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He Said, She Said

Cassandra Khaw Posted:
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At E3 2012 this year we had the opportunity to mingle with the fine folks at Gamania and venture into their upcoming game Core Blaze. Core Blaze takes a different angle on the action MMORPG genre which features a huge open-world and focuses on players taking part in a journey through quests, NPC’s and player interaction.

HE SAID: Ripper X

The biggest part of Core Blaze which earned my attention was the world itself. Graphically the game is beautiful and features day and night cycles with unique weather patterns.  There are no levels or job classifications in the game, but rather abilities based on what the players equip. Co-Op with other players can bring new skills, abilities and quests in which players can do with a team or on their own.

SHE SAID: Cassandra

Beautiful is a bit of an understatement. Throughout the demo, the Gamania guy presiding over our motley crew of journalists had to repeatedly herd us away from distractions - there were just so many pretty things to see. The weather effects were also rather rad. I particularly like how water would speckle the 'inside' of your screen whenever it rained.  That said, the hands-on was also being run on an impressive set of hardware. I'm a little worried about how it'd fare on a normal PC. How will it look on an average PC?

The art style is fetching, however but, then again, I'm a tad bit biased towards anything Asian-themed.

HE SAID: Ripper X

Core Blaze offers players the choice of creating a character from scratch or picking from a pre-designed class like a warrior, mage or archer.  I personally picked archer, which I seem to do in most games, and was pleasantly surprised to find a choice of Fire Arrows, Acid Arrows, Lightening Arrows and more. Granted, the alpha version we played had many things enabled which during release players will have to work for to get, and/or craft… It’s good to know the options are available. Different mobs are resistant to specific spells, arrows, and abilities so it’s up to the player to find out what monsters have weaknesses to and bosses for that matter as well.

SHE SAID: Cassandra

Okay. I have to confess. I was kind of enchanted with the staggering amount of skills they gave us. On top of a variety of arrows, we also had everything from single-target power shots to little, crackling balls of electricity to toss at our opponents. However, what I liked even more was the fact that you actually have to be clever about how you utilize that bounty of abilities. You won't just be spamming the most powerful spell in your arsenal. No, sir. You'll be spamming the most effective ones. 

Asides from all the combative abilities, you'll also be called upon to make use of certain other resources. For example, the second boss that we faced off against was a creature that was weak to fire. In order to hasten the process of butchering it, we were told that we would have to set it alight. To do so, we had to draw lines of oil across the ground and set them on fire with the torches in our inventory. We also had to ensure that the creature stayed away from water (wet critters, as you might have guessed, do not burn too easily). Needless to say, the fight felt far from rote, a refreshing change compared to the humdrum pacing of combat in certain other MMOs.

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect. While the combat was rather satisfying, the interface was somewhat difficult to grasp. With just so much going on, it was hard to keep tabs on all the sub-menus. More than once, I found myself dying because I couldn't cycle fast enough to the hot-key that held the potion that I needed. Now, to be fair, I can imagine this being a less of a problem for someone who might have grown a character from level 1 but this was definitely a hurdle for those of us that were present at the demo. 

I wasn't very fond of the slightly stilted combat either. Unlike the machine-gun fury that is commonplace in most action games, the pacing in Core Blaze is a little more measured. There's a brief pause between every action, something that can be difficult to acclimatize to if you're sort that's used to 300 APM games.

HE SAID: Ripper X

All in all the game looks promising from the graphics to the open-world, and not to mention huge dungeons… The one feature that was a bit rough was the ability to choose your spells and abilities as the game itself is trying to compensate for keyboard and game controller functions while trying to stay fair to both play-styles. It was hard to switch to a new type of arrow, or heal for that matter, especially under pressure. That said it did get easier as we continued to play, and every game does have a learning curve. Beyond the controls, the game-world is gorgeous and sometimes I found myself stopping to admire the surroundings.

SHE SAID: Cassandra

Totally in agreement here. Nonetheless, I'm going to have to take a moment to say that the word 'huge' doesn't quite describe the dungeons in Core Blaze. They're more than huge. They're positively titanic. While we were at the demo, we had the opportunity to investigate the innards of what the omnipresent Gamania representatives described as a 'small' dungeon. According to them, we would have needed at least half an hour to complete it. I can only imagine the kind of time investment a 'large' dungeon would require.

An interesting aside. During our foray through the dungeon, we were forced to make use of the torches in our inventory. Without them, certain areas were impossible to traverse thanks to the pitch-black darkness. Now, what was really nifty was the fact that the person holding the torch is incapable of combat. It's a mechanic that sort of coerces you to trust in your companions.

Core Blaze has a lot of potential, and we will keep an eye on how the game progresses in the near future. Core Blaze will be scheduled for Beta in late 2012 / early 2013 and will also have PvP options as the game comes closer to release.


Cassandra Khaw