Vindictus is set in a fantasy town, and is the precursor to Mabinogi. However, while Mabinogi is somewhat light and happy in tone, Vindictus throws most of that away for a happy exterior covering a shell of weird horror and creepy revelations.
As this is an MMO, I’ll start off with the character classes. Each has some text description in the selection screen, which saved the developers from having to characterize several characters through gameplay and interaction with friendly non-player characters. It’s acceptable in this situation, as characterization through gameplay and NPC interactions is essentially an insurmountable task. However, interaction with the NPCs does reveal a lot about them as a character and the world you are playing in. It also turns most of the NPCs into interesting characters in their own right.
Classes: Each class is gender locked, as is typical of overseas MMO games. Each class also has a name instead of a class label. There are currently four player characters released, with a fifth planned.
Evie is the mage type character. She uses a staff, but can later use a scythe. She can also use powerful spells like reverse gravity, and she can summon golems from the landscape. She is the weakest character in terms of health, but her mana shield can save her, and her powerful attacks means a staff Evie is pretty much THE best character to solo run any mission. However, that assumes you have the skill to use her that well. She is easy for beginners to grasp, but can be harder to master, which can be a problem in larger battles if the Evie can’t support the rest of the team. While she is the best to solo run missions, she is best for solo runs of missions below her level, as missions at her level will find her against enemies that can kill her pretty easily, or pretty much instantly kill her. Her abilities will also usually not be high enough in rank to take on the big boss, and the recharge on her abilities can make it even harder.
Fiona is a more tank-type character. She uses a sword and shield, although later she gains a hammer, and even later, she gains the ability to use large shields. She has lots of armor, and lots of defensive skills that allow her to be good at soloing missions as well as a really useful addition to any team. Her counterattacks also allow her to stun bosses, and her blocking skill can even stop the charges of some of the strongest bosses.
Lann is best described as the rogue. He carries two swords, or later, two spears. He can cause massive amounts of damage every second, and has reasonably high health. He is a class best suited for a really experienced player, as anyone short of that will find themselves dieing over and over. He is not good at solo missions, as he dies pretty effectively. He can also be annoying paired with another character, as they will often find themselves having to revive the Lann on their team.
Karok is pretty much a giant. He is some monstrous character that uses a pillar as his weapon. Basically, the first one is a tree, and later ones are things like monument gravestones and stone columns. His other weapon the he eventually learns to use is the Cestus, which is basically big metal or stone or whatever gloves that he bare-handed fights things to death with. Honestly, I don’t have a Karok of high enough level to have them, and I don’t play Karok often enough to get to that level, and they were released just recently.
The final character is Kai, who seems to be an archer. He is not yet released.
Well, the backbone of any MMO game is the combat. Sadly, the combat in Vindictus, while fun at first, gets pretty repetitive. Combo building is simple and intuitive, and abilities like dodging, combat rolling, or teleporting allow you to jump into and out of the range of bosses and attack quickly. And that is how pretty much every battle will play out Some bigger bosses can make it much harder, but pretty much every boss has a pretty easy to see attack pattern, so it merely becomes an execution challenge to defeat the boss. It becomes especially annoying when you need to gain an item which is gained by hitting a certain spot on the boss with a spear. Like the gem on the arm of one boss. Sometimes, you need those items for a quest, which is especially annoying.
It dangles abilities and weapons in front of you as the carrot to get you to move along. At level 24, you gain your alternate weapon, and access to the abilities that come with the alternate weapon. For example, Evie can use mana amber to dodge attacks, which surrounds her in a giant crystal that can be knocked around without her receiving much or any damage (based on the strength of the boss.) When she gets the scythe, her Mana Amber is replaced with a teleport ability. And instead of being able to sue a heal spell, she can now use a very easy combo to steal health from an attacked enemy.
All classes gain their alternate weapon at level 24.
At level 40, there is a special title you get for making it that far. Which isn’t really worth it, given how few quests there are around level 37-40, so getting that far required grinding a battle over and over to get enough xp. Either it is a clever system to find only the most dedicated players, or just they couldn’t think of anything else to put there and put a title as acknowledgement that yes, there is not a lot to do, so here is a small thing you get for getting past the few quest section of the game.
