Take a Look Thursday: Vindictus

It’s time once again for Take a Look Thursday, you’re look into the world of free-to-play online games. This week, we’re going to take a look at one of the most brutal MMO games that you can find within the entire free online gaming market.

If you’ll recall one of our previous outings in this series, you might recall the Mabinogi feature that centered around a fantasy lifestyle combined with an epic storyline built around Celtic mythology across several generational episodes. Now we’re going to take a look at that game’s prequel, which as you may notice looks radically different from its forebear in visuals, styles and substance combined. Vindictus takes the various elements of the original game and turns them over head first: from the realistic visuals (versus the cel-shaded, anime-style visuals of the original game) to the physics-based fights and destructible environments, this outing in the franchise (you may have heard it referred to as Mabinogi Heroes, which happens to be the overseas name for this entry to the series) puts the blood and gore right in your face as you tear apart the Fomorian opposition.

You read that right, fanatics: Vindictus is about as bloody, disgustingly brutal as it gets, so younger players who can more easily handle the original game may wish to sit out for this one. Nexon, in fact, has initially described the game as “brutal elegance” in the run-up to its North American launch to begin with! Just take a look at the image above and you’ll see what I mean. This game is definitely not for the kids, or the squeamish types of people for that matter.

Once you start up your first session of Vindictus, you’ll be asked to select the base model for your in-game avatar, which in this game effectively determines the gender as well as the abilities and fighting style, and even more so than in the original game. In fact, the gender of your character is also determined this way, rather than giving you the option of a boy or girl like the original game did (nor can you change the gender in any way as you could before). For example, the model of Lann turns you into a dual-wield killing machine, while Fiona is the sword-and-shield traditionalist and Evie is the mage-type assistant/elemental specialist. I would prefer that you start your first game as Lann as this helps you get into the mechanics faster than any of the other characters, even though he isn’t as well off at the beginning as some of the other characters are.

Regardless of your choice of base character identity, you’ll start with a quick tutorial that serves to introduce you to the game mechanics. This is actually one tutorial out of two, however; after you complete this first battle quest and name, customize and prepare your character for the rest of the game, you’re tasked with joining the Crimson Blade Mercenaries as your organized team for investigating the Fomorian uprisings and battle for the opening of the paradise of Erinn from the original game.

This will prove to not be an easy task, so you’re sent to a secondary tutorial in an outpost for mercenary training in order to learn the remainder of the game mechanics. You’ll quickly find that gaining ability points, experience and other rewards is vastly different here, as under the default controls you have to use the WASD keyboard controls to move around (as opposed to clicking the spot you want to go to) while the mouse buttons and movement control your attacks and directional heading, respectively. Skills are once again provided through guidebooks that you read in order to learn them (and in fact you don’t have to wait through a reading sequence to know your success or failure as there’s now a 100% learning chance, as well as instantaneous skill activation). Evil-bearing, black-colored Fomorian cores provide the ability to receive items during battle, much as you did with the more-traditional item drops that were present in the original game. Titles make a return from the original as well, but this time you don’t need to equip them in order to get a stat boost as the effects are automatic in this outing (although you can still equip them if desired, should you really wish to be a complete, utter show-off).

There’s a lot more to Vindictus than I can describe here, but the general consensus is that what you get in this brutal, gory action-focused MMO should not be overlooked despite its variances from its predecessor. Now it’s your turn to let us know what you think, so feel free to sound off in the comments and let us hear your take on Vindictus and its gameplay style.

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