Divines of the East, a new browser-based MMORPG from Game321 has just entered closed beta. Its 2D side-scrolling and turn-based combat takes place in an ancient world inhabited by the legendary creatures of Chinese and Japanese mythology.
Player characters come in three different classes, all of which can be played by male or female characters. Sword Saints use swords in melee combat and have powerful physical attacks. The Eidolon's long-ranged magic attacks are the strongest attacks in the game, but Eidolon's also bear the burden of having the worst defenses in the game. Finally, Leaf Elves are also a ranged magical class, but they have support spells that can strengthen and heal allies or weaken enemies.
The game is very story-heavy, especially during the drawn-out beginner missions. Most of what you'll do for your first 25 character levels is run back and forth between various locations and talk to people. The game starts you off speaking to your mother who has just given birth to you. She is surprised that you can speak at birth, but then she points out that she has been pregnant for 16 years. When you go speak to your father, he greets you then says he'd always thought his wife's big belly was due to flatulence. The writing can definitely be funny and there's a long story being told if you pay attention to it. However, you will spend significantly more time reading and running than you will in combat.
The game offers a lot of assistance to its players. Mostly, this is welcome and very useful for navigating the game's many interfaces. Moving to the next location on your quest can be done automatically by clicking on the target in your quest menu. This is convenient, especially with how much backtracking you'll have to do. You can even use the various menus to manage your character while they head to the next quest destination. The auto-move is entirely optional though and you can explore the world at your own pace.
The game has a unique art style that works really well. The character design is awesome — every character and monster looks interesting. The cartoony visuals feature gorgeous vivid colors and the black outlines look like brushstrokes that really fit the oriental theme. The backgrounds and character portraits (during dialogue) are hand-painted and simply beautiful.
When it comes down to it, automated battles mean that Divines of the East is primarily about managing your character instead of making strategic decisions mid-combat. Managing your character's stats, equipment, servant, party members, resources (silver, coupons, and gold), and collectibles (crafting) is a big task with lots of details and nuances. If you enjoy RPGs that let you micromanage every aspect of your party, this might be a very good game for you. However, if you are like me and want to be able to command your characters' attacks, you will likely get bored very fast.
You can read full review here.
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