Atlantica Online Review

Atlantica Online Review
November 23, 2008 by Joshua O’Neal

Atlantica Online is a new MMO from the Korean developer Ndoors who also have a North American studio called Ndoors Interactive. Atlantica Online unlike most, if not all, massively multi player online role playing games takes a different route by using the turn-based battle system much like the Final Fantasy series. A lot of Korean MMO’s have come over to the states, but none have really caught on as much as the developers would like. It’s possible that Atlantica Online could break this mold with its ability to offer something different than World of Warcraft and its clones.



Once you’ve created your avatar in the game you start off in your dream where you find out you are a descendant of Atlantis and your blood has great power. In your dream you meet three sisters who represent logic, passion, and emotion. The dream world acts as a tutorial that teaches you how to move around the world, recruit mercenaries, and take part in battles. After the dream tutorial is over, you can then choose from four or five starter zones to begin your adventure.

The battle system, like I mentioned before, is turn based much like an old school Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game. Each turn gives you a limited amount of time, which makes the battles go by quickly. The way you loot enemies in this game is a bit different from anything I have ever played. Instead of killing a mob and then looting his corpse after, the game gives you four turns to loot a dead body before it disappears. I also encountered some enemies that would revive the dead if you didn’t loot fast enough. If you die in Atlantica Online there aren’t any corpse runs, instead your resurrected where you died and penalized with the loss of gold and experience.


When questing out in the world you can use the mini-map to either run to find your next objective or press the auto-move button which will take control of your character and run them over to your next quest. This means if you’re having trouble finding a certain rat to kill eight times then hit the auto-move button and it the computer will take you to where you need to be. There is also a “help required” button on the mini-map that lets you ask a question to everyone in the game. For example, I had five health potions that I wanted to split between my party members but didn’t know how. I asked the question and a bit later got my answer via an instant message much like AIM or Yahoo Messenger. To give the player base an incentive to answer these questions you get a reward each time you answer a players question. Another way to get the word out about what you’re selling or that your guild is recruiting is to use the in-game forum that scrolls at the top of your screen. It cost 1000 gold to post on the in-game forum and it was mainly used to post the popular movie quote “Why so serious?”

Unlike WoW, in AO you can recruit mercenaries to fight alongside you in battles. Not only can you name your mercenaries, but they also gain experience and level up alongside you. When starting a new character you can choose from three different types of mercs like the Swordsman, the Spearman, and the Archer. These all have different roles such as the swordsman having more health and defense which is best suited on the front line. Just like in Final Fantasy, you can choose to have your party members in the front or back row.


AO takes the usual Korean MMO route by making the game free to play, but offers micro transactions for things such as potions, teleportation scrolls back to cities you’ve visited, or a license to increase the amount of mercenaries you can hire. You use Gcoins to buy items and $1=100Gcoins. Most if not all items cost range goes from $2 to $20 with various packages costing the most. These packages include things such as the teleportation license which you can also buy separately.


This game has that Korean development style and I think it works well with the game. Colorful zones and intricate character detail makes up some of the best assets of this game visually. Honestly, I think this game looks better than some of the console role-playing games we have been seeing this generation. They aren’t many complaints I have about the graphics. The game could run on just about any machine and still pulls off the fantasy theme better than some top tier MMO games.


Ah, the familiar sound of a fantasy RPG. Don’t expect anything epic in music quality, but the good thing is that nothing is overly annoying or takes you out of the experience. The music in battles are a mixture between Blue Dragon and the N64 version of F-Zero. That’s right, expect more flailing guitar riffs and outlandish solos to infiltrate your turn-based battles.


Plasma Factor

There are two things I love about this game more than anything else. One is that real countries and cities are presented in the game. The starting zone I chose was in Japan so one of the first things I did was run to Tokyo. Upon reaching the gates to the city I was greeted with a message that said “Kon-nichi wa! Welcome to Tokyo ~ Please feel free to rest like home =).” Other cities in the game include Baghdad, London, Rome, and Hong Kong. The only continent not represented in the game is North America which is disappointing for someone who lives in the states.  I found out that guilds can run towns so just imagine a Korean player owning Los Angeles or Seattle.

Another thing that I adore about the game is that I kept receiving gifts from random players. This isn’t odd in these types of games but usually you have to be a half naked Night Elf or Twi’lek dancing on a mailbox to get this type of attention.


