Hype Meter is a FreeMMOStation show where we give you an overview of the most anticipated free MMO games. This time we take a look at Dragon Slayer, the anime Monster Hunter Online MMORPG with over 200 mounts to battle and control, from the makers of Aura Kingdom.
X-Legend Entertainment is definitely on a roll. Not long after the launch of Fantasy Frontier Online, released under the name Aura Kingdom in the West, the Taiwanese studio is showing Dragon Slayer, one of their upcoming games. Once again, we’re treated to a very colorful anime style, something that is a distinguishing trait of the studio. Only this time it’s all going chibi and there will be monsters to hunt. So you’ll be as much a Monster Hunter as you’ll be a Dragon Slayer, if you know what we mean. Let’s see what this game is all about.
There was a slight evolution on visuals from Eden Eternal to Aura Kingdom, and the move to Dragon Slayer also seems to be a very slight one – we could almost say that this is a chibified version of Aura Kingdom. We’re not too picky if we expect better graphics in our MMORPGs nowadays and while Dragon Slayer looks okayish, it could look much better – even an old game such as Dragon Nest rivals Dragon Slayer. If you’re looking for a stunning anime MMORPG, then we recommend that you keep an eye out for Peria Chronicles, Tree of Savior or even MapleStory 2. However, Dragon Slayer could easily attract a lot of anime fans who are interested in the creature design of this game.
But graphics aren’t everything, as we usually say. Dragon Slayer has something else going for it and that is the Monster Hunter approach to gameplay. In this game you’ll play as a hunter and will take down over 200 monsters that can then be used as mounts in land, air and sea. Much like Pokémon and Dragon’s Prophet, Dragon Slayer has this collectible compulsion that will certainly keep many players coming back for more. There are some really weird mounts, others are very cute, and there are even some Chocobo-like creatures. While the graphics aren’t amazing, the design is pretty good and that should be enough to make players want to discover more mounts. The way to get them is by fighting a creature and then there’s this low chance of it dropping an egg – that’s where the mount comes from, so pick it up immediately or you may lose it to other player.
Classes known so far are pretty standard, so don’t expect anything different from the dozens of MMOs you’ve played lately: Cleric, Warrior, Ranger and Wizard.
For a game that takes a Monster Hunter approach, we would expect some exciting action-based combat with plenty of moves and dodges and all that stuff. Taking inspiration from Dragon Nest would be a good start and at first we were confident that this would mark a step forward in X-Legend games’ combat. However, we’re still treated to this hybrid combat system where button mashing plays the biggest part and tab-targeting combat brings the action to a halt, with the animations having to complete before players can dodge or roll again. You can also lock on one enemy or hit the empty space to damage all enemies. With games such as Kingdom Under Fire 2 and Black Desert Online striving to improve action combat, we were expecting Dragon Slayer to be just that little bit more… action-y.
There are some things that show some promise on Dragon Slayer, including the crafting system and the stat system, both of which are pretty standard but competent all the same. Being able to craft the best gear from materials obtained through several means gives us this push to keep discovering more and more of the game, and the stat system offers enough freedom create our favorite character and consequently our gameplay style, allocating points to the desired stats. This, particularly, is something that was lost in many MMORPGs of recent years.
We’ve already mentioned the okay-ish graphics as a drawback to a certain type of player, and then there’s the combat which is more of the same. Although the dodge and jump abilities could bring a bit of excitement to combat, a game focused on taking down monsters should be more action-focused, more… like Monster Hunter Online, obviously.
We’re also a bit skeptic on the quality of the gameplay outside of combat. How exciting will the quests be, with the usual auto-pathing and the characters probably only giving us a lame excuse to go hunt this or that monster. The world is also instance-based, so don’t expect a large open world to explore.
Most of all, it’s the combat system that seems disappointing, because that would be what makes Dragon Slayer a truly different game from Aura Kingdom. As it stands, it’s… well, let’s say we’ve seen it before, many times, many years ago.
While the anime Monster Hunter concept is compelling and there is something inexplicable about getting those rare mounts, Dragon Slayer looks more like an Aura Kingdom evolved, or chibified, than a complete new game. It has some appeal but could be a lot more if given proper care, mostly the combat. We were expecting a game to lessen our disappointment of not seeing Monster Hunter Online in the West, but now we seriously doubt Dragon Slayer can be that game.
Dragon Slayer will still be welcomed in the West, in case it ever makes its way over here, something that is very likely considering X-Legend’s track record – Eden Eternal and Aura Kingdom were both picked up by Aeria Games, so there’s that.
Let us know in the comments your opinion on Dragon Slayer!