The first year of the new decade is expected to be one of the most groundbreaking periods in gaming history. With titles such as God of War 3, Gran Turismo, Bioshock 2, Mass Effect 2, Star Trek and Star Wars looming in the horizon, it looks like it’s going to be a very busy year for gamers.
On the local front two new games are creating quite a stir among MMORPG fans—Dragonica, with its cute avatars, arcade-style gameplay and dynamic combat system; and Runes of Magic—a game often compared to World of Warcraft.
More than just another MMOG, Dragonica incorporates RPG elements and an 8-way, side-scrolling system in full 3D resulting in a fun, intuitive game that won’t be a hindrance even for first-time MMOG players. For advanced players, Dragonica also has a combo system wherein you can chain your attacks along with special skills to deliver added damage against your opponents. No matter which level you are in, Dragonica has something to keep you playing. “Dragonica can potentially bring all kinds of gamers in one game because of it’s easy-to-use interface gameplay system that will appeal to casual gamers and first-time MMOG players, while the game’s RPG elements, combo system and PvP battles will be attractive to veteran players,” explains Gil Edeza, COO of e-Games.
Among its features include; a total of 28 playable character classes, anime-style avatars and humorous skill animations, an upgradeable player housing system and cute pets which can be mounted and used in battle. It also features a fast-paced and action-oriented PvE and PvP battles and is playable with either a computer keyboard or dedicated game pad.
Dragonica is already being played by hundreds of thousands of players from Korea, China, Taiwan, Russia,
U.S.A, Europe and Southeast Asia. Nominated as “The most anticipated game” by Gamespot Korea after the GStar 2007 convention, Dragonica is still gathering rave reviews from all over the world for its innovations in online gaming. Dragonica is developed by Barunson Interactive of Korea.
Another MMORPG that is expected to make it big this year is Runes of Magic. Developed by Taiwan-based Runewaker Entertainment, Runes of Magic is a fantasy MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game), using a popular Western-style high-fantasy backdrop complete with heroic quests, crafting, incredible creatures and monsters to defeat. Runewaker, has put more than three years of development into the game.
Barely a month after its launch, Runes of Magic has already held the biggest single-day free play event in local gaming history last December 11 holding a nationwide simultaneous freeplay event. A large host of players flocked the selected key internet cafés located strategically around Metro Manila, with other vital locations in Bulacan, Cebu, and Davao. The free-play event served as a test phase for the servers that will house the upcoming OBT and commercial periods.
This latest accomplishment adds to the already glittery collection of awards and achievements that Runes of Magic had obtained internationally. Recently, the game garnered the Best International PC Game for 2009 in the German Game Developer Awards. Currently, there are over 2.5 million registered Runes of Magic players around the world.
Runes of Magic has also been sweeping North America and Europe. Since its mid-year release, the game has now more than two million registered users, with the numbers rising steadily everyday. The reason for its apparent success lies on its unique and extremely immersive gameplay. Circling around the mystical world of Taborea, Runes of Magic incorporates intense action and character customization with loads of epic quests set in backdrops filled with stunning graphics, amazing creatures and incredible monsters.
There are also instance dungeons scattered around Taborea, designed to challenge daring raid parties or even intrepid individuals. In order to survive these dingy and dangerous places, Runes of Magic offers the first real working MMO dual-class character system, with over 30 class combinations to select.
Players immediately receive a virtual abode at the start, which they can opt to visit and redecorate after rendezvousing in the instance dungeons. Otherwise, they can relax inside a guild castle where they can interact with their group to unwind, meet up, and plan for the next dungeon raid or war with another guild through the server-versus-server feature.
Runes of Magic has received numerous accolades, in spite of the comparisons it received with World of Warcraft (WoW). Wesley Yin-Poole of the Videogamer.com said that Runes of Magic contains elements that WoW does not and could consider adding. Daniel Etherington of Eurogame.net places Runes of Magic as something of a landmark. He explained that while it would not dislodge the subscription-based model in the West by any stretch of the imagination, the game does demonstrate that free-to-play does not necessarily mean rudimentary, shallow, cheap or brutal in the integration of real-money trading.
Heidi Mendita-Garayblas, e-Games VP for MMO, believes that Runes of the Magic will revolutionize the local MMORPG scene, citing its high degree of character customization and unique gameplay brought by the dual class system. “The dual-class system gives a totally new game experience,” Mendita-Garayblas said. “It brings forth exciting PvP duels and monster raids. Afterwards, you can seek the comfort of your home or your guild castle and show off the spoils of victories.”
“Runes of Magic is here and it aims to break online gaming conventions,” Edeza added. “With a big, immersive world, veteran and beginning players are in for a surprise. On top of it, it is free-to-play.”
DATABLITZ PICKS OF THE WEEK
‘James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game’
As the official video game based on the highly anticipated film, the game will take you deep into the heart of Pandora, an alien planet that is beyond imagination. Gamers will encounter the Na’vi, Pandora’s indigenous people and discover other life forms the likes of which have never been seen in the world of video games before. When conflict erupts between the RDA Corp., a space-faring consortium in search of valuable resources, and the Na’vi, gamers will find themselves thrust into a fight for the heart of a planet and the fate of a civilization.
Inspired by a true story, The Saboteur stars Sean Devlin, a street-tough Irish race car driver trapped behind enemy lines in 1940s Nazi-occupied France. Motivated by personal revenge, Sean fights, climbs, and races through open-world Paris, sneaking into the heart of the Nazi operations and sabotaging their every move. With the help of the French Resistance, the British intelligence, an arsenal of weaponry, street smarts and brawn, players will exact revenge on those who aim to destroy Sean’s life. From derailing trains and blowing up zeppelins to scaling famous Parisian landmarks and more, this action hero uses a broad range of weapons, explosives and vehicles to get the job done.
“The Saboteur is an entirely new take on WWII action gaming. Instead of putting players in the role of a soldier, they’ll experience one man’s quest for vengeance through an incredible story and an epic range of explosive action. Every street of Paris is alive with options, every block is teeming with action,” said Josh Resnick, President of Pandemic Studios. “We’re extremely proud of The Saboteur. The art style, intense story, and grand acts of defiance against the Nazis will deliver the one-of-a-kind experience that Pandemic fans have been waiting for.”
As Sean takes down enemies, the citizens of Paris are empowered to resist the tyrannical Third Reich and their eyes open to the colorful world around them. This innovative mechanic, called the “Will to Fight,” will change the way Paris is seen and felt—from a dark and oppressed policed state to a bright and inspired world where the citizens fight back. As the player executes acts of sabotage against the occupying force, color returns to the stylized black and white world—both figuratively and literally. The “Will to Fight” spawns an underground resistance that takes players not only through Paris, but across various parts of France.