Review by Morphius11
Not bad out of the gate
This is easily, worth its own section. The graphics are crisp and delightfully anime-esque. The animations are smooth and cohesive, and I'm definitely looking forward to avatar customization. However, there's only one gender per class, and you can't change anything like build or other cosmetics. Pretty much, the only way to customize your character's appearance is through avatar items, as detailed in The Price.
Ah, here's the problem. I think Nexon tried to come up with a good story, but the whole thing comes across as a poorly-written, rather hackneyed excuse to slog through dungeons killing hordes of baddies. Now, this works for me, since I kind of expected that, but I was really hoping the story would be better written. Worse, as of this review, the quest dialogue often cuts off if it's too long, and there seem to be a few too many errors in the writing. This leads me to believe that a couple of proofreaders might be needed, and fairly badly.
Does anybody remember those old D&D arcade consoles? This plays kind of like that, except with more depth. You can equip your character with a slew of nice equipment, find and use plenty of consumable items, and can collect money to find more. Characters can chain together massive combos (some with over a hundred hits), which helps them earn a better grade in dungeons and therefore better rewards. Despite being repetitive, the gameplay is rather addicting, and is bolstered by a PvP arena, even if the rewards for it are rather lackluster. It could use some spicing up in the form of features like better item drops and more detailed level customization and rewards, but it's pretty solid as it is. The crafting system could also use a lot of work. See below!
Oh, how I lament the crafting system in this game! It has all the ingredients of awesomeness, but the crafting recipes are such rare drops as to make it almost useless, especially at lower levels. Still, ingredients are plentiful, and hopefully Nexon'll fix up the broken part of what is otherwise a great system. As it stands now, players can craft their own equipment, but they have to find one of the elusive recipe drops in order to do so. With the recipe and the right items, you can craft anywhere, anytime, with no chance of failure that I can see.
Advancing through the game requires the execution of a simple formula. Enter dungeons, kill monsters, complete quests, level up, rinse and repeat. There are a few nice touches to the progression, however. The first is that every class has several sub-classes that you can advance into when you reach level 18. These sub-classes change the way you play the game fairly significantly, without deviating too much from the base class. The second is the skill system, which allows you to use skill points to purchase the skills of your choice and basically customize your character nearly any way you'd like, within class constraints. The only problem is that, aside from the single free respec you get when you choose an advanced class, reallocating your skills costs money. Real money.
Which leads me neatly to this section! This game is free to play, and you can enjoy most of its features without paying anything. You can buy tokens for real money, and then redeem these tokens at the Item Shop. You can buy skill respecs, additional storage space in your character's item safe, some healing items, and a few other things. Most importantly, however, you can purchase avatar clothing to customize your appearance and give you a few in-game bonuses. I could do without being forced to pay real money for skill reallocation and a larger item safe, but otherwise, I have no complaints about the token economy.
Sadly, as of this writing, the community is pretty negligible, and actually the weakest part of the game. My window is often filled with spam announcements from power-levelers and gold-farmers, and blocking them doesn't stop you from seeing their spam in the public chats, which is inexcusable. I've reported my fair share, but the response time window is thirty days, so I'm not holding my breath. As it stands now, I can't even see most non-spam messages, and I'm not even going to talk about the trade channel, which (if you can fathom such a thing) is even worse. As far as trading in general goes, you need to pay money to set up your own store, and there's no auction system whatsoever.
So, to sum it all up
PROS: The best action-based MMORPG I've seen so far. The dungeon grinds are fun, the item system has a solid foundation, and it's fun to customize your character.
CONS: The community sucks, the crafting system isn't much better, and there are relatively few classes and no free avatar customizations.
TRY, BUY, OR TRASH? It's free, so it doesn't hurt to try it, and it's good fun for what it is. Expect to sink some playtime into this one.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Dungeon Fighter Online (US, 09/22/09)
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