Review by Black_Jack25

Reviewed: 08/31/06 | Updated: 04/07/09

Mushrooms! Everywhere! Re-review

And so, a good 3 years after my previous review of MapleStory, I return, with a much more detailed, mature, and serious review of this game. 3 Years ago as was at the tender age of 14, young, easily excited, and utterly bored with my life. Now I'm older, not as excitable as before, educated about the gaming spectrum, and still somehow playing this game.

Let's get started shall we?

(Starting Off Score: 8/10) Getting MapleStory on to your computer is still an easy task. Just go to Find the MapleStory section, and download. It's still a huge game, taking up several gigs of memory, which leads to, inevitably, a long download time. So, as before, go off and watch a movie or read a book. Once you get the game set up for play and you have an account, you can get started.

You're still treated with the same opening login screen with the same catchy title tune, and there are several new servers with interesting names to choose from. Character Creation has been, for the most part, redone. Choosing your skin tone and clothing is still limited to little options, but this time around you can choose your gender and the Dice rolling Stat system has been completely removed, a lovely bonus which saves you those agonizing two minutes trying to find a starting DEX or what-have-you that you want. And progressing through the earlier levels still blows by like lightning. I should also mention the not-so-recent addition of a fifth class, Pirates, in addition to the Warrior, Magician, Thief, and Archer. Anyway, once you've created a budding young Anime-esque adventurer you're dumped onto Maple Island, the beginner's realm, where you're offered a crash course on questing, leveling, learning the controls and whatnot. Being that the game originated in Korea and had a pretty shoddy job of being translated into English, expect to see several typos when talking to NPC's and the like.

(Game play: 6/10) My eyes have been opened, and I have seen what it is like to be a Grinder. It is not fun. Well, actually, it could be, depending on the type of player you are. Actual game play mechanics are rather solid. Being that MS is a 2-D side-scroller, it's relatively easy to pick up how it all works. It's simple and easy, and that may be where the game is flawed. It seems a little too simple. Attacking is linked to one button, Ctrl, and holding your finger down on it treats you to watching your character swing or shoot repeatedly the weapon he/she is holding. Each class comes with skills to somewhat spice this up, but it's mostly the same swing or shot with some flashy graphic added on to it. This applies to, arguably, every class available. The flashy graphics are nice and all, but an actual change in what your character is doing would be even better.

That aside, remember how I said that going through the early levels is easy? Once you hit about level 18 or so, expect leveling to become much, much, MUCH, more tedious. I know if the leveling system were simpler, then everyone would be level 200 (the maximum level in the game) in a heartbeat. But that is not, in my humble opinion, what MMO's are all about. There's more to it than that, MapleStory. Not everyone wants to kill thousands of monsters to fill up ten percent of their EXP bar. I know there are not many alternatives, but I don't want to spend a month going from level 60 to 61. And, what's worse is that once I DO hit that level, I don't have much of a sense of accomplishment, which is vital to a good game play experience.

(Graphics: 9/10) If there's one place where Maple Story absolutely shines, it's in the graphics department, I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Holy pixilated crap, this game is pretty. With the more recent dozens of patches that brought new worlds to explore. I found myself gawking at every conceivable background I came across. With the environment out of the way, let's move on to the characters and NPC's. Your virtual avatar is a big-headed, large eyed, kid, probably in his/her preteens, who, more than likely, has a really large stick of some sort in his/her hands. There's a plethora of available clothing options available to you later in came, only made better by NX cash, the game's excuse for you to spend Real Life money on it. The Cash Shop has expanded quite a bit in 3 years, and even flashier and impossibly cool clothing is available (I myself got a NX card for my birthday last year and used it to literally turn my character into a Centaur. Best months of my MS career, those were). The not-so-recent addition of the 4th job advancement has opened the doorway to even more impressive skills and attacks, which, did I mention, are really flashy and, for lack of a better word, cool? The monsters in game are also incredibly varied and... Creative. You have everything from slime blobs to animated mushrooms to monkeys to snakes to weird snakes with one eye to demons to clockwork toys to possessed, evil teddy bears to dragons to seahorses and list just goes on and on and on...

(Sound: 7/10) Many people have a tendency to gripe about the sound work of this game. Honestly I don't really give a flying ****. Supposedly, the background music is made to match your environ and it does a fairly good job of this. In the back alleys of Kerning City you're treated to a funky hip-hop theme, while in Sleepywood you’re treated to, aptly enough, a calm, peaceful melody to listen to while you're busy beating the tar out of a golem. Some of the soundtracks are generic and boring, while other ones are actually quite catchy. It's really a matter of opinion once you get down to it. The Sound Effects are OK for the most part. Swings, grunts, dying screams of pain and blasts are all delivered to you, yet oddly enough, your character, is the only character that never makes a vocal sound at all in the game. Not even a grunt. While every other monster is given a dying scream, when you die, a gravestone falls from the sky and your character's ghost is seen hovering above it. The gravestone makes a lovely and familiar THUD, but you still don't make a sound. NPC's don't talk as well, but, then again, you're reading what they have to say.

(Community: 5/10) This is more of a personal gripe if anything but I find the community of Maple Story to be mainly filled with idiotic noobs. The Player Economy is currently on the verge of suicide, and getting together a coherent and workable party is an arduous feat. Of course, this is the internet, and not everyone has a collective IQ of 80, but it would still be nice to not have to pay one million times my weight in Mesos (the currency of the game) to buy a set of throwing stars. You have a higher probability of getting it off of the monsters than racking up the money to pay for it. I've heard rumors that in the early days of MS the community was a lot nicer and smarter, but apparently not anymore.

(Replay Value: 7/10) If you enjoy torturing yourself with endless grinding then you'll find that making new characters and starting from the beginning is not all that difficult. You're allowed a maximum 3 characters per server (and there's at least 6 of them out right now) and you'll find that testing out a new play style is actually quite fun. If you're used to playing a mage, Switch to warrior to spice up the day. Of course, getting to level 120 was a pain the first time around, and it's more than a little disheartening getting there a second time.

(Personal Final Score: 6/10) In general MapleStory is a good time waster. If you're bored and really have nothing to do, seeing as you've beaten every console game you own or happen to not own any console games, or WoW, for that matter. MapleStory is a good game to play. There are definitely better games to waste your time with, but for the most part, MS is free to play, and you don't have to spend money to unlock everything the game has to offer (you can just spend money to make it easier on you), which made it good enough for me to waste my time with. (Better than RuneScape, I'll tell you that.)

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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

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