The most exciting (and I use that term loosely) thing that happened while playing Asura Force Online was when I picked a random monster to fight, right out of the city gate. I figured I’d be safe enough fighting something as goofy as a “diamond turkey”. Silly me. First death! Well, only death, actually. After that, any and all excitement or interest fell crashing to the floor, taking me with it in a fit of boredom-induced narcolepsy.
The production art is pretty enough (if somewhat tedious in the tropes department.) The music is engaging at first, but after listening to the continued loop for a couple hours it began sounding more like one of those generic restaurant background tracks.
The battle animations are kind of cool and clearly where Mira Game spent a bunch of their development time and attention. Outside of battle however, the animations are often stilted, plastic and unimpressive. The one thing that forced itself on my attention was the color. Maybe it’s just my old fogey eyes, but not only is Asura Force a cacophony of color, but those colors are so saturated and tinged with effects that after awhile it’s almost exhausting to look at.
There are five possible character classes, only two of which (mage and hunter) allow for gender selection (all fighters and rangers are male, all healers are female) and customization of those few choices is extremely limited.
There are also two tribes to choose from, (Cosmos and Chaos) but with no real description of what either of them is about, I found it hard to care. Also, once you choose a particular tribe, you’re stuck with it. For whatever reason, you can’t have one character in Cosmos and one in Chaos.
I got to tenth level largely unconsciously. The only real effort required on my part was clicking the green lettering in the quest screen; that starts you autorunning directly to your quest target where you do whatever minimal thing is required. Then you run back. Somewhere before tenth level I was awarded a pet and a mount as a matter of course, again, no effort required. At least pets don’t seem to lose stats while you’re offline. Though your character can continue to gain xp while you’re offline, taking that whole “no effort required” idea to a whole new level. (Pun intended.)
Speaking of no effort for new levels, I went from level nine to level ten (a full level, mind you, not just a fraction) just by talking to one NPC, then talking to the NPC next to him, the talking to him again; begging the question of whether I even need to be here in the first place.
The landscape outside the city is full of monsters, but those monsters aren’t aggro. I originally assumed that this was an early level, sandbox phenomenon, but the sandbox never seems to end. Collecting plants for a cure while surrounded by “demon snow boars” should have been a challenge, but without any aggro, was about as challenging as collecting dryer lint. Snore.
Despite some nice battle animations, the rest of the game is pretty unimpressive and perhaps even retrograde as far as innovation is concerned. There’s nothing new here. There isn’t even a new combination or application of older ideas.
In some ways, the game is extremely polished, but often in the wrong ways. While technically, while there is a full screen option, trying use it crashed my game and completely reset my desktop. Needless to say, this did not endear the game to me.
The camera doesn’t turn with your character and needs constant readjustment, often contributing to the feeling that I wasn’t so much playing this game as being dragged along with it.
Much of what one would expect in any game aspiring to be an MMO just isn’t up to snuff. There are no cutscenes and no voice acting. The story, or rather, what little there is of one, is told entirely through text. Tons of text-based information (quest log, chat window, game tips and crawling screen banner) is crammed into a small area overlaying a game screen/background that is so thick with tweaked color and sparkle and glow effects that the whole thing often looks like Sailor Moon threw up. Everything on the screen competes for your attention, and when everything is shouting, (so to speak) nothing can be heard.
Add to that the fact that all that text you’re given to read is riddled with clunky, inexpert translation issues and you can pretty much give up on the idea of story entirely.
Beyond say, as a place for tweens to gather and hang out online, I don’t see Asura Force as holding anyone’s attention for very long. Honestly it took longer for the client to download than it did for me to lose interest. The fact that there only seems to be one server is telling, if this game had anything worth sticking around for, there would be a ton of servers and they would be packed.
There is a standard chat system in place, with several channels (normal/public, team, tribe, guild and whisper) with the dubious additional bonus of emoticons. The devs seem to have put plenty of things in place to get people involved, (events, contests, holidays, etc.) but I just couldn’t be bothered to wade past everything else in this game to try any of them.
It’s free to play and, in this instance, you definitely get what you pay for. I can’t imagine anything worth paying for in the cash shop, unless perhaps that’s where they keep the story and the challenge.
This game bored me senseless. It not only didn’t engage me, at times it seemed to go out of its way to actively repel me. While there are probably plenty of gamers out there who might enjoy a game that requires so little thought or personal engagement, I’m not one of them. I won’t be playing this game again and I won’t be looking for anything else produced by Mira Game either.