Review by SoulRaiderX

"Nothing like Ragnarok Online, get over yourselves reviewers"

Maplestory is a F2P MMORPG designed by Nexon. It has a unique and somewhat appealing style, instead taking an approach of a 2D sidescroller game. Often overrated by users and compared to other MMORPGs such as Ragnarok Online, Maplestory is far below the standards of any MMORPG.

Graphics
Maplestory's graphics are 2D. Although this may appeal to some people, most of the animations are choppy. In fact, the designers have gotten pretty lazy during the overall graphics. Just to point out an example to support the above sentence, if you have your character facing one direction and then change his direction to the opposite, you may notice that he is now holding your equipped weapon in the opposite hand. This shows the quality of the graphics, as the designers, instead of actually redrawing the weapon in the same hand, just inverted the image. It isn't very noticeable, and neither are most of the sketchy animations and graphics, but they're there.

Sound
Most of the music in Maplestory music has a sound similar to the music you'd hear in elevators or halls in a hotel. It's pretty boring and quite often, should be shut off altogether and replaced with actual music of your choice. The sound effects are medium quality at most, but are often recycled and used in different skills. Nothing to expect here, surprisingly enough.

Gameplay
Maplestory is a side-scrolling MMORPG. This changes the gameplay style a bit, as it isn't just clicking around. Instead, you use your assigned button to attack monsters. Depending on your character, you may also have different skills to use, and your attacks can also be used ranged. Once your attack hits the enemy, it deals damage, and the enemy will eventually die once it's HP depletes, most likely dropping items along with it.

There are also party quests, referred to in-game as PQs, that players may go on instead of useless monster bashing. Basically, you find a party, and when you have enough people, you join a PQ. Unfortunately, in order to join a PQ, you have to wait for the previous PQ to end. This adds to a lot of waiting time and a lot of underground activity. When you finally get into a PQ, you often find more useless monster bashing and other small ill-designed quests that are almost entirely not fun at all. There are a couple of stages that your Party must run through before completing the PQ, and you have a time limit. The only thing fun is the rewards, actually earning the experience once you finish the PQ, as everything is repetitive.

Now, this may seem fun at beginning levels, and it usually is for newbies. However, later levels drag horrible grinding along with them. If you intend to play Maplestory for an extended period of time, be prepared to gain 00.10% experience per monster kill, and decreasing as you go on. It isn't easy; it isn't fun; it's ridiculous. It's grinding at it's worst.

Most of the monster AI, set aside a few, are done very badly. Most monsters don't even attack back, just slowly approach you and let you hit them some more. The ones that do attack can only have a single type of attack, other than running into you. It is truly a badly planned out system.

The quests offered in the game are either fetch x amount of items, or kill x amount of monsters. Or a mixture of the two. Party quests are a different story, but are also repetitive after the 12th time or so. Nothing new to see here.

Characters
You have 4 choices of classes as it stands; Warrior, Mage, Archer, or Thief. Each class then further branches off into other classes with their own skills. When you first reach a new class, or gain a new skill, it may seem fun. But as usual, it gets redundant. Imagine using that skill 100+ times just to level up once, then using it again. And again. And again.

Although the classes branch off higher, it requires desperate amounts of grinding just to reach the higher levels. Be prepared to fall asleep on your keyboard.

The items look neat. Most regular shop items for your class are offered in 3 or 4 colours each. However, as expected, the best looking items come from the shop in which you need to pay real money. Items like a new hairstyle, new eyes, even a new skin colour can only be obtained this way. Other items, such as weapons and clothing, only last for 3 or 4 months or so, before you need to repurchase them. This even applies to pets. This is the way Nexon reels in money.

The in-game community of Maplestory is horrible. There are scammers almost everywhere, there are defamers that defame for no reason, there are hackers that avoid GMs like the plague and get away with hacking. In fact, if you were to follow a hacker, you could probably level up quicker than if you grinded on your own or even with a party. Users don't give a crap, whether you ask them for 100 mesos, or a brand new weapon. They act as if you aren't even there.

Story
There is none. Quests don't count.

To wrap up this review, Maplestory may be interesting for newbies at lower levels, but at higher levels, be prepared for the dreaded 00.01% experience per monster. The frames in the animations are very choppy, the music is in no way unique and it adds to the boredom sensation of the overall game. The classes also show absolutely no uniqueness from other MMORPGs. I'm being generous when I give this game a 2/10.

As a seperate point, I'd like to compare and contrast Ragnarok Online with Maplestory. Many users nowadays say that Maplestory is the same, if not closely similar, to Ragnarok Online.

RO and Maplestory have 2 different types of gameplay systems. Maplestory is a sidescroller, RO is an overhead view. Maplestory requires you to press buttons, RO is a click-to-play. Maplestory has horribly composed music, Ragnarok Online has decent and catchy music for most, if not all areas. Maplestory has badly put-together animations and frames, RO has animations that flow fluently. Maplestory has horrible monster AI, RO has a much, MUCH better AI. RO offers more classes than Maplestory, and more unique ones, at that. Both have grinding, but RO is overall a better experience for a novice MMORPG player.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 04/02/08

Game Release: MapleStory (US, 11/30/05)


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