The action MMORPG – a recent addition to the world of online gaming – was the theme of this year’s E3 Gaming Exhibition for those on the hunt for MMOs; though, amidst the rubble, one title stood out far above the rest.
Core Blaze, published by Gamania and expected for release early next year, is a visually stunning, fast-paced action MMORPG reminiscent of Nexon’s VindictusXE that utilises the Unreal 3 engine to push online gaming to new heights.
Though not without its share of issues, Core Blaze, in the early alpha stage that we’ve seen and played it, is shaping up to be a huge contender in the Free to Play MMO world. Visually it stands alone amongst its competitors, featuring incredible graphics and animations – most especially, the character models and environments, and lighting effects that show nothing if not the unlimited potential of the engine.
The demo level we were allowed to play started out with a choice of 4 classes, each centered around 4 core styles – defence, speed, strength and range – all fitted with appropriate weapons and aesthetic designs. The lack of any character customisation was something of a disappointment – something I sincerly hope is remedied come the official release – though, no information was provided as to whether or not this will happen.
Entering the world for the first time, the large, forest city we found ourselves in was one of the best looking in an MMO to date. Regrettably, the gorgeous locals and NPCs were quickly drowned out by the frustrating control issues.
This is my chief concern with Core Blaze in its current state – though designed for PC, the keyboard controls are a long way from comfortable, often requiring several frustrating attempts to perform simple tasks. Gamepad controllers were provided at the event, and performed much more fluidly than the keyboard and mouse, though still offered an unrefined game experience.
The overall movement and combat style felt designed for the gamepad, something I’m certain will need to be rectified prior to release, though if the intention is to bring Core Blaze to the console market, this could be something to look forward to.
That said, the controls didn’t prevent us from experiencing a lot of the awesome Core Blaze had to offer; chiefly, the active combat mechanics and brilliant selection of skills, items and abilities.
Combat was strange in the beginning – most enemies and bosses were difficult to defeat, often requiring several healing potions to succeed, though things became much simpler once we discover the role elements had to play. In essence, most enemies have a weakness to a particular element, such as electricity or fire, and ensuring that your attacks are sufficiently charged with the correct element for each fight was a clear indicator for success.
One of my favourite inclusions in Core Blaze was the weather mechanics, which outside looking incredible play a large role in combat. We didn’t have enough time to experience these mechanics properly, but during one boss encounter we did get a taste. Initially, this boss was insanely difficult to defeat – that was until we discovered his weakness to fire. We thought we had it made. That’s when the rain started to come down – at random, I might add – throwing another spanner in the works as we realised that our fire attacks no longer had the desired effect.
This is a simple implementation, but one that I’ve never really experienced before, and it made for a refreshing change of pace in the otherwise samey grind through a traditional action MMORPG setting.
It’s been said that day and night play another role here, too, whereby certain enemies only appear during certain times of day, with heightened vulnerability to certain attacks, and aesthetic additions such as glowing eyes in the darkness to indicate these changes.
Outside simple [Left-Click] and [Right-Click] attacks, combat and gameplay is further enhanced with the ability to block and dodge attacks, and sprint though areas at the cost of stamina. Though, more impressive was the skill and spell trees, in combination with the item variety, that turned simple button spamming battles into complex, skill based encounters filled to the brim with traps, grenades, spins, jumps, slams and more.
Combat still maintains an overall feeling of unrefinement, mostly due to the control issues, though with some simple tweaking has the potential to bring some fresh, and very welcomed, to the action MMORPG arena.
Smaller issues, such as obvious invisible walls and segregated areas in what claims to be an open-world environment plagued the current build, which again I hope to see remedied by release; though, these small problems are overshadowed by the customizable skill trees and overall intrigue of such a beautiful addition to an otherwise stale genre.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Core Blaze in the months leading up to release, so stay tuned for more coverage, right here at MMOGames.com.