Vindictus is an amazing free-to-play game that proves how thin the line between the F2P genre and retail games is getting. There are a lot of good ideas and work in this action MMORPG and most of them should be looked upon by other developers. It’s no coincidence that everyone is talking about it as one of the most accomplished free-to-play games yet.
Here are just a few things from Vindictus that could serve as inspiration for other free MMORPGs.
High Quality Graphics
How many times have you heard the ‘it’s a free-to-play game, so you can’t expect good graphics’ excuse? Games such as Tribes: Ascend, Dragon Nest or Vindictus prove that such statement is a thing of the past and that we’re allowed to expect some eye candy with our usual F2P goodness.
It’s refreshing to be able to select a character with a familiar face, one that we can relate with somewhat. True, Vindictus is still pretty much a fantasy game, but not with the usual Orc/Dwarf/Elf protagonist variety, so it manages to be fairly original. Shame about the gender lock and only three characters being available at launch, but it’s a nice break from the norm.
What’s better than controlling hot female characters fighting against impressive creatures? Watching their armor being shredded piece by piece and letting the revealing underwear at plain sight in all its glory. Luckily, Nexon didn’t even forget to let players customize the underwear in the character editor. Now that is something we would like to see in more games… except if you’re controlling an orc or a troll, that would be creepy.
Interaction With the Environment
Vindictus takes a shot and succeeds at something that most free MMO games have been forget, even hits such as Runes of Magic or Allods Online – interacting with the environment. It’s mostly up to the Source Engine (that powered games such as Portal 2 and Half-Life 2) but it serves to show how committed the development team was. There’s nothing more immersion-crushing than unbreakable barrels and wooden boxes. However, Vindictus offers more than aesthetic elements, including physics that can be effectively used in gameplay.
Exciting Real-Time Combat
There’s a serious lack of fast-paced hack and slash combat in MMORPGs, both free-to-play and retail. Looking at Vindictus, the whole turn-based ‘me first, you second’ combat seems like something from a different age. It can be gripping in some games, but there’s no reason why real-time combat shouldn’t become the norm. It’s much more exciting to feel in control and let sheer skill take over the grind.
Vindictus is an all-round great experience, thanks to the unusual level of polish the game received. There’s a story worth bothering with, dialogues that actually are carefully realized and far from your usual free-to-play ‘Engrish’, adapted from the usual Asiatic releases, great character artwork and, most importantly, the inclusion of the breast slider for the female characters in the character editor.
Now that’s what I call attention to detail!