In the short hand? Yes, I’d say NetEase’s Crusaders of Light is worth your time, now that it’s out today on iOS and on July 20th on Android. Like Order and Chaos (1 and 2), CoL aims to replicate what theme park MMORPG players love about their PC favorites, with the ease of access and portability of mobile gaming. But, as we well know, sometimes games meant for hundreds of hours on a PC don’t translate well to smartphone or tablet. Thankfully, for the most part, Crusaders of Light does a lot right to make the idea of a mobile MMORPG seem appealing.
First thing out of the way? Auto-pathing is here, and like Devilian on PC, I’m not so sure I care. This is a mobile game, and it actually feels useful in many parts because there’s a LOT of running around to different POIs early on. It’s especially helpful because movement on an iPhone can be hand-crampingly painful. I suspect I won’t use it as much when the PC version launches on Facebook Gameroom this Summer.
There’s a pretty decent “save the fantasy world” story going on, and it’s rendered with cut scenes and voice over quite well. In a lot of ways, Crusaders of Light feels like a single player RPG, but with MMO trappings such as PVP, Dungeons, and Raids added on. You share the world with everyone, but there’s not a lot of grinding or forced group content here. There aren’t a million !’s everywhere, begging you to kill 10 this, or collect 10 that.
There’s a linear story-based questline, that pretty much levels you up through the zones and content. Alongside this, as you level, you unlock more and more side activities like crafting, PVP, delivery and reputation quests, and so forth. But if you just wanted to do the story, you could. The fact that I know what’s going on and am semi-interested is saying something, because Crusaders of Light’s world is “generic fantasy” with just enough style to make it stand out.
On the downside, the character progression and customization is fairly limited. There are three base classes – Ranger, Warrior, and Mystic. But they branch out to three different paths each at level 20, which you’ll reach at 3-5 hours of playing. I chose Ranger, which goes into the Scout, Forest Guide, and Animal Tamer paths, for instance. But there’s not a lot of choice between skills, no talents that I’ve seen to choose, and armor and weapons are pretty limited too. You don’t even get to tweak your looks at creation.
Still, there’s inherently something fun about Crusaders of Light. Of the many mobile MMOs out there, there’s little question that this is one of the best looking and best playing. So far, in my 17 levels, I’ve not felt pressured to make a purchase, and the cash shop in general seems pretty fair and straightforward. Usually, when it comes to mobile games, I delete them within minutes if I know they’re not going to be something I enjoy. Crusaders of Light still sits on my phone, with very few other “worthy” games. I’d recommend giving it a shot. It might be the perfect game for the MMO fan who can’t always take their main game with them.