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Pandora Saga -or- This Crap Just Needs To Stop

Posted by Ozzallos Thursday December 16 2010 at 11:10PM
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This will be a pretty quick little entry. File it under a gamers advisory, if you will.

Most of you are already aware that many developers involved in the Free to Play market will do almost anything for a fast buck; all the way and up to offering a substandard product for premium cash shop prices. All five of you who read this blog already know that it's somewhat of a hot button for me, and my already caustic attitude becomes more pronounced when I stumble upon the more egregious examples of that practice.

By all indications, Pandora Saga marketed via Atlus Online will become yet another prime example of this fail if the opening hours of its US closed beta are any indication. First, let's put that particular talking point to rest right now-- It's already been an active MMO in Japan since at least 2008.

Remember kids: Imported MMOs from other markets mean their betas in your country are nothing more than stress testing, localization and marketing runs regardless of what flavor of beta you're participating in. Very rarely will anything of substance- and by extension your well meaning suggestions -be changed or taken seriously. It's simply not cost effective for them to reinvent the wheel just for you.

My first indication that something was amiss was the launcher options and the graphical features therein. The sinking pit in my stomach began when I noticed you can set a maximum of three resolutions, up to 1280 x 720. Seriously? Did I suddenly set the wayback machine for 2005? This was sadly confirmed by the distinct lack of other special effect options, allowing the player only the most rudimentary manipulation of their settings. I tried to reassure myself that this was only the launcher. Things would get better once the full client was up and running, right?


Things actually got more limited once the game was up and running. Not only are their a few less options with which to manipulate your graphical experience (screen resolution now being completely gone, for instance), Pandora Saga's engine is showing every year of it's three year run in japan, and then some. While it's not quite as bad as Fantasy Earth Zero, the GUI is one of the more clunky you can possibly navigate, which is saying something when you actually have older F2P games that sport a cleaner experience... By light years.

Zones are likewise small and confining; almost claustaphobic. Basically they're the epitome of the early MMO staged pre-loaded zones. Sure, nearly every free to play does this to one extent or another, but the effect is exaggerated within Pandora due to a gaming engine that more than likely would have felt strained in '08, let alone here on the precipice of 2011. Mobs are uninspired and graphical special effects are lackluster to the point that I just couldn't be bothered to waste more of my time on what was becoming so obviously another attempt to take an elderly MMO from a foreign market with the hopes of milking every last dollar in a new country under the Free to Play banner.

As for myself, this will be Atlus Online's second strike against me as a gamer. Neo Steam was released as a largely incomplete product, but was more than happy to accept their gamer's cash at the store. Now they're introducing a game that would have felt old when it was first released in it's native market in order to squeeze blood from the proverbial stone and bone the more naive gamers amongst us.

When it comes right down to it, Pandora Saga is only one step above the likes of Phantasy Earth Zero, and Atlus as a company deserves to take the loss for even thinking to pass the cost of its acquisition onto this country's gaming community. This goes for any other company looking to make an easy buck by trying to scam its user base into playing something they're looking to put an absolute minimal amount of effort in just to port it over and make easy money. Hell, Pandora's not even worth a full review in the state it's being ported in.

Long story short, skip this game like the MMO plague it is.



KCDDagger writes:

*chuckles* Hot button... SLAMMED!  Sounds like they didn't even try a gentle press of the button this time.  they slammed with with a sledge hammer.

Thu Dec 16 2010 11:22PM Report
whilan writes:

Most (not all) F2P games are like this, your going to find a few that are interesting but 95% of them are going to be like this one. Ported from another country, localized and shipped.

Good thing we got at least 2 games coming up next year that will show how you properly make an MMO.  Where it's not only fun/entertaining, but well polished as well right out the door.

Fri Dec 17 2010 9:12AM Report
Ozzallos writes: It's a given that many MMOs come from some place else. My angst stems from the fact that they're trying to pass off these fail hand-me-downs off on another market without even a trying stab at freshness. Anyway, I thankfully agree with you on the state of up coming competition. Fri Dec 17 2010 1:56PM Report
Sogi-Ya writes:

weel, firstly it's fantasy earth zero, not phantasy, and secondly: don't balme the software when the issue is with your hardware.