Atlantica Online is free so there is no reason you should not give it a chance. It’s a casual friendly game and even caters to the console crowd with its turn-based combat and Final Fantasy aesthetic. If you miss the days where all RPG games were turn-based and character design wasn’t about spiky hair and emo personalities then you should give AO a shot. Atlantica Online has its faults, but compared to other MMOs it far exceeds expectations.


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Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars Review

Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars is the first ever Unreal Engine 3 powered physics based vehicle arena sports game and is possibly the longest game title ever, says Corey Davis developer for the game. Developed by Psyonix Studios — who helped Epic with the design of the Gears of War vehicle level “Burn’t Rubber” — the game could only be described as soccer with RC cars. Of course, the name and idea of the game seems like something that would be a cheap or free flash game but it’s the amount of polish and great controls that makes this game worth your time.

Battle-Cars Are Go!

It seems odd since soccer isn’t a huge sport in the U.S. that Psyonix would take an under appreciated sport and base their PSN game around it. The game lets you choose from seven cars to compete in a tournament mode that has thirteen events or twenty mini-games, and that isn’t including multi-player. The cars handle really well considering the speeds you are going at and the amount of rocket boosts you end up using. To fill up your rocket boost meter you can drive over boost platforms — think item boxes from the SNES Mario Kart — or pick up boost vials which tend to be scattered around the map.

The amount of depth the game has is practically insane. You can make your car jump to hit a ball in mid-air or double jump to give yourself a mini-boost. You can ride up the wall and even on the ceiling though I never really found a use for this. The game also features Trophy support, custom soundtracks, and Youtube support for uploading your match replays.


The online features in the game are just crazy for a download game. The game features full fledged online ranking/matching/party system support with leaderboards and different skill rankings for each bracket. The game offers four player split-screen both locally and online, so if you and three of your buddies want to take on the world with your own team, you can do that too! The best thing about this games split-screen is that you can toggle the split horizontal or vertical which is lacking in almost every game that has split-screen.

Now on to my favorite part the replay feature. The way it works is that at the end of each match it will ask you if you want to save a replay of the entire game. After saving, you go to the replay manager and choose from any match you have saved. Once selected, you can choose to upload it to Youtube, or transfer it to your XMB and then edit it the way you want with video editing software.



It uses the Unreal Engine 3 so it has a really nice visual style. I believe this is the first game to actually introduce color while using the same engine as Gears of War, although I hear Gears 2 has plenty of color. The game looks impressive compared to other titles on PSN though not as good as something like Wipeout HD.


Don’t expect much from the sound department for this game but the ability to play custom soundtracks gives this game a thumbs up in my book. The default music in Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars could on be described as something you’d hear at Leipzig Games Convention which is hip electronica. If you are going to use the custom soundtrack feature then pick something up tempo like an AC/DC or Rush album.


Plasma Factor

At first, I had a tough time getting over the fact that this game is $14.99. Then I looked at the stuff this game offers and it just goes above and beyond any $9.99 game on the PSN store. When you take into account the Halo like replay and editing features, online tournaments/leaderboards/matchmaking/party system, and that the game is just down right fun to play this ends up being a well spent fifteen bucks. If you don’t believe me Psyonix made a demo — which is a rarity for a PS3 game much less PSN title — so check that out.


Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars is going to be an underappreciated game on the Playstation 3. Partly because of the wacky name but most PS3 owners are going to look at the price and not give the game a chance. Compare to games that are both $15 Braid and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars which do you think is the better value? A Mario Bros. style platformer with the ability to control time or a soccer game where you control rocket cars and has an extensive single and multi-player expereince. I think we both know the answer to that.

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Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Preview

This is not a review. It is the writers thoughts about the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning beta and should only be taken seriously until the release of the game. Don’t forget in a beta things can change from one day to the next. Also, I do not have a super computer so the visual settings in the game are not turned up to their highest. This is intentionally so I can get a better understanding from a casual gamers perspective. Casual gamers do not own a super computer and if you’re a hardcore gamer reading this you probably have already made up your mind.

