Review by Axios

"A fair, simplistic MMORPG with no money involved"

Maple Story is an MMORPG. It's in the same category as Everquest, World of Warcraft, etc. Thousands of players play together as they grow more powerful, acquire better equipment, and progress further into the storyline. You can group with other players to kill powerful monsters, trade with them for equipment you want, and make friends and enemies with them. Your character, like in almost any RPG, gains experience by killing monsters. When he gains enough experience, he gains a "level," in which he gets more powerful and gets access to new abilities.

One key difference between Maple Story and most other MMORPGs is that this game is a 2D side-scrolling game. So obviously, it is a lot simpler than any others. Combined with this, you have only four beginning character classes, which, compared to other games, is not a lot. The area that you can explore is relatively small, and there isn't a huge variety of gear to acquire. In short, this game is very simple, with not a lot to offer in way of different styles to play. However, this is offset by something huge.

The cost of this game amounts to nothing. You can download this game for free, and there are no monthly fees involved. Most MMORPGs cost around $50 with a $15 monthly fee for maintaining the servers. That amounts to roughly $180 a year to play a game. So, while Maple Story may not have much to offer compared with other games, it'll save you a lot of money.

Regarding the gameplay of Maple Story, getting experience involves a lot of "grinding" - repeatedly killing the same monsters over and over. You spend hours killing monsters in one area, then move to another area when you get stronger to spend hours killing different monsters, then move on to a new area and continue to repeat the process. Quests, which provide a different experience from grinding, are very limited. There is a lot of repetativeness in Maple Story, but it's not much different than other MMORPGs.

A good feature of this game is the different "channels" on servers. In many MMORPGs, you are stuck with the same people all the time, meaning that on a highly populated server, you have to deal tons of people occupying the best grinding spots and slowing down your progress. On a lowly populated server, you have a tough time finding a group or finding someone to trade with. In Maple Story, each server has 20 channels. Some of them are highly populated, while others aren't. Your character can switch between channels each time you log with just a click of a button, meaning that you can go to an area with a population that suits your purpose. This is a huge advantage over other games.

The graphics of this game, to put it simply, are "cute." This game does not appear to be very serious. Giggling NPCs, non-intimidating monsters, and cheesy landscapes are very common. The sounds are somewhat similar - nothing to serious. Your character does not look like some macho guy that you wouldn't want to mess with, but instead some dorky looking kid. That being said, the graphics and sounds, in my opinion, to not detract from the gameplay.

Overall, I give this game a 7/10. For something that's free, you can play this game until you get bored, which will probably be fairly quickly, without having wasted any money. This game is simply too limited in options, and I would definitely not spend any money on it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/17/05

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