I had no problem ratcheting up my resolution to 1920x1080 (my monitors max) and have seen screen shots from others running this game even higher. it is true that PS hasn't got all the bells and whistles that new games do, this game was built with having massive numbers of players in the same area at the same time (for the wars) and it's still got plenty of options for getting this game to opperate smoothly on a low spec system with massive numbers of players.


Yes it's 4 years old, no there is not much you can do up the polygon count or raise the texture resolutions. unlike most western titles, where new games are designed to exceed to current capabilities of most users, pandora saga was designed so that most users could run the game at full settings and only implemented options to tune the game down for systems that couldn't. it still looks plenty good-enough to enjoy the game, but if your going to try to play imported japanese games you'r going to have to realize that due to the countrys fasination with console systems, they design games to be played at a set visual level (as you would for a console game) and offer little in the way of graphical customazation.


As far as the rest of your complaints: initally, the developer for Pandora saga (Gonzo Rosso) was owned by Gonzo Digimation, however they ran into "problems" and had to shed the development studio, Index holding (the parent company of Atlus) bought said developer along with all the games it had previously developed. In turn, Atlus Online is now releasing the back catalog of games From what is now Rosso Index over the next year. given all that Pandora Saga is fundementally diffrent from Neo Steam in that this game is technically an in house release for Atlus Online while Neo Steam is from Hanabit (the masters of game abandonment).


It's too bad you don't like Pandora Saga, I personally love it but thats my preference and I won't argue about yours. that said I can't help but feel that you didn't give the game a fair shake as underneath what balnd elements PS has (most of those elements being things that are common limitations of the genera) there are quite a few unique and innovatove features that I don't think you have explored.

Thu Dec 23 2010 3:19AM Report
Sogi-Ya writes:

heh, that was supposed to be "well" stupid lexdixia.

Thu Dec 23 2010 3:19AM Report
Sogi-Ya writes:

-.- damn it, I'm tired so I made lots of typos. please read past them as I think it's still pretty easy to get my meaning.

Thu Dec 23 2010 3:22AM Report
kaungst writes:

lol, I needed a chuckle Sogi-Ya.

Thanks =P

Thu Dec 23 2010 12:22PM Report
Ozzallos writes: My hardware? LOL. I have a quadcore with 4gb ram and radeon 3800 series. I'm pretty sure my hardware isn't the weakpoint in this game when I can run Call of Duty without slowdown. Fri Dec 24 2010 12:07PM Report
Sogi-Ya writes:

then it was opperator error because my system isn't that much diffrent from yours, try the scroll bar: it works.

Mon Dec 27 2010 4:28AM Report
Vyeth writes:

Although I can see and understand your frustrations with the F2P re-release scams, since there is no other way for North American players to experience this game (no 20 worldwide servers to play on), I believe they only wanted to give players a chance to play it.

I actually like the way Pandora Saga looks and plays (its the same ol, but I like it) and would have probably stuck with it when GR released it (they didn't advertise much so the servers were empty).

Don't get me wrong though, I absolutely HATE the re-releasing of mmo's (mostly old ones) under new names and trying to make money off of old games in different markets, ESPECIALLY if they aleady have a global version that can be played..

Games like Air Rivals, Dragon Oath, 4Story, and most if not all PWE games suffer from this re-release syndrome..

Mon Dec 27 2010 12:31PM Report
Plebius000 writes:

While old and uninspired, it DOES have a day/night system which changes up mob spawning (which is neat) and a pretty good set of stats. In that sense, it isn't uninspired. It's stats are actually quite interesting. 

I like games where the Attack Speed increases via Speed Stat. :D


Plus it makes the scantily clad lady warrior archetype into it's own race. So it has near nude players running around, and then normally clothed players. I thought that was kinda funny, as opposed to all female chars being decked out in metal tit-cups and a black bikini bottom, only one race is.xD

Fri Jan 18 2013 1:14AM Report writes:
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