Every time I review a new game, I create two characters. I create one serious character, following the themes and lore of the game, and a secondary character named: Expendable Bob. (The first helps me get into the lore, and the second makes it easier to take risks I might not otherwise take with a serious character.) Having gone through the beta with the very seriously named Xingjua, I begin the launch with Expendable Bo. (Alas, the naming function doesn’t allow for that final “b”.) So come along with me and my Expendable friend as we spend the next few weeks discovering all that the newly launched Age of Wushu has to offer.
Once in the game, the first thing I noticed was a marked improvement in the localization, specifically the dialogue. This alone is such a huge improvement that a game I once had some serious doubts about now seems a whole lot more viable. Gone are the completely non sequitur bits of conversation and skill explanations that were so distracting in the beta. Moreover, whoever did the rewrites was deft enough to clarify the copy without losing the flavor of the original. Well done.
From everything I’ve seen so far however, no matter what you choose, the starting area quests and abilities are all pretty much identical.
While the change in character from beta to live gave me a chance to try out a different storyline and gender, as with the beta, there is only one character slot available. This seems to be a policy with Snail Games, and not a freebie vs. paid account issue. I personally disagree with this policy, as it allows little margin for error when creating a character, and forces deletion and re-roll in order to explore different avenues of game-play.
I was a little disappointed that the character customization was still so limited. There are only a handful of basic faces, (hairstyles, etc.) to choose from, and the sliders for adjusting individual features have little impact. Add that to the limited clothing/color choices and you have a starting area filled with nigh-indistinguishable clones.
I’m of two minds about all the information players are given in-game. It can be pretty overwhelming, but if you take your time about it and don’t let the sheer volume panic you into rushing through things, I think it can all be mastered. Unfortunately, while the NPCs talk of calmly mastering one’s skills, the game’s site tells a different story with their Novice Strategy. It left me with a sort of “get epic quick scheme” impression, that wasn’t helped by the fact that many of the early quests can be managed with little to no effort on the player’s part. A great deal of those quest being little more than, point-click-run-click-study-click-get-exp-done.
While I can’t yet say what the game might offer much farther in, the idea of becoming an expert in seven days seems like a cheat to me, or worse, like seeing the game world through guide books via bus tour. Mind you, I played quite a bit during the beta and never got close to achieving Daxia status. It’s up to individual players to decide if that indicates an enormous, enveloping game world to discover, or that the game is too overburdened with side quests to be easily navigable.
In any case, there’s more to come! Many more hours of investigative gameplay ahead and another report next week.
See you then!
Check out more of our Age of Wushu coverage: