We take our first look at this free-to-play hybrid third-person hack-and-slash brawler/role-playing game at GDC 2010.
With GDC 2010 in full swing, it only makes sense to sit down with Nexon's free-to-play hybrid brawler role-playing game Vindictus. The game (originally known in Asia as Mabinogi Heroes) takes its lineage from Nexon's Mabinogi, another free-to-play online RPG that has been up and running for some time. But Vindictus won't be a cutesy game where bigheaded characters beat up roly-poly critters that disappear in a puff of smoke. This will be a much more mature game with graphic violence and plenty of blood…and more than a little skin bared.
Vindictus draws loosely upon Celtic legends that suggested that a mysterious goddess would reveal paradise to those who defeated the enemies of the state. In this case, the enemies in question are the "fomors"--a blanket term for a wide variety of monsters that will include undead monstrosities, giant polar bears, and helmet-wearing demons. The goddess in this case has remained eerily silent even though the weary characters of the world have been at war with the monsters for as long as they can remember. The people are starting to doubt, as are the monsters.
In Vindictus, you'll play as a character who belongs to a specific character class, which is currently gender-limited; for instance, the heavy melee character that uses two-handed weapons is male, while one of the game's spellcasters is a sorceress that uses a giant scythe-like weapon. While this may sound limiting, the game will have an extensive character customization system that will let you create characters with varying skin tones, facial features, tattoos (facial, full-body, and otherwise), and scars, along with hundreds of different clothing, armor, and weapon options. Interestingly, the game will have an ongoing armor damage system that will actually be shown on your character's model--if you've been taking a pounding from a bunch of demons or skeletons, or what have you, your chain-mail suit will start to deteriorate, revealing the clothes you're wearing underneath, and should you continue fighting, even your clothes will wear away. (Fortunately, all characters will be at least partially clothed at all times in their skivvies.) Even without apparel damage, many of Vindictus' armor choices seem revealing enough on their own--for whatever reason, Nexon feels it's important to push not only the game's heavy character customization, but also the potential sex appeal of having young muscular characters wearing tight-fitting clothes.
What's far more interesting than any shirt or clothes is the game's combat system, which seems based on the brawling mechanics from classic side-scrolling beat-'em-ups like Final Fight and Double Dragon, taken a step further. While your character can perform various combination attacks with his or her equipped weapon, as well as use any magic spells or abilities he or she has access to, you can also manipulate your enemies and the environment. Vindictus is being built on Valve Software's Source engine--the engine that made a name for itself with Half-Life 2's then-impressive implementation of in-game physics.
In Vindictus, not only will you be able to whack your enemies senseless with your weapons, but you'll also be able to grapple with them, lifting them and carrying them as living shields against oncoming attacks. You can also pummel them into environmental geometry (one portion of the demonstration showed a character pummeling a werewolf right through a stony wall that chipped away beneath the onslaught). In addition, your character can pick up environmental debris and use it as a melee or thrown weapon--pillars, small boulders, and shattered wooden trellises are all fair game. The Source engine's physics can also be used to set up attacks, such as cutting down a rope bridge with enemies on it, or pulling loose a set of logs that's restraining a boulder you can send crashing down on enemies below. The physics can even be used to solve puzzles, such as releasing the same boulder to splinter a filmy wooden barrier above a subterranean cave. And in addition to interesting physics, Vindictus will encourage group tactics with unusual mechanics like chain harpoons, which can be hurled at larger enemies (like the aforementioned giant polar bear) to drag them to the ground and restrain them so that your teammates can deliver a proper beating.
Vindictus' interesting physics, high-quality graphics, and surprising violence definitely help it stand apart from other free-to-play games. It's scheduled to launch later this year.
Wow, wow and in case I an not convincing, damawow... Sign me up for BETA, PLEASE! Who I gotta know, what did I have to play, how long you need me to test? Work? Huh, what is that? I can definitely play BETA of this game, after all, I can always feed my family with my older gaming computers, they are high in iron, and even have refrigerated water... Blueberry flavor (coolant anyone?)
Hurray MABINOGI HEROES is finally coming to America, I like the name VINDICTUS more then the Asian name anyway.
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