"Another MMORPG with a lot of promise, provided you have the patience to learn how to play and make the most of class skills!"

What!? ANOTHER MMORPG!? No, think again!
Set in a place far from the western lands, a newly founded colony enters turmoil when it reaches political discord and more importantly, it discovers the threat of a demon race, the Ak'Kan (otherwise known as the Merkhadians). This is now the base for Risk Your Life; a world where humans are bickering among themselves and are facing a threat that could destroy them if they don't come together!

Yeah, that's my interpretation of the intro of this game. It's quite good and much more in-depth if you compare it to others like FairyLand (of the same developer). The game is quite dark and the whole world is much more engrossing than I ever would have anticipated from a game that has been created from a team who has next to no past games for it's reputation.

Gameplay
9/10
The gameplay is excellent in this game. Anyone can pick up the controls in a snap if they every played other such MMORPGs as EverQuest, Ragnarok Online and Ultima Online. The controls are doubled, meaning you can use the mouse to control movement and auto-lock on your opponents, or you can use a familiar FPS system from any standard Shooter game, using the mouse to affect where you're heading while you're running. They best part is that the two systems don't overlap, having the simple control of pressing on ESC in order to toggle between both modes (one of the more ingenious control toggles I've seen in a long time in a MMORPG!)

As for movement, aside from unintended lockons to allies and enemies while dragging the movement cursor, the controls are fine (a quick nudge out of the way can make you break the lock-on). The FPS controls are very simple and mimic the Unreal Tournament style of movement, with the unusually placed WSAD keys for movement. There are also close hotkeys for sitting down and picking up nearby loot, C and E respectively. These hotkeys are quite well placed for defaults and I applaud CiB Net Station for making it so user-friendly. On top of that, they add a mini-map that indicates your location and the location of enemies, party members and neutral players. You can even look up an area map in order to find out where you're going from a land-wide view.

In combat, the lock-on from Mouse Mode is a blessing when you're lagging since you won't miss any hits on your opponent. In FPS mode, the actual weapon swinging is quite well done, since it judges hits on actual range from an enemy. Casting is also a breeze, with a targeter that appears when you select a spell to cast, with only right-clicking to quick-cast or holding it to charge up the spell if it's past level 1. The abilities are also quite easy to keep track of, since you can blindly use the skills instantly in order to find out their range and speed, in order to see how to combo the instant skills (indicative of being a warrior or defender).

Controls out of those modes are my main concern. When you go into your inventory, moving around items can be a drag since every item move has ping time with the servers, indicating that you're really moving them from slot to slot in your inventory. Other than that, personal shops and inventory/equipment is well balanced out and easy to use.

The game has quite the easy learning curve, but a steep difficulty increase. Unless you're rich and can afford to buy the best armor for your stats, you will be crying at how hard it eventually gets to kill some of the monsters later on, like at level 10. Pair that up with a 1.5% loss of your current EXP to the next level and it can get quite hard to level up at higher levels.

One thing about the gameplay that also got to me is how you can fall from any height and not die or receive any damage. You can literally run over mountains, jump off of them, and not have any damage at all.

Story
4/10
Ok, as I said before: the only story is what is given in the intro sequence or the official sources (game's website, instructions manual). In this case, it's the game's website that has the storyline. It's quite short, though there are promises of ingame story developments.
Not much more to say here, it's all in the intro.

Graphics
10/10
Yeah, they're that good. With graphics that rival Lineage 2 and movement/special effect flow that rivals EverQuest, this game gets a top-notch rating from me.

The movement flow is extremely well detailed. When running, you can see your shadow below you moving around and ROTATING as time passes in the game (shifting from day to night). The ambiant feel from the movement is excellent, as if you sit down and stand up, your weapon is not drawn. This makes for one run stance, then if you strike with your weapon, you start running with it in hand. This the type of attention to detail that caught my eye in this game.

Special effects are not without mention, either. When charging up a spell or initiating an instant ability, your character gracefully moves into position for using the selected skill. Combos of instant skills also get their own animation, earning even more praise in the graphics department.

The inventory has wonderful 2D graphics. The game's looks are incredible and each item sprite is unique.

Even swimming is interesting, considering the fact that it's completely useless right now. Swimming animation is well made and the water really ripples off of your body as the waves hit you.

Sound
8/10
Yes, the sound is very engrossing, albeit the lack of catchy background music. The special effect sounds are very aggressive in combat, further making it adrenaline pumping. The fun part is that the sound matches the looks of whatever skill you're using. The sound of your feet hitting the floor while running is also quite interesting, and annoying. This gets an 8 because of the lack of actual music.

Play Time
Unlimited, as with any MMORPG.

Replayability
With two races and around 8 advanced classes a piece, the replayability factor is already through the roof, especially since everything about this game is completely different from class to class.

Download, Buy, Pay for each month?
This game isn't out in live release yet, though in Open Beta this game is incredibly good. I suggest going out there, downloading this game and playing it RIGHT NOW.

Final Score (Not an average!)
8/10
Go and download this thing, you won't regret it.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/08/04


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