Aura Kingdom Review: I liked it, but there’s room for improvement

Even if statistics show a decline in popularity for MMORPGs, it is still one of the most sought-after game genres today. That’s why it isn’t surprising that game developer X-Legend and publisher Aeria Games, the same companies behind Eden Eternal have another MMORPG that went into open beta earlier today —Aura Kingdom.

Gameplay: interesting, but I want to play with friends!

Aura Kingdom
Aura Kingdom is a free-to-play open world MMORPG that uses a targeted combat system. You have eight characters to choose from: Guardian, Duelist, Ravager, Wizard, Sorcerer, Bard, Grenadier and Gunslinger. You have a primary weapon early game and you will later get to choose a secondary weapon that you can switch to as you progress.

Having experienced plenty of action-based systems, I was worried I would get bored with the game’s targeted system. However, combat in Aura Kingdom is different. It allows the player to move around while attacking the targeted enemy, and this allowed me to dodge enemy skills while continuing with my attack. The targeted system allowed me to get the action I craved in spite of its limitations, which is definitely a plus in my books.

Aura Kingdom

Character builds are an interesting aspect of Aura Kingdom. Instead of the usual Strength, Agility, and Intelligence attributes an RPG player might be used to, you have to distribute points to attributes such as Damage, Critical Damage, Attack Speed, Health Points, Defense, and Evasion. You also have to add to your passive skills using the Envoy’s Path system, which is a series of interconnected passive spells which you can learn. Once you head down a particular path, you cannot learn spells that are not connected to it. The Envoy’s Path system is something that not all MMORPGs have, and I find challenge in the game in this aspect.

Aura Kingdom

Aura Kingdom also has Eidolons: magical pets that help you in battle. There are four different pets to choose from early in the game — the sprite Serif, the sylph Merrilee, the young dragon Grimm, and the unicorn Alessa. You will be able to unlock other Eidolons in the future through playing the game and by purchasing them via the Item Mall. The Eidolons are a significant part of the story, and Grimm practically saved my full support bard from being mobbed by providing the much-needed damage that full supports don’t usually have.
Aura Kingdom
Like many MMORPGs, Aura Kingdom features an open world with instanced dungeons. It was not something that worked to its advantage as I felt it took too long for me to travel from one spot to another just to get quests done. Fortunately, the dungeons compensated for that, with both single and multiplayer dungeons available. These dungeons reduced my travel time, allowed me to kill monsters in peace (I don’t like sharing kills, don’t ask.), and kept the number of monsters I actually had to kill to a minimum. The downside is that the dungeons, and Aura Kingdom on a whole, aren’t as challenging as I hoped the game would be.

Aura Kingdom
Also, as much as I enjoyed playing Aura Kingdom on my own, I didn’t like playing it with friends during the early levels. The environment just isn’t that challenging for a group to take on, and wasn’t fun for a support player like me. I like playing the support characters because I find it challenging to be the one to keep everyone alive, and was looking to build a full support bard in Aura Kingdom, but because you can completely nearly all quests by yourself, people don’t need supports. Although there are also party dungeons as mentioned earlier, you don’t get there until level 20. I would’ve preferred it if dungeons had an option to enter as a party or as solo right from the beginning. Alternatively, the developers could have added difficulty levels to make it more challenging.

And if you’re wondering if it gets tougher further into the game, it doesn’t. Even at level 40 – which is the current level cap for the Aeria Games version – you won’t need a party to survive quests or dungeons unless you specifically need one to enter and pass a location.

Graphics and audio: cute, colorful, and 3D

Aura Kingdom
I love cute anime-type designs, but the usual problem I have with it is that the characters look cute in 2D, but are very different in 3D. Aura Kingrom did a great job making it look like a 3D anime, and I love the end result.

I also really enjoyed character creation. Although Aura Kingdom only had a few options compared to games like Yulgang 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and Continent of the Ninth, the designs were impressive enough that I felt there were more options than I actually had.

Aura Kingdom

The skills and animation effects are also very well done. I particularly like the ultimate skills for characters, where you get a special movie-like animation of your skill. The interface, on the other hand, could use some work. It isn’t an eyesore, but can sometimes get in the way of what you’re doing.

As for the audio, my character doesn’t talk or make any audible reactions when attacking or using a skill. It does, however yell “Ehh!” or “Heeeh!” every time I cast a spell. That can be rather annoying, but the background music makes up for it. I really like how it did a good job creating an ambience depending on what is happening in the story.

Story: yes, I paid attention to it

Aura Kingdom
Let’s face it. Unless you’re forced by the game to do so, you won’t pay attention to the story in an MMORPG. There is a tendency to just keep on clicking ‘next’ or ‘skip’ and to proceed with the quest requirements and get it over with.

As courtesy to the writer of the story, I always read the dialog when I start playing a new MMORPG. If it’s engaging enough, I continue to follow it, but let me be honest —that isn’t a common occurrence.
Aura Kingdom
Although I won’t say that the story is stellar in Aura Kingdom, I think it’s interesting enough to follow. I like how the character gets involved in the story of the non-playable characters (NPCs), and I like how the story gets incorporated in the game play. For example, if you kidnap an enemy, you will actually see your character running around with a sack with a sleeping human inside it. You also get to play as other NPCs in various mini games that involve stealth missions or infiltration missions. It’s a good way of diverting your attention from all the grinding you’ve been doing.

I won’t spoil the story for you, but the turn of events and the reason why your character is out on a journey are more unique than the usual storylines you see in MMORPGs.

The verdict

Aura Kingdom
So should you play Aura Kingdom? It’s a great game to pick up if you’re used to target-based systems and would like to try out action-based systems without straying too far from your comfort zone. However, if you’re looking for a challenging action game, this isn’t for you. It may also be disappointing if you like party quests with friends since the party system doesn’t do all that much especially early game. If you’re the lone wolf kind of gamer, you’ll do just fine here.

Aura Kingdom is also for those who like delving into character builds. From the Envoy’s Path to the Eidolon selection, you will have a lot to work with and keep yourself occupied. Equipment alone won’t save you in this game so expect to grasp a good deal of game mechanics if you want to be ahead in this game.

Aura Kingdom is free to download from the official Aura Kingdom website. You can use any existing Aeria Games account or make one for free via Aeria Games’ official website.

The post Aura Kingdom Review: I liked it, but there’s room for improvement appeared first on Games in Asia.

The post Aura Kingdom Review: I liked it, but there’s room for improvement appeared first on Games in Asia.
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