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Avabel Rising

Posted by Segun777 Tuesday March 26 2013 at 9:10AM
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There’s a game I’m playing this past week. It’s a fairly standard MMO dungeon crawler; six classes, a starting town and a dungeon to climb floor by floor. There’s one thing though that separates this game from the pack; Avabel Online is a mobile game for the iOS and the Android. Avabel Online, the latest game from Japanese developers Asobimo, launched open beta last week and it is incredible. This game would be impressive if it came out on a console, but on the mobile market it is a breath of fresh air. Gone are the binding ‘energy’ restraints and ugly Facebook era wannabe mobile MMO’s, and gone are the squarish PlayStation One era graphics of the Everquest-lite mobile MMO’s; Avabel is visually impressive, structurally sound, and a joy to play.



Avabel starts you out in the central town. After a short and very limited introduction you are thrust into the world of Avabel. Each ‘level’ is a landscape all its own with more difficult monsters with each level. Rather than spend time on a long and boring tutorial, Avabel Online tells you about the Help section and then throws into the deep end. You can join a party or play solo. Rather than go back and forth for quests, Avabel has an achievement system that rewards daily play, how far you get up the tower, slaying bosses and killing boatloads of monsters, etc. At level five you return to town to choose your class; Warrior, Rogue, Ranger, Acolyte, Magician, or Creator (a crafter class). Avabel also has a guild system that rivals its PC counterparts. A guild point system to upgrade the guild and a bulletin board to keep in touch are just some of the features Avabel boasts. For those discerning gamers who want to lord over others, Avabel boasts PVP Arena combat.


Avabel Online is currently in open beta, and has been in beta for some time in native Japan. There are few if any bugs in the build I played so rest easy on that front. While the future is uncertain for how Asobimo will tackle the business side of things, for now this is one of the finest free games on the mobile market. Avabel Online is something of a lovechild of Phantasy Star Online and Monster Hunter, as such should quickly grab a loyal following. While the mobile market can’t compare to its better handheld and console cousins; titles like Avabel Online remind us that the platform has so much unexplored potential.


Segun Adewumi

Voice Activated Excitement

Posted by Segun777 Tuesday March 12 2013 at 3:49PM
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I was playing Closed Beta’s last weekend, specifically Marvel Heroes, Neverwinter Online, and Warframe; there is such a contrast between the three games and how they use voice to tell story. Marvel Heroes is your basic dungeon crawler, and I do mean basic; the combat is a step back from the popular Marvel Ultimate Alliance games of yesteryears. The game is better than your average movie license game, but considering the company that’s hardly more than a backhanded compliment. Neverwinter Online is perfectly serviceable and I’m sure in a year the Foundry will be the chief point in its favor, but the lack of quality voice is telling. Warframe is a game that can easily suck hundreds of hours of your time. It’s fast, dependable, and guaranteed to give you small bite-sized gaming; but it’s unlikely to ever be your primary MMO. It doesn’t give you enough story to be more memorable than LAN parties with your friends; fun while it lasts but not notable for anything other than the camaraderie of Co-Op.


Star Wars: The Old Republic was the first MMO to bring us a fully voiced experience. Lauded and vilified, its struggles have given rise to the idea that voice is a meaningless luxury. It’s interesting to be sure how different we treat the single player and MMO markets. I can’t imagine the next Call of Duty, Halo, or Assassin’s Creed not being fully voiced; gamers would riot on the streets. We’ve taken for granted how much voice impacts our enjoyment of the story. If TOR did anything wrong it was risking too little. BioWare stories have captivated gamers for more than a decade, yet the stories were too bound by the systems of an older generation of MMO’s. They risked too little, and as such much of the great story elements are hidden behind tiresome MMO tropes.



Love it or hate it, voice is irrevocably linked to the enjoyment of story. Playing Neverwinter Online for the first time it was striking how quickly I went back into the old ways of clicking through quests; every feature giving me that feeling of déjà vu. The trick is to make everything count; story, like a good meal, cannot be rushed. It’s not enough to have quest hubs or even quests scattered all over a map. Voice has given rise to a reality that cannot be taken back; story; and the quests that drive it, are going to have to be as good as the single player experience.



Segun Adewumi

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