Like any MMO, there is a basic story to set up a reason why you should travel to various dungeons and kill x number of monster z. In this one, it is because the Fomors 9which seems to be an alliance of various monsters seen in every fantasy game) have attacked the people and you must defeat them. Actually, they are vicious and do attack human settlements, but you actually fight against them to fulfill the prophecy that when all the evil Fomors are dead, the humans as a whole will move onto the heaven place where the Goddess is. The greatest supporter of this is the pretty cute NPC Tieve, who is also the oracle. Just to recap: the cutest character in the game is also the biggest advocate of the mass genocide you will commit.
Really, that ends up being Fridge Horror, as you probably won’t notice it all at first until you go get a snack and stop to think about the latest development in the story.
Other characters include a Ice Queen, who you melt somewhat, a military commander and a hero who rides around on a dragon. And one of the later quests is to show the townspeople how useful and needed the dragon is so they will not be as angry with the dragon droppings it leaves around the town.
There are some minor inconsistencies, but pretty much all of them have to do with limitations in the game itself and the game world. Spoiler alert: One later battle is called Colhen in Flames, and the starting town has been attack and is being burned down, and you must defeat the boss monster. And then yo go back to Colhen, which is still there. It would be unreasonably hard to have the starting town destroyed for some people, but there for others, which is why things like that are only done in persistent world games, where player(s) advance the plot, and actions are permanent. Games like that will either be single player, or they will have people start out learning the beginner stuff from a specific person in an area that can’t be reached before being dropped into the game world.
Oh, and speaking of other tidbits, at level 42 you can start the quest chain to learn with Dark Knight or Paladin abilities. Dark Knight is a transformation that gives you immense attack power, while Paladin gives a defense boost, and other things that best help your team. Actually, each ability is best paired with a specific character, so there isn’t really much choice. DK is best for Evie, as she can kill a boss in a VERY short amount of time, while still being able to heal and assist her teammates, and Paladin does not give her a heal boost or other team assist abilities, so DK allows you to help your team by becoming the main attack force. Paladin is good for Fiona, as she an boost her teams’ defense, while boosting her own defense and allowing her to save her team from the boss. Fionas usually spend a lot of time blocking and counterattacking, not directly attacking a boss, and they and their team benefits best from Fiona being a paladin. Lann benefits from DK best, as it boosts his attacks and allows him to cause much more damage before dieing, while Paladin boosts his defense, which isn’t to useful for a class that is purely offense. Karok is pretty good for a Paladin, as while he is an attacking character, he also has abilities that allow him to grapple larger bosses, and some bosses, he can simply grab and start punching. Paladin best allows him to grapple a bigger boss and helps his team to best defeat it.
One of the biggest problems Vindictus has is player retention. The ability system works by giving you some points every so often for free, so you can just not play for a week and have enough points to rank up an ability. Plus, at around level 50, it becomes hard to find people to join in on battles you need. At level 60, it becomes even harder. If they patch it to give new battles and a max level of 80, then the high level players will come back and rang up to the max, before disappearing again. Some high level players remain around a lot, but they are usually assisting lower level teams in massive raid battles. The problem there s that with how hard it can be to find someone to run a battle with you, most players disappear at the higher levels simply because running a battle becomes such an infrequent task, they may as well wait and use the gained ability points (which they get much more often at the higher levels) to give hem free ranks in their abilities and allow them to be much more powerful when they do manage to get into a battle.
Obviously, you can choose whatever you want, but I am just laying down the suggestions for what works best for what class.
Score: 4/5 good
Pros: interesting story, interesting character, fun to play. Big bosses, interesting battles, fun challenges.
Cons: spends a a bit too much time at times being not fun at all. finding people to assist in battles above level 60 is like pulling teeth from a herd of cats.
Suggestion: buy it. Just kidding, Nexon games are free to play. You should at least try it out, it is pretty worthwhile. You may not want to stay with it, but that is okay. While Nexon games are free to play, and not even pay to win, they do sell purely aesthetic items such as inner armor (underwear) and dye containers that allow you to color your armor, as well as some other things that do not affect gameplay, life fishing poles for if you want to fish (or you can spend some gold instead of real dollars on the harpoons.) However, they do allow you to complete a bunch of free offers, trials, and other things for the NX points (to buy stuff) so you don’t need to spend your hard-earned cash.
You can get the game here: Vindictus.nexon.net