Can It 'Catch' An Audience?
Aeria Games’ Dragomon Hunter has been in open beta for the past couple of months and as is our policy once a game begins accepting real world dollars via the in-game shop, it’s ready for review.
In a sense, Dragomon Hunter reminds me of a more kid-centric Dragon’s Prophet which was sadly closed last month in North America. Dragomon Hunter charges players with a Pokemon-like system of defeating Dragomon throughout the game world that can become some pretty amazing mounts, each with a variety of speed options and the ability to level up over time.
Players begin by choosing one of four available classes: Mercenary, Mage, Scout or Cleric. Obviously, they follow along the classic melee, caster, ranged DPS and healer pattern of many games. Classes are limited in what weapons they can use. Mercenaries use large 2-handed weapons; Mages use staves or horns; Scouts can use daggers or rifles; and Clerics use hammers and fist weapons. At level 20, each class can learn a secondary weapon and at level 30, one of two available specializations can be chosen. Mercenaries can choose from Barbarians or Vanguards; Mages choose from Arcanists or Symphonists; Scouts opt for either War Dancers or Sharpshooters; and Clerics can become either Crusaders or Monks.
Characters will be instantly recognizable to folks in tune with the anime-side of life as “chibis” -- large heads, tiny bodies and, in this case, gigantic weapons. Classes aren’t gender locked either, a nice touch to be sure. There is a limited, but overall decent number of ways to customize characters in Dragomon Hunter. There are several options to choose from for faces, hairstyles and eye-color that can lend each character at least a bit of individuality. The one area that players must pay attention to are the voice options. I found that none of them were terribly appealing and, in fact, down right annoying once in the game. After a short while, I ended up turning off voices altogether.
Each character also receives a Hoppalong companion that can be customized during character creation as well. Don’t be fooled by these cute little critters either: They are decent battle companions that can be leveled and equipped with gear that players don’t want / can’t use / don’t need any more. As the pair progress through the game, players can change the Hoppalong’s class by finding primers out in the world.
Entering the zones where the action is, of course. DHO is all about catching things and is one of those games that is just fun to play.
The entry city is PACKED and it can be pretty overwhelming with people running around on massive mounts, name plates taking over the screen and gold sellers spamming the chat channels that renders conversation with friends or others in the area nearly impossible.
Once the first quest giver is found, the necessity to figure out where to go is erased with auto pathing. Simply click the quest in the tracker and BOOM -- off you go to other quest givers or to the gateway to the location you may need. I have to say that I leveled to about 8 without really understanding how or why but, honestly? It wasn’t that big a deal because when it’s all said and done, Dragomon Hunter is about heading out into the battle zones to find and defeat huge Dragomon to make my own. You get a quick taste of it too since it comes pretty quickly on joining the game. You get to proudly drag home a new mount with your black eye and beat up face smiling in triumph.
Fighting the Dragomon and other critters in the game world is fun and in a lot of ways pretty similar to TERA -- there is no tab-targeting in place and action-combat is definitely the fighting style. Dragomon do telegraph their attacks ala WildStar which is helpful so that either a block or a dodge can be used to get out of the way. Let me tell you: These guys H-U-R-T if they catch you -- not insta-gib exactly, but painful nonetheless. The action is fast paced and would probably be a lot of fun with a controller versus mouse / keyboard. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Dragomon Hunter has a definite “console-ish” feel to it. The music reminded me a lot of console games of the past. It’s not a bad sound track either.