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E3 2006 Preview

Danielle Vanderlip Posted:
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Soul of the Ultimate Nation nearly took home the visual hardware, find out more

Here’s a name many people in the United States haven’t heard before: Webzen. Webzen is a Korean company that has taken the broad step across the ocean to bring us what the Asian populace has already become greatly addicted to, their games. One of these games that are in the lineup for release in the US by Webzen America is SUN: Soul of the Ultimate Nation. It is an MMORPG with as much beauty added into it as functionality and fluidity.

Here’s a quick blurb from their site on the basic storyline for the game:

"Under the reign of the Immortal Emperor, Schwarz, the Geist Empire has ruled the Blandis continent for five hundred years. Possessing secret knowledge of the essence of nature known as Ether, Emperor Schwarz converted the precious Ether into dark energy and used it to conquer the entire continent with his formidable armies. The continued extraction of Ether has impoverished the land, causing the Empire to turn its eyes to the rich lands of neighboring nations to continue its supremacy. With insurrection inevitable, a rebel leader, Ignis, has formed an elite force called the Guidance, which has declared war against the Empire. "

At E3, I got to take a little time and get hands on with the game I had heard so much about. Our gracious host was Chris “Vosx” Mancil who worked formerly on the Matrix Online and Shadowbane and is now the Senior Manager of Online Community with Webzen. His own enthusiasm was easily read for something he had long been waiting to show to the public.

First blush and I couldn’t take my eyes off the game. Let’s face it, it’s truly a moving piece of artwork. I don’t normally go gaga for graphics but in the case of SUN it made me want to take the time to play it some and see it up close and personal. On screen it was high detail and crisp all the way down to the last pixel. The movies playing on screen were impressive as well but nothing beats taking a look at the game itself instead of just the prefab movies created to make the game look as good as possible.

I got my hands on the keyboard and the game moved just like I figured it would. It was highly intuitive and the character I was on had great range on their bow as well as some fun close combat abilities. Chris had me go into a Hunting Party contest in which you entered into an instanced area and hunted down NPCs. It went pretty smoothly despite the fact that the game is still in need of some finishing touches on the interface and the game itself. The graphical details on the characters and the landscaping were down to the very pixel showing that a lot of hard work had gone into it. In short it looked stunning.

My experience was as limited as the demo would let me be but left a good impression overall. I had a couple of other games at the Webzen booth to look at as well.

Here’s the down and dirty on the game itself beyond just impressions.

Soul of the Ultimate Nation is an MMORPG that intends to bring back the RPG in MMORPG by allowing players to play online with thousands of other players, form parties and engage in the Soul of the Ultimate Nation’s Battle Zone System.

It intends to give players the feel of epic battles by utilizing a field mapping system in which the outcome of individual battles can affect the combat occurring on other fields.

They intend to add new episodes periodically as well as new quests, items and challenges into the ongoing story that will be made free to subscribers.

There isn’t a lot of detail on the classes or abilities as of yet and from what I’ve heard there is still a wait yet before we hear when a possible beta will be. It could be late 2006 or first Quarter of 2007. I guess we’ll have to wait to find out for sure. In this case, it seems that the game may well be one worth waiting for and checking out its progression at a later date.

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Danielle Vanderlip