I’m probably one of the few reviewers here at MMOgames that will play absolutely any game, and sometimes I think it doesn’t help that the editor knows that, but hey, what can you do? So when they handed me Dofus I wondered what kind of mess I’d gotten myself into this time. Actually, I found that while there are a few outdated things in this game, it stands up really well in today’s market. Okay, looking back at some of my other reviews you probably see that I have something positive to say about virtually every game I play, but that’s because I firmly believe that every game has something good to offer virtually every type of player. Except for the Bleach game. That’s the Voldemort of MMO’s, we don’t mention that one.
Let’s start by talking about the art style in Dofus, how does it hold up, having been created in 2004? Well, I will say that everything in the game is hand drawn rather than computer generated. This does mean that the entirety of the game is 2D of course, but that’s not a bad thing! I found that every area was absolutely beautiful whether it was portraying the streets of Astrub or a beautiful piece of green pasture. Indoor and underground areas are perfectly detailed and functional, making this not only a great game, but a game that you can play virtually anywhere. The biggest problem I’ve found with MMORPG’s these days, is that you need a pretty beefy computer to run them. I mean seriously, on my old computer I tried to fire up Archeage and my processor overheated. Dofus, on the other hand, is an MMO that will run easily on very low spec machines, making it a very accessible game for virtually anyone. The one thing it really is missing however is the ability to run on Android devices. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to take the Dofus with you wherever you went? Well imagine all you want, but it just won’t happen. At least we don’t think so as the game has been out since 2004.
The game sports a heavy anime theme with 16 character classes, all of which have different abilities. Some classes are great at ranged attacks while others are better at taking it to the enemy. There are even support classes that only have a few offensive attacks. I was playing with an Eniripsa for example, and she only have a few offensive spells, and even a summon ability. She had plenty of buffs though, so I’d take her into battle any time. On the subject of battle, how exactly does the game play? Is it fun? Is it worth it? Will you feel giddy everytime you reach the login screen? I don’t know about that last part, but I can at least confirm that the game is pretty fun, at least in combat.
I’m going to be critical here about something that maybe I shouldn’t touch. Yes, it’s the world map. The game, outside of combat, is carried out in real time, meaning you can actually traverse the entirety of the world map if you so desire. The biggest problem I had with it, was that the game actually took place in small square sections, and to get to the next section you actually had to walk to the edge of the screen by clicking an arrow a the border which would appear under your mouse cursor. Blue arrows meant wilderness, green arrows meant city. That’s actually very good to know, because there’s a strong chance you won’t know where you’re going.
Unlike some other MMO’s, it’s not a matter of walking from Point A to Point B; half the time you are force to anticipate structures and other obstacles which walked right through in other games. In Dofus, the game actually cuts off your path if there is too big an obstacle in the way, forcing the player to actually memorize the layout of the map rather than simply wandering around haphazardly wandering around. Well, okay, you could do exactly that, but the amount of time it would take you would be ridiculous. In a way, I do applaud Ankama for making the game this way; compartmentalizing the entirety of the map does ensure that the game will run much easier on older hardware.
Right, so enough of my complaining, let’s talk a bit about the game and what you can expect to do should you opt to take the plunge. First of all, the game takes place in The World of 12, named after the 12 gods that have taken up residence there. I found as I was playing that the game is much like any other MMORPG with a vast overworld to explore and quests to pick up. I also noticed that the game places a rather heavy emphasis on crafting. In fact, many of the quests I picked up involved grabbing crafting materials, which isn’t that much different from any other MMORPG, but it definitely promoted crafting over fighting. Still, I wandered into the wilderness to find a few foes to put down, mostly sheep.
Of course that was when I found, that to my delight, the combat was remarkably similar to the various Tactics games. What I’m talking about of course is Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, Front Mission, etc. Combat doesn’t actually start until you purposefully click on a mob, though clicking on just one usually results in clicking on five or more. If you’re worried about it, hovering your mouse over a mob actually reveals the number present as well as their respective levels. In other words, you never need to enter a battle that you are not prepared for, but at some point you will, either because you clicked too fast or were hung over from a party the previous night. Fortunately, the consequences for death aren’t too bad.
As the player levels up he gains 5 characteristic points, 1 spell point, and 1 life point. Obviously new spells and equipment will become available as advancements are made, though I found that some classes develop better support abilities as the game progresses. Of course that is to be expected, but if you play a class like the Eniripsa, you would be better off with a group due to your buffs and healing abilities. In addition to that, some of the attacks for classes will only attack in a straight line, which makes choosing your placement before the battle very important. These battles will require slightly more thought than most MMORPG battles, but for those who want a real challenge, this is it.
The quests offered in Dofus are pretty varied and allow players to gain both experience and Karma, though it should be noted that as a player levels up, fewer quests will be available to them. I found that quests are more of a hand holding technique for younger players to help them get off the ground. The later game depends heavily upon grouping with other players and tackling dungeons, though this is par for the course in most MMORPG’s. I found however, that unlike in games like World of Warcraft, Dofus focuses less on story toward the end and more on community and generally creating your own adventure. For those who want to get off the guided rail tour that most MMORPG’s rely on, this is a vast improvement.
On the subject of stepping off the guided path and creating your own adventure, there are two alignments in the game, dark, and light, which allow players to participate in the war between Bonta and Brakmar. These translate into City of Angels and City of Demons, which isn’t very original, but hey, whose counting? It is possible for players to capture territories by placing Prisms, all of which can be viewed on the world map. Prisms can actually be augmented to allow teleportation between them, and if you were paying attention to what I said above, you know that walking is a bit of a pain. Fortunately there are other ways to travel, such as gates, and that does tend to make the game easier, if not a bit more costly.
As you can see, there is a lot to fear in the World of Twelve, but you don’t have to go it alone! You have the opportunity to form a guild or join one, making it easier to communicate with your friends or coordinate events, such as the snatching of a neighbor’s territory or a dungeon run. Guilds also have the opportunity to form alliances with other guilds, and there is actually no limit on how many guilds can join. The social aspect of Dofus is huge, and I found that it is a great game for those who want to solo, but an even greater game for those who want to team up and enjoy the company of their fellow avatar.
In the end, Dofus is not the prettiest game, nor is it the most advanced, but it does have all of the features that you would expect in an MMORPG, including an extensive spell system. It’s a game that has been around since 2004 and even survived a worldwide release(it was originally only in France), so we have plenty of reason to believe that it will be around for many more years to come.
+Beautiful 2D Artwork
+Great Tactical Fights
+Powerful Guild System
-Difficult to Navigate
-UI not Customizable
-Cannot set Resolution
Related: DOFUS, MMORPG, Review