9Dragons Reader Review
I'm quite surprised there isn't more information about 9Dragons flowing through the internet. I was one of the original closed beta testers for the game when it first made an appearance about 2 years ago, firstly playing on the US version of the game, and then with the European addition that didn't last too long. It ended up giving all user accounts to the US, who then opened up an EU server.
A confusing start for a game that, when it boils down to the bottom of the kettle, is actually quite good.
If you're a player of MMORPG's, you may be familiar with the term "grinding". This involves continuous periods of "killing" mobs (enemies) with the goal of levelling up you character and your skills, in view of moving on to new quests and features. Nothing is different here, grinding is a very important part of the game, and you won't move on to later levels without spending some time up close and personal with some nasty beasties. One added bonus of this is that they can often drop very useful items, so the more you kill, the more you may find.
Literally thousands of quests are available throughout the game, and they are spread out through all the different player levels as you progress. There are 6 different clans you choose for your character to be a part of from the start of the game, and this dictates which style of kung fu and weaponry you are able to use. Some quests are clan-only and some are universal, depending on which area in which you recieved your orders.
Your kung fu is your attack. There are hundreds of different styles to learn, and are all animated uniquely, offering different bonuses when you attack. How good you are with the skills depends on a variety of factors, like how you assign your player's skill points and weapon mastery when you level up, and the strength of each attack increases with each level your kung fu gains. Quite complex sounding, but really quite simple.
Visually, 9Dragons isn't going to break any records or leave a developer wishing they'd tried harder. It looks nice, give them that, but as a 3rd person environment, there's has been and will be better. Since it's online, that isn't an important aspect. The aim for me is to create a good, solid and playable game that doesn't upset the pc too much, and doesn't lag after every strike. This game is successful with that.
Audio sounds great. A decent surround sound system works wonders, as the sound effects are realistic and well mixed. You aren't continuously inflicted with music, only the occasional jingle that changes with each map you are on, but most of the tunes aren't unpleasant, with the exception of one in the market place, which sounds like a rather unprepared bagpipe.
Playability is forefront of 9Dragons. Rarely will you find that lag causes an issue, but that is dependant on your own connection as well as the server. If you're downloading something huge in the background, you can expect a little chug here and there.
I would encourage more players to get involved in games like this. The community really comes alive when you can start player parties (up to 9 people sharing xp, and with a full party the xp increases), Hero Bands (a group that every user can create, and anyone can join) and even player vs player areas, if you're brave enough to face some real opponents.
There is a great market system, where every player can set up market stalls and sell items, and single trade systems that players can access at any time. Weapons can be upgraded, and clothes can be embroidered with special items that increase their stats.
It's all been done before, by various other games, but I find it hard to find another one that comes this close to being great. Being free adds a huge bonus to opinion, with the choice of spending a little money for items and bonuses for your character. But that's completely optional, and your character will never be at a disadvantage if you don't do it.
Go, download it, and give it a whirl. You never know, you might just become as addicted as I am.
off to grind more bears...
9 / 10