War does not determine who is right – only who is left. ~Bertrand Russell

We are only days away from the release of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning and GamePlasma has all the info you need to get ready for launch day. On September 18th, the fans of the Warhammer universe will dive head first into this new mmo with immense expectations but the question is will gamers be satisfied?

Warhammer, like most mmo’s let you choose your race and class before dropping you into the world. As with every mmo I play I’m always leaning towards a human healer of some sort. In Warhammer I chose an Empire Warrior Priest and it had some pretty nifty healing mechanics. With his mighty hammer, a Warrior Priest pounds his enemies into the ground while building up his Righteous Fury, which when built up can allow the priest to release big time healing to party members or more powerful destructive spells on his foes. Here is a better description of the Warrior Priest straight from the developers, “As a Warrior Priest, your place is in battle. Your Righteous Fury grows as you strike down the enemy in Sigmar’s name, and your divine powers grow with Righteous Fury. Thus, to reach the peak of your power you must join in the fight. Your prayers bear the power of your god to take life, or give it back, but they are designed to compliment your melee capabilities. Your blessings bring powerful boons to those around you, but you must be close to the fight for your words to reach them. To do your job you must place yourself at risk, but it is in this risky position which you are most powerful.”

With my character made I’m dropped into the world and the starting zone…uhhhh…you know the thing Warhammer doesn’t do well is tell you what zone your in, or at least the starting zones names aren’t memorable. Anyways, your dropped off in the Empire starting area which is set in a war torn part of the world that was once a beautiful place that is surrounded by farmhouses and a small towns. This town has been overrun by this cult like band who are terrorizing and killing the local townsfolk. You gain experience from killing mobs, doing solo quests, and public quests.

Public Quests can be done by anyone in your faction as long as you are within a certain part of the questing area. As soon as you enter the public quest area (no loading it’s just found in various parts of the zone) your objective is in your quest log and it usually ends up being a kill “x” amount of enemies quest or gather “x” amount of herbs. Public quests come in more than one stage with only the first stage not having a time limit. The first public quest for the Empire has you and your mates fending off waves of attackers until the final stage has you taking down a Chaos-infused giant.

Once completing all the stages of the public quest you are rewarded with loot and influence. Influence is what you need to purchase the loot and there are three tiers. Don’t worry about afk’ers sucking up all your influence here because players who do the bulk of the work will get rewarded with more influence.

Mythic Entertainment knows how to make an mmo. Their previous game, Dark Age of Camelot, was hugely succesfully and you can tell they took everything they learned and implemented it into Warhammer Online. I don’t think anyone expects Warhammer to beat down World of Warcraft but the folks at Mythic can be proud of the product they are putting out. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning takes the previous mmo forumla and does the one thing WoW doesn’t do perfectly, Player versus Player combat and makes it awesome. This, on top of a beautiful game with a huge background story spanning 20+ years and an already rabid fanbase gives Warhammer an edge over most current and future mmo’s.

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Scoping Out Future Purchases

Anyways, I basically want to scope out the hot new releases for the rest of the year and plan out which ones I am going to buy. I also intend on updating this after E3 seeing how some unexpected game will probably make it this year.

Must Buy

-World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (PC)
– Too Human (360)
– Madden 09 (360)
– Little Big Planet (PS3)
– Spore (PC)
– Rock Band 2(360)
– Fallout 3 (PC)


– Civilization Revolution(PS3)
– Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway(360/PS3)
– TNA Impact (360/PS3)
– Mercenaries 2 (PS3)
– Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3)
– Yakuza 2 (PS2)

OK, so if I add up all these the amount i’ll be spending on games for the rest of the year is……… $560. Way to much so I think i’m just going to subscribe to GameFly or try and review some games this fall.

P.S. I play all genres so i’m a really valuable asset to any publication. is my e-mail address if your interested in seeing some of my previously published work.

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Ultimate Alliance II

Shit! I wish I had come up with a cool intro statement like 1up (and my buddy P.K.) when they posted the “leak” about the upcoming Marvel Ultimate Alliance game. The story that originally broke via Kotaku mentions over 20 playable characters, “including the Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Venom, and Human Torch.” The story will be set withing the “Civil War” period which Mr. Kollar describes as “in this story, superheroes throughout the Marvel universe are forced to register with S.H.I.E.L.D. if they want to keep fighting crime. The heroes end up splitting into two groups — pro-registration, led by Iron Man, and anti-registration, headed by Captain America — and the player will be able to choose which side they fight on in M:UA2.

