Stella Arcana Gameplay Impressions | Open World Anime MMORPG

Stella Arcana Gameplay Impressions

Nothing can beat a great anime MMO, right? I love this kind of game, although I’m not one to sit hours on end watching anime television shows. I just prefer to roll up my sleeves and jump inside the adventure, like I did in Stella Arcana: Eternal Stars. This game is about to launch worldwide on Android and iOS devices in January 2021, taking you into a cute and colorful realm that is being endangered by forces of darkness. Hey, I know that this seems to happen a lot, but what kind of game would it be if nothing happened and you just had to stroll around saying how do you do to your neighbors? That would be boring, so that’s why we can’t live without the bad guys.

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This video is sponsored by Stella Arcana, which we managed to play during the recent closed beta test, and I’m here to show and tell you all about it. You can download the game using the link in the video description as soon as it is available and begin your adventure. This time I’m going to start by showing you the classes, because sometimes I tend to wander off and leave this part for the middle of the video. Not today, my friends, not today.

After a short intro set within an airship, of all places, a group of five daring adventurers await your call. The Omni Warrior is a melee class of balanced attributes, with great agility and stamina; The Rune Mage is a ranged class boasting above-average attack and control stats; The Elven Archer is an agile DPS class that is perfect for those who don’t want to get too close to their enemies. The Holy Priest is another ranged class but is designed as the definitive support character, with great healing ability; finally, the Shadow Assassin is the toughest hero to master of the current bunch, a burst melee class that only the most skilled players should ponder.

And so, that’s it for the five Stella Arcana classes. Oh, wait, in fact, you probably noticed a sixth class called Rosen Knight in the bottom left corner. However, that class is yet to be released, so you can count on it for a future update.

Classes in Stella Arcana aren’t gender-locked; however, not all of them featured both genders at the time that we played. Some of them, like the Omni Warrior and the Shadow Assassin are only available in one flavor, so to speak, but the alternate character should be coming soon.

Your class selection is rounded up with a few choices of hairstyle, hair, and costume choices. You do get more choices as you progress if you play your cards right, but for now there isn’t much going on; nonetheless, the outfits are really cute and the female characters do have this… stretchiness to them, if you know what I mean. One curious aspect is the choice of a zodiac sign, a theme that is going to be more relevant to the gameplay and player relationships than you’d imagine.

With your new avatar prepped and ready for adventure, you start by doing the obvious thing: take a leap of faith headfirst, like you do in the best battle royale games. Except that Stella Arcana is an anime MMORPG, and this is just a stylish way of entering the fray.

The game can be played with a fixed top-down isometric perspective, or you can choose the alternate method of a free 3D camera. While the latter provides a better way to admire the environment, I have to say that the former feels more comfortable for exploration and combat gameplay.

Stella Arcana Gameplay Impressions Party

Before plunging into any game, I always take a quick look at the settings to optimize my experience. The first thing that I do is turn those graphics and effects all the way up to get the best possible visual experience. Stella Arcana is a pretty game, so I advise you to do the same, and don’t forget to turn on dynamic shadows. But the real kicker here is that you can switch the character borders on and off, resulting in very different styles. As you can see, the borders create this pronounced outline effect around the characters that is meant to give them a cel-shaded look, which you may like or not. Personally, I think that the characters look cleaner and better match the colorful environments without it, but to each its own.

The starting experience adds some diversity to the standard proceedings. It’s a nice touch that you can travel in some regions by shooting yourself from a cannon – kids, don’t try this at home –, and I also liked the humorous disguises that you wear to fool your enemies. Now and then, there are some easy puzzles, but later on you get more interesting stuff, such as this tree insignia that isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

Sprites are an important feature in Stella Arcana, but you probably know them better as pets. Or battle pets, to be more specific. You’ll find your first one early in the game – Timmi, a baby version of the game’s mascot, a blue mystical creature whose origin defies explanation. But he is a cute little fellow, with his horns, and the way that he likes rolling on the ground like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He is a nice help in battle… well, at least when he isn’t rolling around in the face of danger. He does give you a few stat boosts and his Mount Tai Crush skill does come in handy.

