Review by cheeseball341
"Great game - teaches you commitment"
Gameplay value - 9/10
I've long since quit MapleStory, but I still feel it's a worthwhile game, especially as it's (for the majority) free, and not particularly difficult to get into.
Although most MMORPGs require time, this one requires possibly the most of all. It takes hours of grinding and button mashing to procure the shiny green words LEVEL UP above your head. The feeling gained from this is possibly the most wonderful one you can get online. Although it gets tiresome from level 40 onwards, and even more so from level 55, it is fun and gives you a chance to make new friends. To visualise a screen, I'd say put Mario Bros, Pokemon and FFIX together, and you've got it. It's a cutesy MMORPG to say the least, but that doesn't mean it can't enthral players. Basically there are 6 main jobs. Beginner, Warrior, Bowman, Mage, Thief and Pirate. Beginners tend to stray towards Thief, Pirate or Mage, but they are all very useful and worth a shot. Basically, to sum it up - use fancy looking skills to mash carbon copies of the same monster for weeks. Sounds boring? It's not.
Graphics - 9/10
These cutesy graphics are quite superbly drawn, and the NPCs and monsters have a wide variety (although a couple more Administrator NPCs would be nice) For a free game with no actual profit, it is quite smooth and something even Square Enix would be proud of (and we all know how highly they value graphics). Every skill has a different graphic, but they get tiresome after a while. The backgrounds are beautifully done, the clouds seem to move with you and every area looks extremely realistic. They add new graphics quite often, which is applaudable.
Sound FX/Music - 5/10
Here's something that lacks. The music suits the graphics, being very cutesy, even the gangsta city music. It's novel for a while, but you'd be best off switching that annoying sound off and picking some nice music of your own to play while bashing Space and Ctrl. Each move and skill has it's own sound, which is cool, but the 'putt putt' of Magic Claw hitting a Zombie Mushroom over and over again can get quite aggravating.
Community - 7/10
I can't dislike the community simply because of the handful (or several handfuls) or scammers, hackers and Kill-stealers out there. The majority of people are kind, understanding human beings, who will help you through the difficult process of levelling. The ever present system of parties and guilds is in this game also, but it's actually very competent compared to certain other games. The party system is simple and quite easy to use. The guild system is slightly harder, but not by much. Also, people here are willing to bargain for items, friendships and everything else on this little game. Unfortunately, the higher you go, the worse it gets. A large number of high level players are all hackers, and as such are still quite immature. The secret to getting a good number of friends is by getting a guild, like my old guild of Peerless is Bera.
Controls - 10/10
I loved the controls of this game. They were superb and customizable to boot. For instance, the Mage class requires all sorts of potions and at least 8 buttons to activate spells. There are plenty, and the click n drag custom system is one of the best I've seen. The functions (party, equipment, items) are put on hotkeys that are easy to remember, and you can customize them too.
Availability - 9/10
First of all, it's free! Just go to the website and click download. There you are, all done. New patches come with the download too, so no worries. The actual crowdedness is easy to cope with, there are easily 150 maps in this game, all of which can take 4 or 5 people before succumbing to lag. Add the 20 channels and 5 or so servers and you have enough room for 75 thousand people at any given time. Of course, the markets and cities can take more, so that's even more capacity. But the problem is finding someone to go around with you on these maps. It takes 10 minutes to travel from continent to continent, which is monotonous is you're looking for someone to train with and your friend won't budge. But that's only a minor setdown.
Twists and Quirks - 10/10
Most games don't pay attention to reality. Maple does, however (at least to a certain extent). In the extreme cold/underwater you gradually lose health. If you fall from heights, you sustain damage. If you put on an oxygen tank underwater, you don't lose health. There is a little plagiarism (take the ship to Ariant, the desert continent, and I'm sure you'll start wondering when Disney will sue), but it's all in the name of good fun. It's fun little innovations like these that make the game so darn attractive.
Monsters - 10/10
These are the best enemies I've seen in a LONG while. It's very hard to come up with a plausible beginner fodder enemy, but here come the Blue Snails! It's amazing how simplistic the graphics are, and how well they've been put to use. Monsters are invented overnight for events, such as the Turkey, Cake Monster and Candle. I believe the Korean version has had Coca-Cola based monsters, which is funny in its own way. Mushrooms seem to be the theme here, with Green, Horned, Orange, Zombie, Blue and Giga Mushrooms all roaming the world of MapleStory. It seems most types of animals have been incorparated, from pigs and monkeys, to slimes and Lego giants, to fairies and penguins, and even one-eyed lizards and an Aztec God. Fantastic thinking and graphics. And of course, more keep coming, like griffins, leprechauns and probably a lot more I haven't been bothered playing with.
Replay Value - 10/10
Great. Just great. There's 5 classes, and at least 2 paths for each. There is also the legendary permanewb class, and the rare battle cleric and bansin. There are even more springing from these branches - Hybrid Spearman, Purestrength Warrior, and the fabled Battle Priest. Also, you can have up to three characters at a time, which is great. You can delete them at will using your D.O.B. Great idea to make more than one character at a time, or get one character strong enough to support others. Of course, it is quite time-consuming, so be prepared for that.
Questing - 7/10
Average questing in this game. There's what you would expect - lazy fairies who can't be bothered to hunt for green slime, old people who decide to give level 13s the job of going down an extremely hazardous area to deliver messages - nothing spectacular. The rewards seem a little dull. Who would cross continents, hunt down 3 diamonds (fairly rare/expensive) and kill dozens of random alien things to get free passage to a beach island? I mean, pay the 1.2k already! (Actually, since I had an Ice/Lightning mage, some of the best training from 40 onwards was on this beach island, so I did the quest). Slightly sub-par, and you don't get much for most quests - you can get a level 70 to hunt down the Solid Horns you need rather than labouring to do it yourself.
Tutorials - 10/10
Most games have tutorials that are as simple as to say 'Click here'. That stuff has been trashed and recycled now. Instead, the game starts you with a fun, graphically interesting tutorial, complete with apple costumes. Then follows an in-depth guide to the assigned keys. It follows with basic talking, item using, door/portal entering, hunting, picking up and a subtle jumping tutorial. It's very good, and doesn't go to the point of an NPC saying 'Oh no! I've lost my keys! Press Z to pick them them up!'. Instead, the characters tell you they're there to help, and give you rewards for completing the tutorials. Makes you feel special, doesn't it?
Overall - 9/10
Great game, made even more so because it's free! There's several sites devoted to the game, and the community isn't as bad as most (coughcoughRunescapecoughcough). Try it, and if you don't like it, uninstall. It's only a gigabyte or so, which is great, because almost any modern computer can play it. Be prepared for months of devotion - you'll need it. Hitting Green Mushrooms with a Broadsword for several months does get boring. But it's still one of the best MMORPGs on the net. It's a great game, and I applaud Wizet and Nexon for having the guile to come up with an ingenious idea as such. A job well done, and I'd like to see some even better projects in future.
I'm very sure that there's a lot that I've missed out, but this guide is intended to make people believe that this game, which has received a myriad of negative remarks from a lot of people, is still at heart quite a fun, interesting game to play with friends. So go for it, but don't let it get in the way of other, more important things (for it is very addictive).
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/31/06, Updated 06/26/09
Game Release: MapleStory (US, 11/30/05)
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