Divina recently held 72 hour challenge closed-beta to prepare for their coming release. A variety of websites had keys that would let you in, and the experience was a lot of fun. So, I decided this game needs a decent review. I should note as disclaimer, I only reached 30 of 45 possible levels.
First off, because all reviews should start off postive, here are the good points:
Creature Tomes: Although it is a slight grind, this mechanic allows you to kill enough of a certain creature to turn into one. This gives a lot of fun to costuming as a monster, and in some cases, you get neat abilities, although as of level 30, I had no access to creatures with abilities.
Weapon Crafting: Crafting in this game is a concoction of cards that you refine from certain areas. The game allows you to go afk and refine many cards for crafting, along with getting better at your crafting skill. The system is fairly simple, but allows the use of special stones if you want to embed your weapons with abilities and stats.
Divine Wheel: This is something I liked a lot. The wheel is a set of 5 items that when completed, give you stat boosts. The wheel itself takes the place of normal armor, and instead, you get to wear a costume, giving you complete control over how you want to look, allowing for unique costumes (dyes are available too)
Player Ally System: I did not get to delve into this, but the game rewards you for teaming up with certain people by giving you levels as you progress wtih another player. This is a fun mechanic that gives rewards for playing with certain people more.
Main Story: The main story of this is a lot of fun, placing you on a world composed of a giant tree and putting you in the position of helping a goddess to avoid the fate of the destruction of the world. Allow dialogue is a bit cheesy, the overall story is still intriguing, and I found myself wanting to know more as it progressed.
Sub-class: This is a fun system that more games need to expand on or at least try. The game allows you to pick a class that you can change into and out of at any time. Essentially, you get the chance to play two characters, as each have independant stats and HP.
Art Style: The style is very anime, and it is light and silly all the way through. For those people who enjoy playful anime, I enjoyed the monsters and the characters, excepting merpeople.
Side-kicks: Another amusing mechanic, this gives you secondary customization to a little creature that follows you into battle and helps you with tasks like crafting and finding items. Not to forget, but their dialogue can be hilarious, too.
Community: The GM's were very active in producing events and talkiing to players. I have to wonder if this will be the same in live, as it made the game a lot of fun with the creative stuff they did (hunts, battles, guided dungeon runs)
But there are also negative points:
Mobs: Floating pinatas is a better word to describe them, and they fail to provide a lot of diversity in abilities, making each fight feel similar to the last.
Quests: Most quests are kill, collect, or fedex style. They get old after the first 10 minutes. Especially since the dialogue doesn't help, nor does the fact that most NPC's are boring, and you have no clue why you should really be helping them.
World space: Unfortunately, the game feels a bit packed with mobs, and everything feels way too clustered. I could see this being an issue at higher levels with all monsters being aggro and having to fight just to travel through an area. Also, the day/night cycle feels like it was added in as an afterthought, night just does not feel dark. Another thing to note, the zoning is a bit jarring and makes the world feel a little less immersive.
Combat: Unfortunately, combat is a bit stale compared to a lot of other games out there. It can be fun walloping a ton of enemies at once, but overall, there is not too much strategy to be had here. Of course, it is beta, so hopefully a lot of the abilities improve for classes, as of now, only few of the abilities are useful, and worse, abilities used on a creature does not automatically start auto-attack.
Cards: Drop rates are absurd at this point, and you can expect to bore yourself if you feel like getting all the important ones to craft with.
Grinding: This game has little to do other than combat and craft, so expect to be doing lots of grinding to level, and finding yourself bored otherwise.
Sexualized Mascots: Clarisse and Claudia, the mascots of the game, are dark and light sexualized women that play a large part in the game. One is your sweet and innocent virginal type, the other is a straight-up dominatrix. Scantily-clad, they are as fanservice as you get, really.
GUI: Boring, uninspired, and worst of all, virtually unchangeable. You can move parts of it around, but forget resizing and playing around with hotbars, or colors.
Music: This gets quickly repetitive, unfortunately. Games should learn from Lineage 2, which had music, but it only played once in a while, and never got stale.
Sound: There is no sound for being hit, either that or I was bugged. This is rather necessary in battles to get audio cues for combat strategy