Review by Holy_Gnarfard

"Nexon strikes a clean slate in the turmoil that is Maple Story"

MMORPGs are hugely popular today, with Runescape being the king of all mmorpgs to many experienced players. However, that hasn't stopped multiple others from being released, and one of those is MapleStory. So what makes MapleStory unique? Is it the anime inspired graphics? Oh, there are several things, on that you can be sure, but how about the word – free!

-- Playability -- 6/10

Maplestory' is an online side scrolling mmorpg.
You can choose between; Magician, Warrior, Thief or Bowman. All of which have sub jobs when you progress and become stronger.

The overall goal in 'Maplestory' is to become as strong as you can and defeat monsters. Kill monsters to get experience, a certain amount of experience will make you level up(Experience increases per level) Once you reach level 30 you have a choice of 2 or 3 sub classes to go into, This will gain you a whole new set of skills to kill things with.

'Maplestory' is online so you can meet and talk to other people from the other side of the world or just down the street!

-- STORY -- 0/10
Aside from the cliched save a maiden, find 50 of these rare items and give them to me, etc. there is no worthwhile storyline that can grab your attention. Unlike Runescape.

-- GAMEPLAY -- 4/10
As stated in the opening, MapleStory "can" be a completely free game, as you can download the game and start playing right away and never have to spend a dime. However, to fully get the "whole" experience of MapleStory, you'll have to pay up a little, as some items are only available through an actual cash store, which means should there be some fancy hat that has just been released, you'll have to actually fork over your real life money instead of the fake money of the game world. But if you just want to fight monsters, level up, and meet other players, MapleStory won't cost you a dime.

The other big change about MapleStory is the graphical style of the game. Instead of the massive, 3D worlds of many current MMORPGs on the PC, MapleStory instead offers a cute and cartoonish completely 2D MMORPG experience. Instead of the usual free roaming world, MapleStory is all about going left and right. To get a good idea of what to expect, imagine the original Mario Bros. for the NES. Now, imagine the first level of the game being a town and Bowser's Castle being the next town. To get from the starting town to the next, you'll have to go through several screens of side scrolling action, where you'll move on a flat plane, going from left to right and so forth, though you'll be able to jump up, so levels aren't strictly a one tiered environment, as different screens can have multiple branches to head off into other directions.

--Replayability-- 8/10

When you start the game, you all start on Maple Island, which is a beginner friendly starting point where you'll get a few easy quests, learn the basics, fight some easy enemies, and then once you get to the port city, you'll go to the main island where all the other players who aren't noobs are currently playing. You are probably wondering about jobs and classes, well, this is where they come into play. Since everyone starts out as a Beginner, you must reach a prerequisite character level before you can take on a class. You can become a Warrior (Level 10), Magician (Level 8), Bowman (Level 10), or Thief (Level 10). Now it isn't as easy as reaching said level and choosing who you want to be, as you'll have to trek to various cities to talk to the right people who can make you the class you want to be. However, there comes a problem, in that it isn't as easy as that either. Just because you are a Level 10 doesn't mean you can become a Warrior just by asking, as you'll have to have certain Abilities at certain levels. For instance, I leveled up my abilities, focusing mostly on my Strength and Dexterity, but I didn't neglect the other ones in the process. The problem comes in that I focused so much on spreading the wealth, that it took me several levels beyond ten to get enough skill points to properly distribute to the Abilities I needed to raise to make me a Warrior. Needless to say, this led to much frustration, as I really wanted to be a Warrior right then!

Along the way (but mostly in towns) you'll find quests, though most of the quests involve gathering resources from enemies that you kill. In fact, all you really seem to do in the game is kill, which means this is a grinder's dream game come true, but for everyone else, you'll get bored pretty quickly as you try to progress. Leveling up for the sake of leveling up is not my idea of fun. I also had quite a hard time finding people to play with, as all the ones I came across were mute for the most part, unless they were trying to sale something, and everyone seemed to be doing their own thing instead of wanting to gather together to form interactive parties. I'm not the most social butterfly when it comes to multiplayer in games, but dangit, those pigs were whooping my butt, and I needed a buddy.

The item system works basically like you think it would. You'll find some healing items in the field, but you'll be able to buy them in stores too (plus you can regain health by simply standing still). You will also find money from downed enemies, as well as other assorted goodies that you'll be able to use to synthesize new objects. There are also shops in town to buy weapons and armor.

Though simple, the graphics work perfectly well expressing what it is they were designed to express – the cute, anime inspired world the game seeks to be. In the early stages, due to the limited amount of customization opportunities, you'll run across many of the same characters, but later only you'll be able to look different depending on how much money you've spent in the store to what type of class you are. The enemies also feature the same simple styling, and everything is animated nicely.

-- SOUND -- 2/10
The music is boring and dull. The sound effects are also below average, as my attack swipes sounded the same no matter what I was swinging, and no matter what type of creature I was attacking.

-- Overall Recommendation -- 6/10

MapleStory isn't for everyone, but there is a market for it. If you are new to MMORPGs, MapleStory does a good job of easing you in to see if the more time committed ones such as World of Warcraft are right for you without investing the money into the software or hardware you might need to upgrade your system. If you're a gamer on a budget, MapleStory is also a nice alternative. But if you are already a MMORPG veteran and want the best of the best and a truly fun MMORPG, MapleStory is not what is in store for your future.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 12/14/07

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

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