Seven Souls Online
Seven Souls Online 6.4/10
On first impressions, Seven Souls Online (also known as Martial Empires Online) seems to be a game that should’ve been released in the US a couple years ago. Upon further inspection, this is the terrible truth. The game has an extremely eastern feel, and it follows the typical mantras of MMOs of the past few years. Coming in so late to the game here in the West, I can’t help but feel like this particular venture probably won’t see much attention. Seven Souls is not a buggy mess, and genuine work has been put into making the world. However, it was released in the shadow of many big titles, and I sincerely doubt it will break free from the shade over its head.
Seven Souls uses a common ‘go to town, pick-up quests, kill/collect things, rinse/repeat’, and I can honestly say that I’ve seen enough of this system in use. However, they have done a rather decent job setting all of them up. The combat is much more action-y than many other games, however, it still boils down to clicking buttons as fast as possible. There is no real sense of control as your avatar hits a mob with animations similar to characters from the Soul Caliber series (not to bash on the SC series, the animations didn’t ‘feel’ right considering the amount of damage/destruction they did). Another concept I was kind of upset with was the gender locked classes. I hope it isn’t just me who gets annoyed at this. There is a fair amount of grind, which I was not very pleased with, but it was bearable. It should be noted that people who do not like grind should probably steer clear of this game; if that’s your preference, then have at it.
When you’re out killing things, there is a counter up in the top left corner. This counter acts as a slot machine of sorts. Since this effectively combined questing, grinding, and leveling into a convenient ‘daily’ of sorts, it was interesting. Other than that though, I can’t see anything else that is truly innovative in this game, other than maybe the story and high quality intro movie. I was honestly pumped after watching the opening video, but I was hit with a lot of mediocre after that. There is a decent amount of quest grind required to make progress, and while some people enjoy the accomplishment of completing tasks, I found myself more often than not disinterested in what the quests were even about.
Besides a single bug during the installation (corrupted file, most likely my internet), the game ran great and had no notable issues. Loading up zones was quick and hassle-free, and I don’t think I had to mess around with the graphics settings too much in order to get a decent frame rate. On the other hand, I did notice some spelling errors and grammatical mess-ups in dialogue, causing some odd quest instructions. The questing system has a pretty simple, repetitive vibe to it, though, so I was able to finish them without too much trouble.
This game tries really hard to be pretty. The armors and clothing, although somewhat stylized, are very grand looking and well done. The music is also very well done, giving a distinct Far East feel. The menus and interfaces didn’t make my eyes water and they are far less intrusive on the actual gameplay (however some of the hints and tooltips were unexpectedly large). So, about the aesthetics of SSO: not bad, thumbs up. The only gripe I have in this category is that some of the creatures and npcs can make some annoying or otherwise unexpected sounds. Boars apparently shrieked much louder than the noises my weapons made, and I don’t even want to bring up the dreaded “Topo” critters. All in all, pretty good, even though the eastern feel has been used to high heaven.
All the bells and whistles of other games are present; guilds, multiple chats and a functional chat interface, and contacts system. Beyond these however, not much else is there. Worth noting however, was the in game experience; it seemed as if I was the only human soul on the map, as I saw no one until I was about level 10. This was around August 16th, but I can’t say the population has improved much, if at all. While the world looks and nice and the cities are very majestic, the feeling is killed by the lack of people.
I don’t see Seven Souls holding my attention for very long, and I’ll probably pass it up entirely if I ever see it again. However, the game does have a decent amount of content to keep someone entertained; it would be wrong to say it didn’t. Simply put, I wasn’t impressed enough to consider this a ‘decent game’ that I would gain a good amount of entertainment from. In the end, though, SSO has a lot of content primed and ready to go, even if it is somewhat monotonous. If the game survives long enough to see me bored to tears, then maybe I’d give it another shot. Probably wouldn’t bet money on it though.
I do not see Seven Souls Online as a game that I would invest heavy time in, and for that I don’t believe I’d spend money on it either. The cash shop seems reasonable enough, nothing seems too overpowered, and the prices seem realistic. However, as implied above, there is no point to spending money on a game you hardly have much interest for. On the other hand, the game is free to play, so feel free to give it a shot; it just might be your cup of tea.
If you like Eastern MMORPGs, and don’t mind quest grind, go ahead and give this a shot. The art direction is rather nice, and this could be rather entertaining in a pinch (like if your main game goes down for maintenance or something similar). However, I wouldn’t recommend making this your go-to-game for an extended period of time.
+Excellent art design
+Fun in a pinch
-A bit grindy