An Astonishing Free-to-Play Action RPG!
Drakensang Online is a free-to-play action RPG by the german developer Bigpoint. It is also a browser-based game, which at first is kind of hard to believe. The game looks absolutely astonishing, with vibrant colors and impressive-looking effects. But what about the other, less superficial aspects? Unfortunately, Drakensang Online doesn’t really offer anything new, innovative or particularly original to do within its gorgeous world. However, it never lets standards slips, so while everything feels contrived, it also feels polished.
This polish is mostly felt in the gameplay, especially when it comes to combat. It’s fast-paced and very engaging considering the game’s isometric point-of-view. Actually, the isometric camera angle makes the combat feel sort of tactical, even more so than other isometric action RPGs like Diablo or Torchlight 2. Simply targeting your enemies and waiting for them to keel over won’t work here, and you need to manually aim your attacks and skills in order to defeat them. This fast yet tactical combat is paired perfectly with a light and and lean skill system. Each of the four playable classes has its own small set of skills suited its strength. Whether you’re playing the heavy-hitting Dragonknight, the damage-dealing caster Spellweaver, the versatile Ranger or the ever-evolving Steam Mechanicus, you can always tell which is the best skill to use in a given situation.
The PvP combat is just as engaging as the PvE, and can be accessed and enjoyed in several ways. First, there are the PvP servers, but if you want to be able to enter a good PvP fight from any server, you can pay a small amount to unlock the option in PvE servers as well. You can choose between three PvP modes outside of the RPG adventure, which are a 1v1 duel, 3v3 team deathmatch or 5v5 capture the flag. All of these modes support some very well designed arenas, and are fun to play in from a gamepaly point of view. However, the rewards offered for participating in PvP aren’t that enticing, so unless you have a strong preference towards one of them, there’s no reason to prefer PvP over PvE, or vice versa.
When it comes to story and quests in general, the game is much less interesting. Drakensang Online is another one of those games where dark forces from the underworld (here known as Anderworld) are threatening the kingdom, and it’s up to the heroes to save it. There are monsters, dragons, and other terrifying creatures to fight against, but they all tend to repeat themselves, even in different areas. The game’s ultimate evil is also another dragon, so don’t expect too much originality when it comes to plot points or even monster design. The quests suffer from the same lack of inspiration as well. There are simply too many fetch quests, and the ones that aren’t, are usually “kill 10 of this type of monster” quests or delivery quests.
Now we get to Drakensang Online’s best quality – its presentation. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, this game is exceptionally beautiful, especially for a browser-based game. Every environment looks nothing less than stunning, from the lush forests to the murky swamps and mysterious caves. The vibrant color palette spills over to the visual effects created by spells and skills. The explosions, bright lightning bolts and swirling swords all look incredible on your screen.
When it comes to sound, the music and soundtrack do an adequate job at creating atmosphere and ambiance in each new area you explore. The different cries enemies let out when they attack, combined with the varied sound effects of the skills and spells, immerse the player in the thrill of combat time and time again.
Drakensang Online is a beautiful game, not doubt about it. It’s also a pretty fun can, with intense combat that keeps getting better the more you master it. There’s too much focus on in-game transactions, as acquiring most of the items you need to progress your character and equipment will either require you to pay, or spend a ridiculous amount of time grinding. Add the uninspired story and quests and you got yourself a game that get be a chore to play. However, those willing to put in either the money or the afford will enjoy a browser-based MMORPG that manages to almost perfect the genre’s formula.
Step into a beautiful, free-to-play world and choose the hero you want to be!