The Civil War mini-series ran during the summer of 2006 which if you suck at math is two years ago. I’m guessing Activision decided that the sequel to a good game with a crappy story should also have a crappy story that comes from a crappy series of comic books. If you ask me Activision is going to encounter more problems than gamers hating the story if this game is exactly like its predecessor.

History time, kids. The original X-Men Legends game came out in 2004 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance came out in 2006. Can you tell me what is different about these two games? The only difference between the two is that Marvel Ultimate Alliance had more superheroes to choose from. The game still has that stupid Baldur’s Gate/ Diablo style camera and i’m sick of it. Activision and Raven Software are just to lazy to spend time recreating these historic Marvel comic locations and instead i’m spending 12+ hours staring at the damn floor.

That is the reason why superhero games are 95% of the time a piece of crap. The games already come with expectations from fans and instead of trying to meet those expectations and the developer just gets lazy and shortcuts their way to easy profit. Have some balls this time Raven and Activision because eventually gamers will catch on to your “tricks.”

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Getting To Know Don Mattrick

This is a blog I wrote back in July of 2007 when we found out that former EA president would be taking Peter Moore’s job at Microsoft. In the very first sentence I said we would be getting to know the “new face of Microsoft Gaming.” I can not recall a single time since I wrote this article that we have heard from Mr. Matrrick himself which might not be a bad thing. I’m sure the man is hard at work.

Now that Don Mattrick is taking over Peter Moore’s position as Senior Vice President of Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), I thought it would be nice to get to know the new face of Microsoft gaming.

Mattrick founded Distinctive Software Inc. which was a private company before merging with Electronic Arts in 1991. Mattrick’s most recent position with EA was president of Worldwide Studios, which he resigned from in February 2006. A year later he joined the Microsoft Entertainment and Devices division as an external adviser. Robert Bach ,President of the Entertainment and Devices division, in a press release stated today “While Peter will certainly be missed, we are delighted to have one of the industry’s most talented and passionate veterans on board to lead the business,” said Bach. “Don is well-known and respected throughout the industry for his deep knowledge, technical expertise and management savvy. Under Don’s leadership, the games team is looking forward to embarking on our biggest holiday ever, with a wide-ranging roster of some of the most highly anticipated titles.”

Mattrick has twenty-three years of experience from both the development and business side. He has helped bring to life many triple-A franchises such as “Need for Speed,” “Harry Potter,” “The Sims,”Test Drive,” and many more. In a direct quote from Mattrick himself “over the past two decades, and the past few months in particular, I’ve worked closely with many of Microsoft’s top leaders and I’ve always been impressed by their talent, passion and commitment,” said Mattrick. “I’m thrilled to join an already strong team that’s delivering truly amazing gaming experiences to customers around the world. I’ve never been more excited about the future of the industry, and firmly believe Microsoft will lead the next great innovations in gaming.”

Other games Don Mattrick has worked on include:

Warcraft II: The Dark Saga (1997)
Diablo (1998)
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (1999)
SSX (2000)
SSX Tricky (2001)
NBA Street (2002)
Medal of Honor: Frontline (2002)
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth (2004)
Battlefield 2 (2005)

Thanks, (Moby Games) & (Microsoft)

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My Unintentional Love For Capcom

Today was the day. GameStop’s big Game Days Sale where certain products were 50% off. So I drove down to the local GameStop that used to be the EB Games that I worked at and picked up two PSP games. Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max for $9.99 and Monster Hunter 2: Freedom for $19.99. When I got home I realized I picked up two Capcom games and was shocked. I’m not really a fan of Capcom to be honest despite my love for Alpha 3 and i’ll tell you why. They do a piss-poor job of developing their “next-gen” titles for SD televisions and it really bothers me. I would of loved to play Dead Rising back when it came out but the text in that game was so hard to read I would get a migraine.

I checked Capcom’s website to see what upcoming games are going to be released on the 360 and PS3 and all they really have is the new Bionic Commando game and Street Fighter IV. Neither of these games are text heavy so it should be ok. Basically, what I want to know is if Capcom is in the wrong for not making their games easier to read on standard-def T.V’s or should I just suck it up and buy and HDTV?

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