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Raganork Online Leaves Wanting
By: Blair Morris | Game Data | 9:39am, January 20, 2006
AREA-51 m7700
It would be a great injustice to call Ragnarok Online just popular. With the MMORPG being a part of one of the most popular franchises in Korea, along with the entire Eastern Asian region, Ragarok Online is loosely based on the manhwa (Korean comic book) Ragnarok by Lee Myung-Jin. Ragnarok Online also had an anime based on it that was broadcast on TV Tokyo and SBS (Korea) in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Gravity Corporation (creator and developer of the game) currently has future plans to further the Ragnarok Online name into it's own franchise, with Myung-Jin advising on the development of the projects. This appears to be the direction of the entire Ragnarok franchise since Myung-Jin's manhwa series is on halt due to his involvement with Gravity Corporation. Though with so much popularity and fan-fare going into Ragnarok Online, it's easy to over-look the flaws in the first installment of this potential gaming franchise.

Ragnarok Online is set in the realm of Midgard, centered around the Norse mythology (as the name suggests). As the Norse myth goes (which is the background story to Ragnarok Online) Ragnarok is the battle at the end of the world. The war that is waged between gods and evils (forces led by Loki) is said to not only kill many, but tear apart everything in the universe. You'll enter Ragnarok Online at a time before the prophesized Ragnarok, in which man has just started its reign on the world. Though the gods are unwilling to allow their demise to begin, they've sent their elite warriors, the Valkyries, to search the lands for those destined to bring about Ragnarok. If Ragnarok can be prevented, the gods will reign for another 1,000 years.

Even though Ragnarok Online has an intriguing background story, its plot is non-existent. Though free-roaming, and the ability to advance the plot as you see fit are great attributes in any MMORPG, Ragnarok Online lacks even a resemblance of a plot to advance yourself through the game. Your only purpose in the game is leveling up and collecting the various items and accessories. This is really a shame since Ragnarok Online does offer so many features to the player. Have you ever wonder why you get tired of a game so quickly? A non-existent plot is the answer most of the time. A game's plot is usually a great tell-tell sign in if more than a fanatic will enjoy a game in its longevity, and you want find this unless you're looking for just some place to chat with other gamers.

The game-play for Ragnarok Online is rather basic, but effective enough to support the game's style. The battle system is pure hack-and-slash taking away the over-used turn-base system most MMORPG's use today. You'll also find the party ability in fighting enemies in the game a great asset when taking on stronger opponents. Other game play features of mention you'll find is the ability to take on many jobs with your character, from swordsmen to cleric, Ragnarok Online offers you to experience various aspects of the game from a jobs stand-point. This will open up numerous items to collect and equip in you adventure, as well as quests you can take on and complete. The world itself is vast, giving you the chance of countless hours of exploration. Overall, the game-play does a well enough in not drowning the gaming experience, but offers nothing to really standout.

When it comes to Ragnarok Online's visuals, you'll experience a world of 3D backgrounds with 2D avatars. The visuals are well rendered, and show likeness to games such as a crossing of Xenogears and Final Fantasy Tactics. The only knock on the game's visuals are of all characters look the same, with only a color change. Then again, I'm always dreaming of a game that shows you something new around each turn of the corner, not just a different color. Along with the visuals, the animation of the game doesn't do much to impress. With only a handful of basic animation, from a character's movement to engaging in battle, you feel trapped within a game that is repetitive in the action, and lacks an extensive library of motion.

Possibly the most appealing feature of the game is the music. The soundtrack of the game is provided by soundTeMP, a Korean team of video game music composers which has worked on Arcturus and Seal Online as well. The music within Ragnarok Online alone is possibly worth a full month subscription of the game. With great composition to many of the tracks, it's worth keeping you sound at an audible volume. However, the sound effects within the game will be the price you'll pay for that. Most of the sound effects are unwelcomingly loud and abrupt, and should come with a warning of "may cause head-aches" at the prelude of the game along with their seizure warning. Then again, it is your ability to fool around with the gaming options to adjust some of the offerings the game gives, but when you have to take something out of the game, it really doesn't speak volumes for it.

On the flip-side of things, the game is rather easy to pick up. The developers did a good job of putting in a very useful tutorial section at the beginning of the game for you. You'll also find it useful to level-up as much as possible during the tutorial section so you'll be ready for the full game experience. The level up system is nothing different from what you may be use to in other MMORPG's, but the extra twist to Ragnarok Online is the job/skill level you'll have as well. Though it's nothing revolutionary, it is nice to have another goal of aim besides leveling-up in the game.

The large community of players in Ragnarok Online is an additional positive for the game. Like they say, "misery loves company" and when you're pushing yourself to get your money's worth, it's nice to find other's to help you fill your need, and possibly come up with in-game games for each other. The odds are that there's someone within the game that is willing to join your party for help in adventures or give you hints or tips when you run into a "wall". Plus there is always countless players that are self-merchants selling an item you may desperately need, or greedily want.

There are many aspects of Ragnarok Online that is left lacking which could of made the game great, or produced a strong foundation of an up-and-coming franchise, but it just isn't there. There is potential in this franchise, and with what Ragnarok Online could have been, there's no doubt that if Gravity Corporation can capitalize on some of the game's flaws, and have something far all gamers. It's evident that many see the potential within the franchise, hence the strong following and community the game has. Let's hope the gate isn't closed on the possibility.

6.8 Gameplay 777 7
Replayability 555 5
Interface 777 7
Community 999 9
Reviewer's Tilt 666 6
  Scale
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