Review by Myden_Blat
Grinding is something entirely else, with no strains on the purse.
Most games I play these days ends up not being the stuff I look for. I like MMORPG's, but not the grinding. It is what keeps me bored about the game. However, this is something else with Sword of the New World: Granado Espada.
This game is severally unique, free, and doesn't really require any money at all. Real money is only supportive, and far from vital, which is good. You'll barely find any limits without it. I normally wouldn't have liked this game at all, if it wasn't so much different than what most MMORPG's serve.
Let me first start by that I am able to see the best graphics, but I prefer performance. At first, graphics is a high-five for this one. I only care if the graphics are half finished. Good or bad graphics doesn't reach an impact on me. These graphics are good, and much more. They look like a 2005 game, and yet an old computer like mine can take it. It looks beautiful. The town looks very unique, from all angles. I went to a dungeon, and a bridge was tied over, with a lot of water. You'll see the reflection of the temple of it. And to use a pose, turn the HUD off, take a picture, or to just admire the scenery, is what I would at that lake. Except for I was attacked by monsters. Overall, they are pretty awesome. And they do not require a top notch computer, unlike what you may think to "beautiful graphics".
Unlike most MMO's, this game does feature something else than that old theme played over and over again. Ambient music, isn't that ever boring? Normally just turn it off, put some much better on, but it just doesn't fit. Granado Espada makes it not only just fit, but it doesn't get that boring to listen to. You might know the melody now and then, but it is still entertaining. This is varied from techno, to some orchestral, to some softcore rock tracks with more techno. I truly admire the orchestral music myself, because it really adds a much better feeling into it. And there's a jukebox as well, making you able to select a favourtie within the area.
Sounds, they're awesome. Except for the voice acting. What makes it go down, is that they seem half finished. They sure finished the moving/selecting, but only a few select skills have voice acting. And the voices are particulary low, and perhaps not even worth hearing. Instead of that motivating pick-up line, "We will cut them like knife through butter", they decided to put those "Yes sir" types into it. Not really much to add into that. Some skills have voices when they strike too. You might hear "Lightning!" from a character who use a skill named that, but Rarja et Racta (or something along those lines) does not have a voice acting. It's reasonable why, but that skill was renamed from "Scrag", which might have some sound. Anything else beside the character sounds, is fitting and nice.
This is what the whole thing is about. You see, Granado Espada, have a quite unique thing about it. Again, yes. You control 3 characters at a time. And if that wasn't enough, you'll find loads of characters to play with. You start with 5 basic classes, but you can recruit townspeople/merchants/adventurers to your group by doing them some service. Like doing quests for them. You'll get rewarded by them too. And they're not your avarage items, they are [b]worthy to be considered treasures[/b]. Don't fret about the reward, you'll get loads of it. Recruiting NPC's can be done by getting their UPC cards. They'll give them to you after you've done some service for them.
And with the many characters comes many stances. This is also even more meat into the game. Except for, most of these character you recruit have either variations of the usual stances, or new ones. A stance is the type of style your character plays at. For a fighter for example, can use many different stances. He start with Back Guard, which is holding the shield in the front and the sword behind him. Then there is High Guard, which is more defensive, and it raises the sword up high.
What's the difference? Every stance comes with different skills, training modefiers (bonuses) when you level them. And you can buy new stances or switch them at any time, as long as you meet the level requirement for them and you do have the weapon/equipment/item needed for the stance. Most weapons have several stances for them. Take a rapier for example. You can use Epeé Garde(rapier alone), Main Gauche-Garde(main gauche and rapier), Avant Garde(pistol and rapier), Short Guard(rapier and shield). That's rapier variations alone. Most stances comes with 3 to 5 skills, and you can improve them as well.
Enough about our own characters. The world you're put into, well, making it short...there's 3 cities so far that I know of. Reboldeux, Port of Coimbra, and City of Auch. The more newbie friendly is listed in order, so you'll start in Reboldeux. There's merchants, servicers, chit-chatters, robotlike business dudes, and some of them might reward you for missions you can do for them.
And combat is something. You have many stances to play with, which all adds different style of play. Oh, did I mention, you'll be facing thousands of enemies. Not like those, "focus on one, and don't attract many." Don't like that either? Doesn't matter here. You can charge staight into the enemies, they'll all storm you with their might, and if you're strong enough and take enough responsibility and control, you should win. Enemies will follow you and try to kill you. If you rip them apart one after one, it will get boring. Fun thing is, there's combat [i]all the time[/i]. They just keep coming. Sometimes very chaositic, considering you're looking out for 3 person at a time, or if you're overwhelmed.
Only thing is, you have to take the control very strictly. If you move, wait, then get attacked, your team won't fight back, unless you command them to do so. And sometimes, you also need to switch and control each character invidually for them to take position properly. The game haves several commands to help out. A CTRL click will kill all enemies on the path, while an ALT click will collect their drops on the path. Downside is, you'll kill enemies from point A to B, then collect items from B to A. It would be nicer with a kill and collect click. Makes things faster and easier.
With such a broad gameplay comes loads of key commands. You use Q-Y buttons for 1st character, A-H for 2nd, and Z-N for 3rd character skills. And for your hotkeys for other stuff, ALT and CTRL + a keyboard key is the solution. It's hard to remember them. You'll have tool menus to help if you can't remember them, but they're slow. ALT and a keyboard key have mostly a trigger, some helpful, some cool, others a waste. It's hard to remember all the keys, but they do have a simple way of making the layout. And moving and camera functions is for mouse only, to make it more simple. Just remember the most important hotkeys and leave the rest alone.
The high score is because the devolpers based it on a real story, the discovery of America. While this happens to be a fantasy setting, loads of things is similar. The time and age, the technology, and also backgrounds considering it.
Ferrucio Espada finds the new world, Granado Espada. I think Granado is taken from "Granada", the last moorish state in Spain as today, and Espada is the from, well, you know already. Republicans tries to make the place a free place for everyone, while royalists fight to get control of the new place. And republicans and royalists is now at war, and with the monsters that dwells there.
Most MMO's have a horribly bad storyline. They actually put some sense into this, and they base the game off the story. For example, you can make a clan and join either the republicans or the royalists, and team up with other clans as well. Or stay neutral.
At first, it seems the world is completely deserted of other players. This game gives 2 choices, play till the higher levels, or leave immediately. Most players never talks in the first few stages. When you go to the other cities, trading will be more important, thus increasing communication. You could join the forums as well. It's first in the later in the game you'll really start interacting with others, unless you PM a newbie or anything. The world seems to empty in the start of it, that even I is quiet.
Also, you can buy megaphones and microphones. Megaphones spread a message across the whole map. Microphones, does through the whole server! Good for trading purposes, but there is almost always people who use them, so get used to a tagline displaying messages all the time.
The low score is because of the lack in the start of the game. Your rewards will first come later. Though the devolpers can't do much about that...
Final score: 8/10.
This game is way different than most MMO's, which makes me play them. It's the first time in a long time I've enjoyed such an MMO. Most just ends up being too similiar, with a different world and few other things. Simply outstanding game with minor flaws.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Sword of the New World: Granado Espada (EU, 08/10/07)
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