Chinese and Korean online MMOs are a dime a dozen, and Tecent and Webzen's latest MMO, The Continent of the Ninth, definitely feels stale.
Despite the gorgeous graphics and a very simple battle system, I wasn't taken byThe Continent of the Ninth. It is by no means a bad game; it just felt boring to me.
The story of the game is pretty convoluted: The world was originally destroyed by the "demon lord", who was locked away by the hero. Humans and beasts began to battle and the demon lord returns, but this time he is armed with the legendary blade of Hermes. Blah blah blah... it just goes on and on.
In an effort to draw the player into its story, the first 10-15 minutes of the game is rife with cutscenes and tutorials that explain the story plus controls. The only upside to the cut scenes is that it is narrated, saving my eyeballs from having to read the ridiculous plot.
Moving past the initial tutorial, the game begins to get interesting. Players are free to PVP with like level players, build and forge weapons and equipment, and team up with other players on quests — pretty much your average MMO fare.
The game's battle system was a breath of fresh air to the countless click and attack MMOs out there. There isn't any real targeting in The Continent of the Ninth, instead the player can choose to target or attack a group of monsters directly kind of like an action game.
While the combat was fast paced, what was strange to me was that like, Hunter Blade, the quests and the overworld are instanced. You are basically playing with yourself most of the time.
What The Continent of the Ninth does to help the solo adventurer out is by providing the player with two NPC "bodyguards". Unfortunately, after reaching level 10, the monsters get harder and the stupidity of the NPC's began to show.
This game really reminds me of the PS2 game Gauntlet, except with more features and better graphics. The avatar customisation is one of the best that I've seen in a long time. Players are free to choose everything from the size of their nostrils to the type of warpaint face tattoo they want on their character.
While The Continent of the Ninth has a few things going for it, its stale story was a turn off for me. The battle system was fun and cool at the get go but the awkward keyboard commands made it a pain. It'll be interesting to see if an English translation of the story will make it any more interesting as Tecent and Webzen are planning to release the game in the West next month. At least its name will make more sense in English than t does in Chinese, 第九大陆 just sounds terrible.
The Continent of the Ninth Chinese [Official Site]