Deeds define whether or not someone can be called a hero. Be it a noble sacrifice, being steadfast amid the face of insurmountable odds, or a clever ploy to triumph over evil, doing something is a more concrete example of being heroic rather than words. That is why being a hero entails true resolve and a sense of knowledge that cannot be sundered easily. With that in mind, the folks at GBE Games and Eyasoft have created Hero of the Obelisk.
Hero of the Obelisk is an MMORPG created by GBE Games that is designed as an action-packed game that lets players run through a gamut of dungeons in order to prove that they deserve the eponymous title. But with the slew of other MMOs in the market that have the same premise, does this game have what it takes to stand out of the others? Let’s have a closer look!
Dangerous Levels of Cuteness
From an aesthetics standpoint, Hero of the Obelisk looks polished and easy on the eyes. Every dungeon and city feels alive and vibrant; it’s as if you’ve stumbled into a bright and animated world or that one of those Saturday morning kiddy shows you’ve watched when you were a kid.
The designers have also tweaked the cuteness factor of their characters way up, having large heads and eyes that are not proportional to their bodies and limbs. This “chibi” look harkens back to the earlier character designs of Eyasoft’s previous games like Iris Online and Luna Online, capitalizing on the cuteness factor of their character designs. Character customization, however, is a bit limited – players can sift through a handful of preset hairstyles and faces; the eye colors cannot be changed, which is a letdown because the hair and skin color can be customized as far as their restricted color palates would allow.
There is also the issue of choosing the gender of your avatar – the chibi look makes it difficult to distinguish the male from the female characters. As for the enemies, they also sport a very cartoonish look about them and with the exception for the bosses, most of the enemies do not look menacing or intimidating at all – even when they flock towards you, the element of danger seems to be non-existent because they look adorable. That being said, while there is a market for games that uses charming and adorable archetypes and creatures, having cutesy, cartoonish and bug-eyed characters might sway the more hardcore gamers away.
All Along the Watch Tower
In terms of story, Hero of the Obelisk brings nothing new to the fold: you play a character who wants to prove himself that he is worthy to be called the hero of the obelisk. The story doesn’t really dive into the details as to why your character wants to prove himself, and even if it does, it feels very formulaic and unoriginal that you’d see yourself just skipping the narrative all together and just get to the good part of the game – face-smashing the baddies.
Hero of the Obelisk presents gamers with three playable classes: the swordsman, the adventurer and the scholar. Swordsmen are the heavy hitters in the game, but are capable of being the meat shield for their team as well; adventurers enter the foray as the marksmen (and women) that bring a lot of firepower through the use of guns and technology. Finally the scholars are the requisite mages that use magic in dealing with the unruly denizens within the various dungeons.
Having three classes seems to be a step backward, considering that most MMOs nowadays have at least four or five, and the archetypes chosen are very rudimentary – the typical heavy-hitter, the ranged damage dealer, and the caster. The lack of classes makes the game feel constrictive and repetitive in terms of game play and strategy; it feels like the more experienced MMO players would glance over the said archetypes and would immediately get the gist of how they would play out. However, Hero of the Obelisk tries to remedy this by having a skill tree system which acts as your character’s passive traits. Players may use skill points which they get upon leveling up and allot them on the available abilities from either the offensive, defensive and support table. Adding this nifty feature gives their three classes some depth, as players could create some decent builds for their characters.
Sugar, Spice and a bit of Flash
Hero of the Obelisk’s controls are very standard: in order to move the character, players can opt to use the W, S, A and D buttons or left clicking on the terrain. Hitting space bar would make your character jump, but apart from some dungeon traps, jumping is mostly for flashy movement and it doesn’t really give other tactical advantages. The camera is controlled by holding down on the right mouse button and moving the mouse, but this proves to cause a bit of a problem when battling monsters as it doesn’t flow well and feels clunky at times.
Speaking of gameplay, Hero of the Obelisk uses a hack-and-slash combat system that responds well and has players on their toes when engaging opponents. Your character’s skills are set in the number buttons on top of the movement buttons; pressing the 1 button would have your character use a normal attack, and would try to hit the closest enemy. Other skills can be designated on the number keys as well, while the perishable items used for hit point and mana point replenishment can be assigned on the function keys. Using skills in this game is very flashy, and at times it feels rewarding when you lay waste a room full of baddies with a well-timed sword sweep, spread shot, or magic spell.
Once you’ve reached a certain level, you can choose to specialize your character by selecting one of two branches of your selected class: the Swordsman has the defender and the melee damage dealer sub class; the adventurer can go stealth or stick to being a ranged attack damage dealer. The scholar can either be the ranged area-of-effect damage dealer, or the healer of the group. Players have to be careful when choosing the specialized class, however, because once chosen, you’re stuck with that specialization unless you create a new character. The aforementioned skill tree system will also be available once you’ve reached a certain level as well, and just like the class specialization feature, players need to be sure on building their character, as choosing your passive skills can only be reverted by buying a skill refresh item which costs a lot.
Hitting the Dungeons
Majority of the battles in Hero of the Obelisk have players clear a dungeon full of monsters until they reach the boss room. Before entering the dungeon, you are given the choice to either try your luck and raid the dungeon by yourself, or join a party. Based on experience, most players can more than hold their own in dungeons; partying up for a dungeon raid can be a drag, since you have to wait for other players to fill in the slots, so you’re better off venturing into the dungeons by yourself and test your mettle.
The number of enemies per dungeon room varies, and it is quite surprising how many creatures can be on the screen at one time. But as such, their strategy most of the time is to swarm you and try to bludgeon your hit points to zero. That being said, it’s hard to have your health points drop to even half of your maximum pool, as the normal opponents do not hit hard; one just needs to be wary when one’s being smothered by the bevy of enemies that want you dead and create distance to heal and set up one’s skills for the onslaught. The dungeon bosses up the ante a bit, as most of them have skills that cover a lot of space in the battlefield. Apart from their wide-ranging abilities, they also summon random lesser minions who will wail at you and make taking down the boss that much harder; a bit more planning is needed when butting heads with the dungeon bosses.
Defeating the dungeon boss completes the dungeon run. After defeating the boss, players are given four boxes that contain random loot; each player can choose to pick one box for himself, and whatever item would end up popping up in his chosen spot will be his. Equipping the weapon, armor, trinket or accessory to their character will replace their older, less powerful armaments. One thing worth noting is that as you progress through the game, your avatar will visibly change with every new sword, gun, wand and vestments you bestow on it. Seeing your character get a visual upgrade with his weapons and armor is a very satisfying feeling, and it counters the somewhat repetitive nature of dungeon clearing because you want to see what other stuff you can put on your avatar.
With a somewhat deep character progression system and multiple dungeons to explore and complete, Hero of the Obelisk is a decent MMO to take for a spin. There are some issues with the repetitive nature of dungeon runs and an uninspired story, but other than that, it looks and feels like a respectable game. The cuteness factor in this game is off the charts, but if you’re the type who prefers this level of “chibi” goodness, then Hero of the Obelisk might just be the MMO for you!Related: F2P, GBE Games, MMORPG, Review