I’m a boulder throwing fool. At least in the lower levels anyway, where picking up a boulder and throwing it at the Mob does better damage than the dinky damage my newbie weapon makes -- awesome animation or no.
Vindictus, as you may have surmised, makes use of the world. You can pick up objects to throw or wield. That fence rail might just make a handy club. The huge haunch of meat? Yeah, why not pick it up and see what damage that does. Rocks make good range weapons. No, don’t throw a little stone to attract the attention of those three gnolls roaming at the fringes of the campfire. Throw a mucking big rock instead. You might take one of them out. The three of them under that crumbling portico? Take out the pillar. Let the rock do some damage.
That is the combat fun in Vindictus, and also the spear throwing – which switches your view and yes, you need to aim, and you need to account for mob movement. A difficult feat in combat when mobs and your companions are milling around, jammed into a narrow alley or spread out over the field, but quite fun when you’ve got static mobs like the huge ugly worms that grew out of the ground. A good throw also knocked them out of the ground.
Fun aside, using found objects strategically can really help you in a quest, as every little bit of damage helps. A boulder may do quite a bit more damage than your sword as a newbie, but even at the higher levels, they can be used as a ranged weapon, preserving those few spears you have for better use. Using a dropped enemy weapon gives you a good chance to stun them.
You start off with a light attack, a heavy attack and a class move which can be used as a dodge, different uses will chain combos of finishing moves and some combos will be unlocked as players advance. Mobs do telegraph the big attacks – especially the really large boss mobs - such as winding up for a heavy blow and if players are alert, they can run or dodge out of the way. No running through the mob, so you side-step, back up or just... run, returning to deal as much damage as you can. The combat is action game fast and you have watch your timing as you can chain up too many moves if you spam your attack buttons and not be able to dodge when you need to.
The one thing that can and does happen in combat is the destruction of your equipment. This is also depicted graphically which adds to the immersion as well as cueing you in, in case you missed the text. When your helmet breaks, your character loses the helmet. When your chestplate is broken, you’re suddenly in your underoos. So keep a spare in your inventory. Most drops I saw were ingredients for crafting replacements of the armor you might lose during combat, but the boss dropped a nice pair of legs. So Crafting and Enchanting are in game and boy, combat does a number to your armor, so the strategy in this game really is to get the heck out of the way, not stand, tank and pop healing potions.
Loosely based on Celtic Mythology, and in the Legend, the goddess Morrighan has promised that all who aid in the killing of the Formor (the enemies of the land) will go to the promised land, Erinn, the land of Paradise. In the beginning quest we played through, those were the Gnolls. As you step into the game, players will enter the prologue which provides you the background story as well as training as you go right into battle. It also acts as the tutorial, but gamers will find the UI intuitive and movement / camera keys are simple to use. Familiar MMO and RPG conventions are found in Vindictus. Go into the town of Colhen, find NPCs with exclamation marks above their heads, take quests and side quests. There are also two factions in town, the Crimson Blade Mercenaries and the Royal Guard. They both are working to rid their world of their enemies, but in different ways, so there is a little bit of tension that will play out later in the game, especially when PvP is added.
The game will start out with two characters at launch, Lann (male) who dual-wields, and Fiona who uses sword and shield. Lann is all about fast and lighter damage, while Lann uses her shield defensively and strikes hard. Two of their unique skills are Thousand Needles – a lightning fast stab ability, and Counterattack which is a block and then a strong smash, respectively. A third character which is a magic user will be added after launch.
Unusual, you would think. Only two characters at launch? After that fun combat physics system described? This is because Vindictus is a free-to-play game and having set characters and few of them is not unusual in the genre.
Customization of the characters are done in the equipment chosen and the skills that players decide to focus on. Players gain XP as well as skill points during play and skills are learned by buying skill books from NPC trainers and applying skill points earned. Skills can be different attacks, the wielding of different weapons – as long as the base character supports it, the wearing of different armor and also Defensive and Offensive skills.
Free-to-play games certainly are changing. They are ramping up in both graphic and gameplay expectations and pushing the envelope of gamer expectations of free-to-play. They also have the added advantage of being able to launch with few features and limited content, adding more and more over time after players get their first taste of the game. Vindictus by Nexon is certainly in the lead of doing exactly that.