gamers a lot to oogle and awe over, there was a strikingly limited supply of character classes to play, with only the Lann Warrior and the Fiona Warrior available to play. Their differences were mainly in that Lann uses dual swords and Fiona supplicates the second sword for a shield (turning the right mouse button action into a shield bash instead of an additional combo attack).

    More classes will be revealed soon and hopefully will be available to play in the next phase of the game's beta.

    As it stands, Vindictus is shaping up to be an addictive, fun-filled action brawler that should keep most MMO gamers who are looking for something unique and different, quite busy for a very long time.

    For further more information on Vindictus feel free to visit the Official Website.

    For more action-oriented MMO games be sure to check out the complete MMO Action Game Directory here at Bright Hub.



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