Review by ShortyThePimp87

"How Could A Free Game Be So Addicting?"

To begin this review, I have to state that I'm not usually into these types of games. However, after having played Diablo and, for the most part, doing everything that one can do I decided to search for similar games. What I came across was a little game known as Maple Story. It looked interesting enough so I downloaded it and began to play. What I encountered was way more entertaining than what I expected from a game that was free to download and play. Any gamer that likes the RPG or Hack-and-Slash genre will love this game's gameplay, and to boost, it's an immersive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) which will let gamers interact with thousands of other like-minded gamers at a time.

Graphics: Upon first glance, all a gamer will see is cutesy big-headed little kids running around killing mushrooms, snails, and such things one would find in a garden, with their little razors or wands. This game seems very much aimed at a younger audience graphics-wise. However, as I became more immersed in the Maple Story world I began to grow in love with those cute little characters I call my own and the animations will really put a smile on any sore person's face. The graphics make gamers of any age, from the young ones, to teenagers, to adults feel a sense of innocence and compassion. I never knew such a cute looking game could make me smile instead of making me feel ashamed to be playing it.

Gameplay: The gameplay revolves around walking around and killing monsters, for their drops i.e mesos, items, and most importantly, experience. Mesos can be used to buy items in stores to make your character more powerful. Players can also embark on quests that will reward them with new items or experience points that help them level. Some jobs even require teamwork and players can easily do that by partying with their friends to take down an enemy together and share the rewards. Players that level in a party get the advantage of sharing in any mesos their party members pick up and also share a bit of the experience. This also makes killing much easier to do in a big group. There is even a friends list for players to add their friends and message them anytime they want to talk to them. However, there are 5 different realms counting the newest one from the patch that will spread players out depending on their preference for which realm they want to play on. Players can even build up guilds in alliance with players they truly trust and become a recognizable group other players will recognize throughout the Maple World. They can even recruit new members if they feel the need. But, in order for players to do all this they will need to maintain a decent character level to contribute and each character class is able to help out in different ways. As players level their characters, they will be able to assign the characters to one of four jobs. The jobs include Warrior, Magician, Thief, and Bowman and all have their own unique traits. I will further break down the character choices later in the review. The stat distribution and skill distribution can determine how effective your character performs, such as how a Magician wouldn't need a whole bunch of strength to kill since they stand back and cast magic. This adds a great deal of depth and strategy one wouldn't realize could be apparent in such a cute game. Now let me break down the four character classes and their gameplay differences.

Warrior: Warriors are strong characters that use big weapons and wear heavy, thick, metallic armor. They are mainly melee characters that rush into battle and destroy everything with the slash of their sword. Great for characters who want to be a leader and be the first to fight. They can usually withstand their own even when facing a big group of enemies since they act as a sort of tank.

Magician: Magicians are powerful magic casters that stand back and cast spells on enemies. They have an extended list of spells to choose from and can even add elements to their spells such as fire, ice, lightning, to name a few. Just don't expect your Magician to run into the middle of a pack of enemies and survive.

Thief: Thiefs have both characteristics of a Warrior and Magician. They use melee attacks and therefore, hack-and-slash their way through an enemy mob. However, they have some element of magical damage to some of their attacks and they are faster and more nimble than their Warrior counterparts. They are less likely to survive a bombardement of enemies, but at the same time, they can stand back, within a fair distance, and still attack instead of being in the middle of things.

Bowman: The Bowman can be compared to a Magician in their stand-back-and-fire fighting tactic. However, instead of using magic they use bows/crossbows and arrows to launch their vicious attacks on unsuspecting monsters. They can handle their own in a pack better than most Magicians though.

The Maple Store: Here players use their money through PayPal to buy items in the store and make theirs characters more unique than others. One of my favorite things is the constant updates on new items in the store and the themes they have. Each holiday season, Maple players can be treated to new surprises in the type of items available. These items aren't just for appearance, however. They can also have many effects that aid a player in their quests, to kill monsters, or just some effects that are meant solely to have fun with and enjoy, which is what this game is all about.

Overall, this game is great on so many levels. It has the cutest graphics (and I mean that in a good way), it is great for meeting new people and making new friends, and it's deep and immersive beyond what most games today are. It also combines two unlike elements of RPG and Hack-and-Slash and pulls it off quite nicely in my opinion. With a game that's free and so in-depth, I admit I would honestly go out and buy this game even if it weren't free. After reading my review I hope to see a few of you on Maple Story soon. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the Maple World.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/17/06

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