Aika is a new free MMORPG developed by T3Fun (but there’s also a GPotato US-only version). After some research I discovered that the company is behind With Your Destiny, a not so popular MMO, and Mythos, a game inspired from the Greek ancient world that has gathered quite some hype.
Now that we cleared this, it’s time to get to business. Aika, in many respects is just another game out there, but on the other hand, it has some fine touches and features that make it stand out. Let’s see what those are!
First thing to notice is, strange for a MMO, and especially a PVP-oriented one, the story. Though it doesn’t seem special in any way, it is obvious that much attention was given to its creation. It has something about it that gives the story a certain magic and makes it somehow plausible. Actually, every main quest is somehow related to the original story and develops it even further. Even if most of the quests are of the “kill X creatures” or “bring Y stuff” kind, at least the designers tried to give a meaning to it. For example, in one quest you have to kill 10 of some tribal beasts that threaten the city in order to weaken them. In the next quest, as the tribe is weakened, your task is to kill the leader. As you can see, everything makes sense. Even the side quests are built in the same way. Dialogs are also quest oriented. Instead of just a dialog box appearing in front of you, the camera focuses on the NPC you are talking to, even some basic reactions are used, despite the fact that actual speaking is missing… It would have been a nice touch.
The graphics is another thing to notice. The quality is certainly above average and amazingly, very well optimized. It worked on my not-so-state-of-the-art computer like a charm. Later I discovered why… The movement is either point and click or WASD (you can even jump), whichever suits you. Sadly the keyboard controls are only partially implemented. You can’t jump off ridges or even small fences no matter how hard you try and some objects like fences or small houses can be passed right through. I believe this was done in order to optimize the game and make it compatible with both moving methods, but my belief is that this could have been done better. Fortunately, the sounds and music make up for the small deficiencies of the graphic engine and makes you completely forget about it.
One thing that differentiates Aika from other MMOs is the Pran. It’s not a pet, but more of a companion. After doing a simple quest, every player gets one. It (or rather, she), evolves from a fairy to a child, a teenager, and finally an adult. Her purpose is to help and follow you anywhere in game. You can also get quests from her. There are 4 types of prans: fire, water, wind and earth, each with different abilities. She also speaks to you and gives quests from time to time, and depending to your attitude towards her, the pran develops her own personality.
The PvP is something the developers bragged about since the beginning, and they were right about it. Besides the usual guild (legion) wars there are also castle sieges where a team attacks and another has to defend. The leader of the team who wins gets the title of marshal. On the whole map, different relics are scattered and the five existing nations fight over them. Every relic gives to the nation that has it different benefits from extra experience or drop rate to increased attack speed etc., so even PvP has a purpose. On their site was mentioned that the PvP was on a scale of 1000 vs. 1000. Although I believe this is possible, from what I have seen, it usually reaches the hundreds. Even this is a lot, and things can get pretty chaotic at times. Surprisingly, the lag was kept at decent levels.
There are 6 classes in the game: Warrior, Crusader (paladin), Sniper, Dual Gunner, Night Magician and Priest. And they are gender based! Yes, you heard me… gender based. The Warrior, Sniper and Night Magician are all males, while the Crusader, Dual Gunner and Priest are all females (and good looking ones!). Fortunately, the developers gave each gender strength, intelligence and agility oriented characters, though with some differences. One thing that I liked is that the bow was replaced with a rifle and the daggers with guns, giving the game an original renaissance flavor. With the level cap set at just 50, the grind is almost non-existent, with the developers claiming that a player can reach level 50 in just 3 weeks to a month, and from what I have seen, I tend to believe them. Of course, the item shop is there, consisting mainly of items that help you in item upgrading. Some though, are consumables that at a first glance seem to give players a slight advantage in PvP, which is not that good, but in general, I believe the item mall to be fairly reasonable.
So, if you want a free, almost grind-free, PvP and story-oriented MMO that is also easy to learn and yet original, with good looks as a bonus, Aika is certainly the game for you. It’s one of the best games I have ever tested and I believe it will be for a long time now.
by Sicaru Adrian