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This District Is For Fighting
OG Planet has been around long enough to establish itself as a decent outlet or online portal for casual MMOs. One of their newest games is Zone 4 Fight District, a sort of hybrid beat-e’m-up RPG. The game’s concept relies on a mixed structure of gameplay elements that looks good on paper and seems decent in-game but ultimately fails to deliver any notable thrills due to the excruciatingly slow process of leveling and grinding process. Nevertheless, there's more to this game than that and you can find out what the rest of the features are like and how the game breaks down in this Zone 4 Fight District review.
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At the heart of Zone 4 FD there lies a standard walk-around RPG mode, which is where players start off in the game. From here it’s possible to do versus matches, mob grinding sessions, gang fights and arcade rounds through beat-e’m-up scenarios reminiscent to classics like The Warriors, Final Fight and Streets of Rage. There are free-for-all battles where dozens of players pile into a room and duke it out without any restrictions, as well as party PvP modes for guilds and several grinding areas, too.
As mentioned in the previous section, the game contains a smattering of this and that and has a nice cache of playable modes and options for players to use. In addition to all these modes the game boasts a wide variety of clothing options, fighting styles (there are base styles and branching styles after reaching certain levels) and special moves that can be purchased from trainers.
While much of this sounds grand-fantastic (and simply exploring these options are enthralling to some extent) the problem is that just about all the customization features are only rent-worthy (permanent purchases being cash shop only for most items). Couple this in with the poor execution of the gameplay and what’s on paper starts looking a little less exciting.
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Gameplay - Part 1
There’s a heck of a lot there inside Zone 4, and I really wanted to like this game. However, there are so many drawbacks present that it makes it really hard to appreciate the concept more than the poor delivery of the dull and oftentimes repetitive gameplay mechanics.
First off, the controls for the game are somewhat stiff and ill-responsive. While the lag isn’t too bad for most versus and arcade rounds, the fact that there is a delay when trying to evade and counter makes for sloppy attempts at technical fights. And even though the styles are somewhat varied in the moves players have access to...the biggest drawback is that a player who relies on cheap tricks to win a match can do so, throwing all skill and technique right out the window.
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Gameplay - Part 2
If that’s not bad enough, the game’s “grinding” mode where players pound on NPC mobs to level-up and earn some quick cash is one of the most tedious modes out of any game I’ve ever played. It’s stiff, boring and terribly off-putting. The worst part about it is that given that there are so few people playing beginner versus matches that grinding on NPCs is about the only way to effectively reach level 10 (where more fighting styles can be unlocked). This creates a piss-poor dilemma for most newbies, as they’ll have to settle for a lot of pointless button mashing in order to unlock the option to fight with a style they’d prefer to use, or compete in versus matches with players around the same level.
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Graphics And Sound
The visual aesthetics of a game never really had to go over and beyond to impress me in order to receive a good score. While this game is certainly no Vindictus, it does carry an appeasing enough graphical style to get the message across. The cel-shaded characters and 80s themed environments are very reminiscent of classic arcade titles like Punisher and Nick Fury or Captain America and The Avengers. The developers did a spot-on job of giving the game a good arcade feel similar to Die Hard Arcade on the Sega Saturn or Fighting Force for the N64 and PSX, while at the same time breathing a little bit of visual originality into the game as well.
The audio isn’t bad either, containing catchy tunes worth forgetting once you close out the client, as well as the standard-fare heaping helping of thuds, smacks and whacks gamers might expect from a typical arcade beat-e’m-up…only this time it’s all contained within an MMO.
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I suppose the main thing to consider for a game like this is whether or not that the features it does have are worth your time to play over and over again. In some regards, given that there are a variety of fighting styles on the game, and the special abilities, counter attacks and team-combos all look pretty cool and are fun to pull off, there’s the undeniable attachment of the grinding to consider (and there’s a heck of a lot of it, too) and the somewhat shoddy response timing from the controls, as well.
Still, if you can manage to look past these faults there are some solid replay values intact for Zone 4 Fight District, similar to any other MMORPG out there such as 2029 Online, Maple Story or La Tale.
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It’s a little weird that OG Planet would have a game so similar to their other remarkably well-done Lost Saga, because after playing both games it becomes obvious which one is the better title and definitely worth playtime, and without a doubt that game is Lost Saga. Still, there aren’t any other fighting games out there quite like Zone 4 Fight District and for people looking for a grind-heavy MMO with beat-e’m-up qualities I would first suggest that they try out Min Communications' Ran Online, which sports a better gameplay and leveling pace. If that doesn’t float your boat, though, only as a last resort should you give Zone 4 Fight District a try.