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.
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.