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Enter The World Of JingWu
How often do you find MMO games that offer Tekken-style fighting? You don’t and you won’t, unless you plan to play World of JingWu Online. It’s a fighting game that must be played online with hundreds of other gamers in a mixture of 1-on-1 or 3-on-3 bouts against other players from around the world. World of JingWu happens to be a spiritual successor to the now defunct KwonHo Online, and while the OurGame rendition of JingWu is only available in Chinese (for now), it’s still easily playable by just about anyone willing to experience one of the best, original MMO games out there.
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JingWu probably won’t “wow” any gamers like Aion Online, or create any framerate slowdown on any computer made within the last three years, but it does look fairly decent enough. Considering that there is still the possibility of a whole bunch of players crowding into a room to view a match (or participate in one) the visuals aren’t too overbearing in order to maintain good gameplay speeds. That was smart on the side of the designers as it ensures that the game runs very smoothly and allows for easy access to combos and counters.
The character designs are probably just a tad bit better than what you might see in a game like Ran Online or GunZ: The Duel. More accurately, the characters look fairly similar to Tekken Tag Tournament. The stage designs aren’t bad and feature a diverse selection of East-Asian themed scenarios, including dojos, temples, an empty park in the city or a detailed museum. The stages, nonetheless, offer a good sense of the game’s fighting-theme aesthetic and add to the overall visual appeal to JingWu. Just don't expect PS3 quality HD visuals when boot up JingWu, though.
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Like the intro paragraph states, this is basically an online-only version of Tekken; you pick a character, level them by fighting, take on quests (yes, the game has quests) participate in mini-games or join a Gym (equivalent to a guild). It doesn’t need a storyline or a ridiculous excuse to step into the arena to start throwing punches and linking combos. If you feel like playing an online fighter for free with MMO-style qualities, then that should be reason enough to want to play.
The free-to-play model is also put to good use as players can purchase cash-shop items but can very well get by, level up and have a heck of a lot of fun without putting a dime or dollar into the game.
As players get stronger more skills become available that can help sculpt your fighter into the ultimate martial artist. The setup is pretty cool, insofar, that the servers are level-restricted and prompt players to fight, experiment and settle into a fighting style that best suits them while playing among other players around the same level. It’s easy to pick up and play, level earn some cash and even acquire rare bonus cards that can help boost experience points, deal more damage or increase the power of skills. It’s literally like the designers took everything that makes standard MMOs fun and put it on top of a fighting game engine. In other words, the design concept works very well for World of JingWu.
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Graphics, items, customization and everything else surrounding the bucket doesn’t mean much if the bucket can’t hold water, right? Well, coinciding with that reference I can proudly say that if World of JingWu is a bucket and the fighting mechanics is water, then the game can definitely hold “water”.
The fighting is extremely fluent, so much so that it’s probably the most fluent fighting game I’ve seen or played in recent history. JingWu uses a more free-form kind of combo system that puts the control in the hands of players. This means that as one combo ends players can string together another combo just as quickly, allowing for an extremely fast-paced fight.
Each style works as a class system and has its pros and cons, but the styles are finely tuned for players who enjoy specific fighting disciplines. Judo requires a lot of skill and patience during a fight, while Tae Kwon Do is more focused on combo-timing and counter-attacking, with Capoeira being an off-balanced style with a strong offensive that relies on a lot of quick attacks. The varying styles have a huge playing difference and vary even more as the player levels up.
What’s more is that a fighter’s abilities can be increased simply by using various combos or special skills. The more these moves are used the more devastating they become and the easier it is to link them into more dangerous combination attacks. It’s an extremely intuitive system that takes all the promising aspects from leveling and skills from an MMO but with the fluent gameplay and controls from a typical 3D fighting game.
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The World of JingWu is an excellent MMO concept by OurGame and Vertigo Studios. While the graphics aren’t the best and the soundtrack resembles some bad 90’s rock music, the rock-solid fighting mechanics and excellent match-making setup keeps this game fresh and intuitive for as long as gamers are willing to put in the time.
The fact that grinding is no longer a chore but actually fun and that the skill setup drastically alter the pace of a fight makes JingWu a truly noteworthy game to experience. There are no other games out there quite like JingWu in the world of MMOs and if you couple this in with the fact that the gameplay and customization features are quite solid, then you have yourself a real MMO champ in the midst. If you can't speak or read Chinese I suggest you take a look at an English Game Guide and give World of JingWu a try because you won't be disappointed.