Guest Author - James Shea
A free-to-play fantasy game, Vindictus stands out from other online games by being heavily based on swordplay and action gameplay.
Vindictus' gameplay will be familiar to those who've played games like "Monster Hunter" or "Demon's Souls", in that it's an action game, rather than a typical RPG. Players must slash, dodge, block, and throw all in real time. It's fast-paced and chaotic, and a lot of fun too. One of the key attractions of the game is the physics engine, which allows scenery to crumble and be picked up as an improvised weapon by players. For example, if you're out of spears, just break a nearby pillar and start hurling the chunks at enemies.
Vindictus currently has three characters: A male soldier who uses two swords, a female soldier who uses a sword-and-shield, and a female mage. The fact that you can customize these characters (hair style and color, skin color, limited facial expression things) makes me wonder why they bothered to establish them as "characters" rather than "classes", though. Still, the basic concept is sound: the two-swords character is offensively balanced and can attack really quickly, the sword-and-shield character is defensively balanced and is able to block more attacks, and the wizard is able to use powerful spells while being less physically powerful.
The interface is pretty simple: use the mouse to look around, use the mouse buttons to attack (left is light, right is heavy), use the WASD keys to move, use the spacebar to block or evade. Other than that, the player only has to worry about the item slots ("1-5", used to hold things like potions and spells) and the secondary weapon slot ("F", used to throw spears, bombs, and other things). It all flows really easily, so there's no point where you get caught up in managing your inventory during combat. The one problem I had was that blocking/evading was kind of unresponsive, but other than that the game played great.
The game looks great, especially considering that it's free. The armor designs actually look pretty plausible (at least until you hit higher levels) and the enemies, including gnolls, kobolds, and spiders, are all fairly detailed. There's only a few dungeon types (most of the early game is spent in the same set of ruins), but they at least change up the layout and content so it's not really a big deal. Sometimes it feels like the content is kind of limited, but to be fair the game is still in development.
As mentioned, the game is free to play, but there are some ways that money gets involved. Real money can be used to buy such things as customization options (new hairstyles, tattoos, and underwear), better items, and in-dungeon revivals. Still, you could play the whole game start to finish without ever having to touch any of that stuff. It doesn't really feel greedy or unbalanced - if you enjoy the game, you'll sink some money into it to get some cool stuff.
Overall, Vindictus is a fun game for one to four players. The fact that it's free means that you won't lack for comrades, and naturally it can bring a lot of fun co-op moments as your party storms through a dungeon and smashes up a boss. Definitely worth a download. 9/10.
Free-to-Play from http://vindictus.nexon.net/