So, let’s see some of the pets that you can capture and use in battle. You have battle, ride, and mini pets, with distinct functions and outlandish designs. Battle pets are used in combat, ride pets are what we commonly know as mounts, and minis are sprites that you can dispatch on expeditions, delivering tons of rewards with no effort from the player. As for the designs, I’m especially fond on the White Tiger and Sun Wolf, cool and menacing creatures that will take you places.

The world map is of reasonable size and divided in various regions. The City of Thel is the main location, one that you should know by heart. You can find many important NPCs here, from shops to event and quest givers, not to mention the central piece of the city, the beautiful Astro Chart.

There are countless possibilities to explore as you gradually unlock new solo and team challenges in the Adventures option. Divided into mandatory, optional, and challenge, Adventures are a great way of leveling up your character by different means, either solo or party-based. Some events are available all day, while others open at specific times. There are many party dungeons where you can form a team and crawl the dungeon until you reach the final boss battle, where a huge creature awaits – destroy it for some great loot. Other modes will place you in a series of boss challenges, such as the Soulstar Cube. No matter what you choose to tackle, you must keep in mind that the auto-combat won’t be up to the task, with the increasing challenges requiring skillful interaction for things such as avoiding enemy attacks.

In case you can’t find a team of players to join you, Stella Arcana comes with an interesting alternative. You can recruit mercenaries to create a full party of five, thus tackling the dungeons with the help of these AI teammates. While some quests may require cooperation with actual friends, mercenaries will do just fine for most challenges.

Stella Arcana English gameplay Sea Dungeon

Mercenaries are the focus of the Stella Arcana gacha system. You can summon a few dozens of characters of different rarities, level them up, and enhance their skills via other options. This is a nice system because it isn’t just for show; there are many things to consider here, such as character affinity, active and passive skills, and a gift system that further improves their abilities. By deploying up to six mercenaries, you give your own character a few vital stat boosts. Besides, mercenaries do look cool, as you can see, and follow you around the world when you create a party.

I’ve already mentioned that the classes look good, but you can further customize them with new clothing options via the Wardrobe. The outfit design is pretty nice, with some quite revealing costumes, weapons, and hair styles. Besides, there are a few back items that range from cute to outright “why am I carrying a big fish around?” Adventurers can be peculiar.

Now and then, the story mode will require you to become stronger in order to tackle the challenges up ahead. This involves tapping the Grow Stronger menu and browsing the many options laid in front of you. From upgrading and enchanting equipment to training sprites and even offering gifts to NPCs to improve your affinity, there is a lot to choose from. One interesting aspect of the growth feature is the Astro Chart, which you can upgrade via different challenges to advance the eras and earn valuable rewards. The Hero’s Path is another useful guide that succinctly displays your hero achievements and what you must do to climb ranks and earn the best rewards.

Naturally, there is a host of PvP activities to prove your worth against other players. The arena is one of the inevitable modes, but there are other challenges such as guild hunting grounds or the Plunder the Ruins event. Most of these are limited-time events so that many players gather at the same time.

Apart from the main story, Stella Arcana comes with a few extra activities to keep you entertained and your character growing in other ways. Mostly known as life skills in MMORPGs, you can resort to fishing in one of several ponds that you discover in the Light Realm. This minigame makes for a nice break from the questing and combat, and nets you some fish that you can trade or use for experience points.

Another highlight is the Seed Island, your very own farm and housing system in Stella Arcana. This peaceful place is safe from harm and is where you can plant and harvest crops, craft furniture and decorate your house. Quite a nice little distraction where time flies without you even noticing it.

There’s a lot more to say about Stella Arcana, but the conclusion is that this is a competent, colorful, and fully-fledged open world MMORPG for mobile devices. The cute anime graphics are just another layer on top of a game with loads of main and side activities, both tailored for solo and team players. We hope you enjoyed our Stella Arcana gameplay impressions, you should definitely give it a go to see for yourself how appealing it is.

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