Even Mechs Weren’t Enough For NIDA
Poor, poor GameKiss. I really have a lot of respect for them as a free-to-play MMO portal that publishes games most players won’t encounter elsewhere. Their penchant for picking original multiplayer games includes FreeStyle: Street Basketball and their recently released, Valkyria Sky, which is a vertical-scrolling arcade MMORPG. I love the fact that these are the kind of MMOs that a lot of gamers long for and finally have a company to look forward to in bringing these original games to a global audience. However, at the same time, none of the games that GameKiss published have had a remarkable amount of quality put into their design, and in result many gamers are left with a game with an amazing concept and ultimately broken gameplay.
Having said all that, NIDA Online is yet another game that MMO fans and role-playing gamers can chalk up as being another cool MMORPG by Gamekiss with a great concept yet with nearly unplayable gameplay mechanics. And yes, NIDA Online really is as awful as I just said it is, which is a true shame because there are very few other games on the market that house what the game features.
Concept (4 out of 5)
A PvP-based, exploration game with a strong focus on partying and aggregating mobs for huge grind-fests isn’t anything particularly new, but with NIDA there are a number of unique elements attached to the classes and the concepts of gameplay that make it far more original and intriguing than other games out there.
The mount or pet system is varied for each class, and for the Artificer class in the game, they not only use guns and long range weapons (which are actually designed with a cool look and function quite well) but they also have the ability to man various mechanized robots at high levels. Each class also has special abilities that can be manipulated, including exercising the option to fly or glide using jetpacks or Elven wings, depending on the class.
A major drawback to the concept of the game’s premise is that it’s extremely hard to make money on the game and earning it is no easy task. Added to this, for the Artificers it costs money to reload guns while out on the field and for lower-levels it can be a painstakingly long session when trying to level up and earn extra cash given that many players will have to spend almost more money then they can make back during grind-fests. Just as an example, out of every ten monsters anywhere between two and six coins might drop. I really have no idea why the developers decided to make the game like this, but it was something that definitely turned off a lot of gamers while I was playing.
Gameplay (1 out of 5)
To put it simply: NIDA Online is broken. I don’t just mean it in the way of streamlined quests, or a clunky GUI, I mean broken in that all the cool ideas just seemed to have come out in the worst way imaginable. The controls are horribly useless; trying to move around with the keyboard is a challenge in itself given the awful response timing of pressing the key and waiting a while to see the character move in that direction. Navigating with the mouse is equally as disastrous, given that the camera has to be in a certain angle in order to move to the designated area that’s clicked on. It’s just a really painful experience.
As if the controls weren’t bad enough, the questing, tutorial and map is just a complete mess. I’d imagine during closed-beta a lot of gamers must have complained until they were blue in the face about all the things done wrong in NIDA, and some of the worst crimes committed against the players in the game is that the tutorial is almost completely useless. New players are just kind of thrown into the mix and given a long tutorial about all the important aspects of the game in one window. After that, poof, newbies are on their own. The NPCs don’t help worth one cent, as they will only offer the option to purchase equipment or partake in a level-designated quest. Information, guides or anything of the sort for really getting going is pretty much absent during actual gameplay. To make matters worse is that the short-key commands are all screwy and trying to modify small settings will result in turning off the sound or activating something that was supposed to be deactivated. Yeah, it’s one big, hot, smelly mess.
The only redeeming factor of the gameplay is the combat, sort of. It’s easy enough to click on an enemy and start attacking. It’s that easy. The problem is that if your character starts dying or strategic measures need to be employed, you can forget about it. This is one of those games where you stand still, click the attack button and watch (and hope) that your character is the one standing when all is said and done. It’s literally a few steps backward from a game like Red Cliff Online or IGG’s fantastically designed, 2029 Online.
Fun Factors (3 out of 5)
Some readers may be confused on how the game could have a great concept looming over its head, horrible gameplay afoot and halfway decent fun factors in place. Well, simply put, the gameplay is terrible but somewhat addictive given the concepts. There aren’t many MMO games out there that offer what NIDA Online supports; the mech combat, flying, customizable armor, and highly diverse weapon selection are all quite appealing features. Added to this, leveling in the game happens rather quickly, so it’s not like players have to grind for a ridiculous amount of hours in order to gain a few levels.
Of course, all the neat aspects featured in NIDA are hampered down greatly by all its gameplay faults and, ultimately, the fun factors suffer in spite of those gameplay drawbacks.
Graphics And Sound (1 out of 5)
At first I was going to give the game a two out of five for its visual and audio aesthetics, but when I went back in to grab a few snapshots, the graphics were just really awful and the music is nothing praiseworthy, either. Although, I suppose these two features suffer even more granted that the rest of the game just feels so unpolished.
The best way to describe the visual look and themes of NIDA Online is like a more zoomed in version of 2029 Online. At least IGG had the common courtesy to keep a certain zoom limit in place in 2029 so that some form of graphical integrity could be maintained. The problem with NIDA is that all the textures look like they were recycled from an MMO that was regurgitated out of the bowels of a 1998 PlayStation One game. What’s worse is that the model files aren’t too far behind.
Now, I’m not a gamer who goes out of his way to solicit game designers to prostitute their game’s graphics out to the public at the expense of gameplay quality, such as Crysis, KillZone 2, Aion or Far Cry 2. However, everything in NIDA just falls apart under scrutiny and not even the visuals withhold enough originality or value as a standalone feature to make the game worthwhile, which is a real shame.
Overall (1 out of 5)
Original concepts or not, only gamers who are absolutely committed to NIDA’s MMO concepts and ideas would find the game remotely enjoyable. For everyone else it will be a painful experience in recognizing the kind of free-to-play game totally worth avoiding.
I can’t really recommend any other MMORPG out there that houses the same features as NIDA Online, given that it scours a broad range of genres and combines them into one really messed up MMO. However, for those of you who like MMOs that feature giant robots there is always Project of Planets, a free-to-play mechanaut MMORPG, as well as Exteel, which focuses mainly on third-person combat. For the standard knight-and-magic theme, there is Allods Online or Dekaron Online. And for projectile-based combat in an MMO gamers could always give 2029 Online a whirl or DarkEden. Whatever you do, though, just avoid NIDA Online if you want to avoid a headache.