One really does start to ponder the nature of life after virtually slaughtering one hundred Lizard men in the pursuit of "experience." One could argue that the MMORPG genre is simply questioning the duality of man; the mindless quest for level enhancement could be a synonym for the self-aggrandizing warmonger in all of us? The trivial pursuit of 'gear,' just a thinly veiled metaphor for our need to place pretty ornamental flowers in our hair all in the name of aesthetic pleasure? Whatever the case may be, Acclaim published game 2Moons may not ponder the very existence of Being but it certainly ponders the existence of the wildlife around you - unfortunately heading for that age-old sticky issue of casual genocide. Grind is the word of the day and 2Moons delivers such an element with reckless abandon.
Everybody Loves A Freebie
2Moons is a free-to-play MMORPG brought from the Eastern market and immediately comparisons can be drawn with games of similar background. The main issue with this game is that it simply doesn't bring anything fresh or exciting to audiences - it simply maneuvers down the well trodden paths of game play we have come to view as stagnant and archaic. I find it difficult to be really damning of 2Moons however as the old saying goes "everybody loves a freebie." This game will cost you nothing but the time consumed in game play. Even the in-game shop is woefully neglected, any complaints against such a game simply do not seem on the level. At times the game appears unpolished and generally cheap feeling but the caveat to this must be "but it's free!"
In my personal belief, games such as 2Moons should offer something a little different, something more creative and daring. Take a quick look at games like Wurm Online and Free Realms; while they are not the greatest MMORPGs they certainly try to further evolve the genre by trying new things. 2Moons is a game which simply delivers a cut and dry version of online games of a bygone age. This is a real shame as 2Moons does have some great ideas, but it is somewhat hindered by its lack of creative ambition. Of course another major theme of the free-to-play MMORPG is the inclusion of micro-transactions, while 2Moons obviously includes this, in a stroke of either stupidity or madness Acclaim really fails to make it seem essential to purchase any advantage. Inventory expanders and various armor pieces are available, however up until the real higher echelons of the game this is not required at all. In effect 2Moons is one of the freest free-to-play games out there.
It's All About The Visuals
For a game released in 2007, 2Moons still has a certain amount of visual charm and flair. While it isn't exactly EverQuest 2, or even World of Warcraft for that matter, it still has the ability to raise an eyebrow or two in certain areas. Hubs and Hunting Zones, while a tad generic, are rendered with a modicum of creative beauty and on the whole satisfy the visual player in all of us. One element worthy of honorable mention is the animation within the game; Combat is a spectacle to behold as your attacks knock back enemies with finesse of swordsmanship and sorcery rather than simply being an uninspired and tired affair of generic sword swings and thunder bolts.
The style of the game is very much Eastern in influence, hubs are fortress looking affairs with floating architecture and medieval generic surroundings. Of course comparisons with games such as Mir, and even for that matter Aion, can be made and this really subtracts from the overall feel of 2Moons. At times it can feel like any other Eastern grinder as individuality in the visuals rarely occurs. All of this aside however, 2Moons is a nice looking game and most importantly scales well to suit less powerful machines. As I spend my time between a PC with power of Optimus Prime on speed and a laptop with a questionable work ethic, 2Moons delivers itself graciously on both machines offering reasonable frame rates and visuals.
The Meat And Bones
Rolling a character in 2Moons is a familiar situation; you are given a choice of seven classes ranging from archetypal Warriors to hybrid Rogue/Druid types. The disappointment of this is that there is no real character customization on offer. All classes are gender locked and you can't fiddle around with your avatars facial features. While in essence this isn't a big a deal, it does lead to a lack of individuality within the game. Up to a certain level all characters of your class are carbon clones, albeit clad in various sets of armor - of which don't really differ in appearance until the higher levels. This inability to really imprint a layer of subjective creativity on your character really hinders the game early on and inherently makes the game feel poorly designed.
Control is handled with either WASD or a few left clicks of the mouse. Personally in my adventures I preferred the latter as it gave the game a Diablo-esque appeal but also because for the most part you will be clicking about the screen trying obtain fallen loot and activate the various menus. The games control is fluid and visceral and while I have no real complaint about it, the developers seem to have added more micromanagement to proceedings in an attempt to engage the player a little more. For instance all loot is inexplicably spilled on the ground - while this isn't apparently troublesome it does lead to treasure being lost to the fauna and flora of the game.