Continent of the Ninth Seal, or C9 as it is commonly abbreviated, is an upcoming free-to-play action–MMORPG. Published by Webzen, C9 promises to offer an unrivalled action RPG providing complete control over your character in combat. Currently the press have been invited to take a sneak peak at C9 just a few days before the VIP test begins. Join Cody Hargreaves, Daniel Owens and iQU Staff Writer, Douglas Stewart for their initial first impressions of C9.
Douglas Stewart: Coming on like a bad rush of deja vu, Webzen’s Continent of the Ninth seal delivers nostalgia and regret in equal measure. Billed as an ‘Unrivalled action RPG’, it tries to deliver seamless combat, dynamic control systems and massive world with extensive questing. What it boils down to is a shameless pastiche of better games that have come before it, wrapped in a subpar engine and featuring all the terrible grind we so adore in Asian F2P titles.
Character creation results in avatars looking like they stepped out from a Capcom title of old, with gender being locked by your choice of being either a hunter, a shaman or a warrior. Being Capcom is not a totally bad thing, when the game sounds and plays like Street Fighter gone MMO, complete with corny combo sounds, albeitly sealed in a rocking soundtrack that only reinforces that vibe.
Daniel Owens: I have to say I agree with Doug; before entering C9 I had a very strong feeling that I was about to experience something awfully similar to Vindictus or Dragon Nest. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed those games and had some fun with them for a little while, but they’re essentially a tech demo, the basic foundation of what can be done with the genre, and definitely should not be the standard.
It really feels like they have picked up a competing title, copied the gameplay, re-skinned it and sent it out for testing. So far I am not feeling like C9 is moving the genre forward; unrivalled action RPG probably isn’t the way I would describe it at this point.
Cody Hargreaves: I wish, if only for the sake of spurring this discussion in a different direction, that I could use this time to talk about some of the things that C9 does well, but I’ve been sitting here for almost 30 minutes now and I’m drawing a blank. Doug and Dan have already captured the essence of C9: it feels rehashed, dated, and not at all like an unrivalled action-RPG.
In fact, if you’ve played one of Nexon’s recent releases — Vindictus XE or Dragon’s Nest — then you’ll already know that C9 is rivalled, and in many ways, beaten to the curb. While there is something to be said about the fluidity of the character animation, C9 fails to meet the standards of its competitors in every other aspect, from narrative, character and plot to visuals, monster variety and, ultimately, soul.
Douglas Stewart: Putting aside Cody’s love of James Brown for a moment, I can potentially see C9 appealing to a certain niche. It’s not a complicated game, and while its lack of an engaging plot and true narrative grates me, it’s a straightforward affair to dive in and play, especially for those with limited time.
In fact, the dungeon instancing and levelled zones encourages exactly that. It’s not what I’d term an investment opportunity for your time, but for some it might be exactly what they are looking for: violent, simple, quick to action and just as quickly forgotten.
Daniel Owens: Although C9 so far doesn’t make me feel as good as I’d have liked, I can easily see how the pick-up-and-play format can help to ease the pain of its inadequacies. When it boils down to it, games like Dragon Nest are repetitive and boring, yet have massive popularity due to their simplicity. If an engaging story just gets in your way when all you really want to do is kill sh*t and look badass while doing it, then I might go as far to say that C9 delivers that experience perfectly.
However, my initial impression isn’t shaping up: a generic storyline and yet another poorly translated game just isn’t acceptable anymore. I’m still looking forward to spending some time in this test but I can’t say my opinion will change too greatly; what do you think Cody?
Cody Hargreaves: Why is it that every time I talk about soul people think I’m referring to music artists from the 50s? I’m sure most gamers can attest to what a game is like when it has a soul. You can have all of the head-stomping, bone-breaking, sword-dripping-with-blood violence you like, but if you haven’t got soul, you’ve got… well, C9. Vindictus XE had soul. It had character and narrative, too, and yet still managed to pack simple to grasp violence to the rafters.
I agree with Daniel here: I’ll definitely continue to play C9 for a while, in the hope that I’ll be pleasantly surprised once I’ve advanced in level and had a good chance to try out the crafting system, but I really don’t see myself switching my position on this one. What C9 is trying to do has been done before. And it was better then, too. How can C9 compete? I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.
Visit our Youtube channel to watch C9 gameplay videos!Related: Action, C9, Continent of the Ninth Seal, F2P, WEBZEN