Outside of North America, Vindictus has been Nexon best kept secret for more than 2 years. An action MMO at its core, it was originally released in Korea as Mabinogi Heroes back in 2009, and then in January 2010 renamed as Vindictus and released in the US. It wasn’t until September 2011 — last week — that Europe saw a version, Vindictus XE (European Extreme), and until Australian writers Daniel Owens, Tobias Masters and I finally had a chance to play it for ourselves. And boy did we play”¦
Cody: We weren’t actually allowed to play; Australians weren’t offered access to any of the 3 available versions of Vindictus, but through developer contacts, VPNs and relocating to Holland we were all eventually able to get in for most of the beta period and experience a good chunk of the content on offer.
Daniel: More like an EPIC chunk of content. It was a relief to finally experience the game first hand (thanks Nexon!) and discover what the game has in store for European players. I’ve been watching Vindictus from a distance for a while now, so it was exciting to see exactly whathad been changed between versions. That the key thing here, playing in another region doesn’t just mean you play on different servers; you play a different game.
The majority of changes are in the difficulty of dungeons and crafting, but aesthetically the game looks a lot better as well. I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally find a F2P title that supports multicore CPU and actually uses them. It turned Vindictus into an incredible looking game that runs brilliantly on almost all PCs, and that something to get excited about.
Tobias: Excited? The beta test has made me more depressed than anything else. I haven’t enjoyed an MMO this much in a long time and knowing that I had to stop playing once the beta finished really upset me.
I went into the XE CBT with no experience of the original Vindictus and everything about the game has just blown me away. The RPG elements, the story and cutscenes are fantastic and the combat is smooth and highly enjoyable. I can’t properly express how refreshing it is to see an MMORPG that isn’t afraid to try a different approach to the genre.
Cody: That what impressed me most about it all: they dared to be different. This isn’t a rehashed World of Warcraft — hell, it more like an action game on console than it is WoW — this is a genuinely different experience, and that recognisable in every part of the game.
Take character creation as an example. It actually character selection, which then becomes character creation once you’ve had the chance to try it out. It not often that you get the chance to choose an awesome game character and then customise them to suit your own style. And you can take that even further with the weapon and armour design. I have to be honest here: I have absolutely no idea what type of armour I should be wearing as Lann. Cloth wouldn’t have been very smart, but leather, mail or plate? No clue. I went with leather in the end hoping to be more agile, and as far as I know that worked, but the point is it was different, and that exactly what I needed.
Daniel: Don’t even talk about armour; I’m still broken up that I didn’t finish my Sweetie Bear Set. I must have it! I still can’t believe how amazing the graphics are either; is this game really Free to Play? I mean, the physics are brilliant too, but the real kicker is definitely in the visuals. You can tell a lot of attention has been paid to detail and DevCat have put a lot of love into this game.
And I think we have some great memories of our first time walking into the White Tyrant Raid and coming up against a giant polar bear; it moments like this I know I’ll personally remember for a long time. That the juice right there, if a game can create memorable moments for me I am sold, and Vindictus does just that.
Tobias: Heh, that bear fight is gonna be stuck in my head for a while. The three of us standing victorious at the end of a long battle, armour visibly torn to shreds and the area around us utterly destroyed made for one of the greatest gaming moments I’ve been a part of.
URGH! I don’t wanna wait until it releases, I want it now!
Cody: Haha, the bear fight was incredible. It took a while to figure out how to get him to drop the Savage Eye, but we got there in the end (hit him in the eye with a spear 5 times), and it made for one hell of a memorable experience, and the battle itself was truly fantastic. The way he jumped around the room thrashing violently in every direction after we blinded him”¦ I treasure moments like these, and Vindictus was full of them.
The level variety really opened up toward the end, too. After beginning Ainle — the third dungeon area, a burning village overflowing with zombies and vampires — I found a huge new amount of variety. It a pity they saved the juicy content until the higher levels, but I can’t complain. It was a hell of a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to get back in there.
That all we’ve got time for today folks; stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow!
Related: Beta, MMORPG, Nexon, Preview, Vindictus