Vindictus is the first serious action-RPG that is available entirely free on the web. With gorgeous graphics, a great physics engine, fast and fun God of War gameplay and an engaging story, this is a new level for free web games.
For those of you who don’t have time to read the review, here are a few key notes about Vindictus:
- Vindictus a free online game with gameplay reminiscent of WoW crossed with God of War
- The game boasts console-level production quality, with great graphics, animation and sound
- The game has extraordinarily fun combat, has great leveling elements, and has a vibrant and fast-growing community
- Nexon is doing a great job with community support by releasing new character types every month or so and giving users great game guides and FAQs by which to learn
Vindictus opens with a great tutorial mode that will probably surprise you with the level of polish. You crush through enemies while protecting a princess, and eventually you destroy a menacing spider to complete your first quest. With that, you get to customize your character and are launched into the small merchant town alongside other warriors. The game had a vibrant community of players, and seeing as the game is still early, there were adventurers of all levels, which made the game feel extremely inviting. The quests, available through short story clips and talking with particular characters, seem well put together, and the anime inspired art style means each character is well drawn and attractive.
At this early stage, you only have to board a boat to get sent to the various place where quests occur, and you can board the boat in groups to do those quests. It’s pretty fun and interesting, and when your team boards the boat, you have a bit of time to play around before the quest launches, which is pretty fun and exciting, like sitting in the locker room before a hockey game.
The fighting aspect of the gameplay is a lot of fun, and surprising. Each character has a different fighting style, and in a short time you’ll be blocking, parrying, countering, throwing and more as you fight your way through a variety of enemies. The AI on your opponents is average, but in a game like this that’s not a major detraction – I find the enemies to behave similarly to those in the God of War series. Bosses can be fun, and the team at Nexon has ensured that it’s not just a series of hacks and slahes to defeat a boss: you need to apply some intelligence to understanding a boss pattern before you can defeat it. This is the hallmark of a fun boss battle and they do it well in Vindictus.
The graphics are surprisingly sharp. Characters are rendered fully, down to the fingers, and the facial expressions are excellent. You’ll likely ask yourself how this isn’t a console game at some point during your experience, and if your computer is fast, you’ll probably be playing the game at nearly 60 frames per second, making the experience silky smooth.The colors and diversity of locations make the landscapes attractive, and the game puts you in various positions where you can see for miles into the horizon. These elements give the game an ethereal, vast feeling. Graphically, I feel like the game has used WoW as its inspiration, but crafted its own style on the shoulders of other giants.
The sound bosts exciting swelling orchestral pieces, accurate sound effects and strong voice acting mean that they live up to the high standard the game sets for itself in other areas. You probably won’t find yourself humming any tunes from the game (although the main theme from the introduction is quite nice), unfortunately, and the Nexon team’s decision to keep the music ‘in the background’ reminds me of the outcry after Final Fantasy XII did away with ‘theme’ based music. It would have been nice to feel a few recurring themes more often.
Storywise, the game doesn’t take its time to invite you into their world, and emotional swells of music accompanied by the plight of as yet unknown characters can feel sentimental. That said, the voice acting is solid, and the graphical representations of the characters are strong. With a little narrative guidance, Nexon could really bring emotional weight into the Vindictus universe: Unfortunately, it’s not there yet.
All in all, the game is something you have to try if you’re interested in action games, RPG games or online free games (which is pretty much everyone). It’s an advancement of what we play online and I won’t be surprised if we see more of these popping up soon.