Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. Everyone has heard of them and more than likely when you hear the term I bet I know what the first game that pops into your head is, but that game will not be mentioned here because there’s a new MMO being developed by ChangYou called Zentia. Zentia is a fantasy based MMO set in ancient China that features mythical monsters and Gods of the old Chinese fairytales.
The game has a very comical art style and an overall humorous tone to the story and quests. There are two factions you can choose from when starting a new game. To be honest, I saw no difference in the factions. Instead of creating a character, you choose from a list of 20 premade characters that can range from a Shang Tsung look-a-like to a fighting baby. There are eight classes to choose from and every character you are allowed to choose can be any of them. They range from a Fire Mage to a Blade Warden to a Raksha Warrior. They may have fancy names, but they all play like their respectable WoW counterparts. One unique aspect is the use of costumes. You can put on a costume over your gear so that when you equip new gear your character’s looks stay the same.
(Keep in mind; I played in the closed beta of this game so some of my experiences may change from the final product.) You begin on a small island that has a few monsters and a few NPC’s that will give you very simple quests that will help you learn the controls and overall feel of how the game works. This 5 minute area is basically your tutorial. After you finish up the quests there, you are carried to a small village that serves as your starting area.
Here, you will spend the first 10 levels or so doing quests and killing demons and monsters. One thing that is to be noted is that killing monsters in battle doesn’t yield too much exp. Exp is gained primarily through questing. Luckily, leveling up is actually rather fast and easy in Zentia. The quests are for the most part, simple and quick. They usually don’t require too many kills or items to collect, and you usually don’t have to stray too far from the quest giver to accomplish your objective. If you have played other MMOs, you will find the interface and HUD very familiar: Map in the top right corner; abilities, attacks, and exp bar on the bottom; items and bags on the bottom right.
One of the great things I found in Zentia is the fact that everything is introduced to you at early levels. You get a pet at level 3 that will add stat boosts and the most important thing, quest tracking. At anytime, you can click a button to bring up a list of your current quests. From there, you can click on a quest and a yellow line of arrows will pop up in the world. This will take you directly to your objective. If you have your pet or mount activated, you can choose to have them take you directly to the quest objective without you having to move or click anything. It’s a nice touch that I think a certain MMO really needs-I’m looking at you, WoW.
There is a really big push for pets and mounts, mainly because later on in the game, you will gain the ability to tame and capture almost all the monsters you encounter in the game. It’s quite extensive when you start looking into the buffs and stat upgrades the each creature can offer your character. Item crafting professions are available for players to learn and not all can be learned for one character. There are instances that you can play though with a group that will add a little more to the gameplay as well. If you are into PvP, Zentia does offer a decent challenge away from PvE.
The game eases almost everything to you. When you start off the game, you will have a gift box in your inventory that you are allowed to open at certain levels up to level 13. It usually contains a few items that will offer some exp and a couple of items or weapons that will aid you. At level 20, you are introduced to PvP play. It’s a nice departure from the PvE of the first few hours. One of the biggest complaints I have with the game is the difficulty level or lack thereof.
Almost no enemies will aggro to you. So let’s say you have a quest that requires you to kill the queen of a tribe of demons that are held up in a cave. You go to the cave, walk in, and absolutely no enemies will attack you. They’ll just stand there until YOU attack them. So basically, you can run straight through the cave, kill the queen, leave, and complete the quest without ever being attacked by anyone. Even when you do get attacked, the enemies do so little damage that the normal regeneration of your health will fill up faster than the damage enemies can dish out. The game is just too easy.
The combat isn’t without its neat tricks, though. There are a diverse number of attack animations that all fit in well with the cartoony look of the visuals and the unique setting. One useful ability is the “Lucky Shot” that happens every once in a while that will hit an enemy for a good amount of damage as well as knock the opponent down. There are plenty attack spells and buffs that you can learn to keep the combat fresh, but I feel that in the end, the combat will get repetitive because of how easy the enemies go down.
All in all, Zentia is a game that is a nice distraction for the casual MMO player. Hardcore players should probably steer clear of this game. It’s just far too easy. The pet and mount options are a nice touch that add a little flavor to the game, but the combat leaves something to be desired. The pacing is handled very nicely and you’ll always have something to do. Unfortunately, the game can get stagnant over the span of a few levels/hours of play. Still, this is a free to play MMO that does offer some depth to those who look for it. I say you could definitely do a lot worse.
Review copy provided by publisher.