Solid RPG with enough unique touches to make it stand out
“An immortal named Modo has been sent to live a full mortal life on earth as punishment for his crimes in the Absolute, the realm of the afterlife. Angered by this humiliation, the mortal Modo is determined to not only reclaim all his previous power, but gain enough strength to destroy the Earth once and for all, so that he may never be punished in such a base way again. As the story’s hero, the player must stop Modo’s heinous plans and ultimately destroy him, or aid Modo in his quest to annihilate the Earth….”
Dawn of Magic is a game I have been keeping an eye on ever since I first previewed it a couple of months back. At that time, minus an English voice over and a few control problems, it was pretty close to completion and I have been looking forward to getting a review copy ever since.
What we have here is a good old fashioned, hack ‘n slash RPG, aimed at single player questing. Think Diabalo and you are on the right tracks. It follows the long established rules of the genre.
Create your character.
Wander round chatting to locals and killing low powered monsters.
Questing and item collection.
All familiar stuff, but that is what makes it an RPG after all!
Character creation is a simple affair. Choose one of four character types (including the bizarre Bakers Wife!?). Next choose an alignment Good, Neutral or Evil and that’s it. Your alignment effects how other characters deal with you. Evil is fun as the other students in the academy start calling you names and screaming ‘Die Die’ at you!
Your game starts off in a Harry Potter-esque magic academy. Here you will choose your first 4 spell groups by talking to professors. You will then be set the task of killing 10 coyotes. These choices and the way you use the first spells will effect the way your character looks straight from the word go, but more on that in a moment.
What this has is a few refreshingly unique features that should make it stand out on its own merits.
The RPG market is saturated with good titles. From the classics like Diabalo to the new all conquering online RPGs like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars. Developers who want to enter this lucrative market have their work cut out for them. Many simply produce a clone of one of the popular games and ride the back of the trend However, some try to add something a little different and sell the game on it’s own merit.
So where does Dawn of Magic sit. Well, somewhere in the middle. As mentioned, at its core this is a basic RPG. What this has is a few refreshingly unique features that should make it stand out on its own merits.
First off it looks lovely. The graphics may not show off the latest be high res, photo realism that is so popular, but they work superbly for Dawn of Magic. The environments are large, with lots to do and explore. They are lush and full of life with trees swaying in the wind and monsters around every corner. It is really atmospheric and has a great ethereal feel to it.
Combat can get really fast paced at times, with dozens of monsters attacking you.
Characters are well drawn and the animation is smooth.
With a name like ‘Dawn of Magic’, you will be unsurprised to find out that magic plays a huge part of this game. In fact it is much more important than in many other game, where players can get away with just hand to hand combat.
The magic and upgrade system is very well thought out. There are 12 magical fields to specialise in, each with 8 spells to learn. What adds a little twist here, is that you can combine 2 spells to enhance their power. For instance, you can have a fireball and mix it with fire master to improve the power. But you can mix spell types as well. So you can have a fireball mixed with lightening mastery, resulting in a fireball that strikes its victim with lightening. This really opens up the spell casting and raises it to a new level.
You have the ability to craft and also to augment weaponry with the use of runes. This is quite fun as if you get the right runes (that spell certain words) you can get greater effects.
As mentioned, using spells will change your characters appearance. Each part of your body can be morphed. For instance you may start to grow wings if you use certain spells over and over. Use earth spells a lot and you will start to look a bit tree like. Soon you will find your self with a totally unique looking character. I love this feature and found myself looking forward to my morphing almost more than my next quest!
All praise so far. There are a couple of things that can take the edge off at times. The voice acting is not the greatest, but it is a translation, so no surprise there. Movement is controlled by clicking where you want to walk. Personally I prefer to be able to use the cursors or wsad to move about. Finally the camera angle is pretty tight, even when zoomed out. You can find yourself with a very limited field of view. This is particularly frustrating if you are in the middle of a real melee.
The question is, does all this add up to something worth having in this over populated genre. In my opinion, yes. By my own admission I am not the biggest fan of RPGs. This has really grabbed me, more than some other large RPGs that I have played. It adds a little something, a bit of originality that is missing in many games now. It takes the RPG ball and runs in its own direction with it, creating an immersing RPG that will keep new comers and old hats alike entertained for many hours. It may not be reinventing the genre, but it is making a few nice additions.
The Bad: Camera angle is a bit close in, even fully zoomed. No keyboard movement, all done with mouse