Review by Wolf_Coder
"A fast improving MMORPG"
This is an update to a review I made a while back, but I am going to review the game as though I have played it for the first time.
MapleStory is a side-scrolling MMORPG, which makes it stand out from your normal boring click the enemy and kill it sort of game. You jump around and kill things actively, which adds to the gameplay value over games such as World of Warcraft and such. There's lots of armor, so players can look unique and you won't see twelve thousand copies of yourself walking around. Overall it's a solid game.
The graphics are somewhat lacking in the animation, but are still drawn in an acceptable quality. You only have three frames of yourself while walking, which looks clunky, but the backgrounds and images are detailed and cartoon-ish (much like a story book). Everyone is drawn in a cute chibi-style like Anime, and it fits well with the whole game.
The music in this game is awful, so go right ahead and replace it with your favorite media playing program. The sounds in this game aren't bad, but you hear them billions of times. Also, some of the sounds are out of place, such as the panda teddys sounding like howling wolves when they die. This game isn't very easy on the ears, so be warned.
GAMEPLAY (The only score-effecting category):
You've got four classes to choose from and 2 to 3 branches of that class after that. The game becomes active in the later levels which is a nice break from the standard click and kill things battle system. However, the characters are not very customizable in terms of status and skills, and the game gets repetitive often.
There are several maps for you to defeat monsters on, and lots of quests to complete to help you get stronger. However, the whole point of the game is to become stronger and grind to higher levels by collecting cash and EXP, which may pose some problems for people who dislike grinding. The armor in this game has a VERY wide selection, with different colors and stats differences to choose from. You can mix and match hats and things, which become easily visible on yourself due to the graphics. The weapons range from the standard to the really whacky as you can attack with snowboards and floater tubes. The enemies have predictable behavior, which is a drawback to the game as the monsters will feel like each other.
The biggest problem of all in MapleStory is the grind. Each level gained in maple is worth two in most other MMORPGs I have played, so this means it will take you a long time to level up. This is not a game for the impatient, you will have to grind for a very long time or complete party quests over and over to become stronger. Also, there is no PVP in this game, which would have made it really fun if they added some battle maps for us to fight on. The small selection of skills wouldn't matter because the PVP would depend on jumping skill as well as fighting skill. However, I haven't even heard of plans from NEXON to add this feature, but hopefully it will come someday.
There are some party quests and guild quests to break the monotony. These quests have a set of tasks for your party to complete, and they range from platforming and killing to puzzles and mazes. Also, some of the quests have unique tasks, such as the annoying jump quests.
The controls are awesome, and you get to change them around completely if you think the keys are in the wrong place. I wish the game had native Joypad support since this does feel like a console platform game at times.
NEXON has done a good job back when there were hackers, they finally gotten rid of this problem. Also, I've noticed people don't make you angry as often as I remember them doing. In fact, out of the 50+ random players I picked off the streets and added to my guild, pretty much all of them are friendly and willing to have fun. If there is a problem, it's with the customer service system, where you open tickets. As compared to other games, NEXON takes about two weeks to answer your problem and to do something about it. GM presence is there, but rarely seen, which can be a good and a bad thing. A long time ago this game used to piss me off half the time.
What lag? There are lots of worlds to play on, you can have 3 characters per world, and there are 19 channels per world. This takes much of the load off the game and I have experienced zero lag. In fact, I have experienced no lag from the servers, only from my own internet connection.
Oh yeah, if you want to try it, go ahead. It's free so there really isn't' anything to lose if you don't like the game. The game is supported by a cash shop, which means you can pay real money to buy things such as virtual clothes, shop permits, megaphones, and the like.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 12/18/06, Updated 10/01/07
Game Release: MapleStory (US, 11/30/05)
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