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Good day to you, friends! Though, in the world of DarkEden, we would refer to each other as "Heleans", appropriately a play on the word "hellion", which is quite clever in my opinion. But I digress. Before I bore you with such pedantics, I should tell you what you really want to know.
Just what the hell is DarkEden, and why should I be interested? Granted I'm not the greatest DarkEden player of all time, but I will do my best.
DarkEden is a free-to-play, massively multiplayer online game, obviously, but besides that, it presents quite a unique environment. I could go on for days about the lore and overall setting, but instead I'll summarize it for you. Basically, there is a fictional European country, Eslania, in the region of Helea, in which an elite task force of slayers, one of the three races of DarkEden, known as E.V.E are dispatched to eliminate the threat of vampires, the other main race of the game. In addition to the ongoing war between human slayers and undead vampires, an ancient race known as Ousters awaken and are disgusted by the actions of the vampires and humans. The ousters join the fray in an attempt to "oust" the other two races from Helea, which is to say, quite creepy and dangerous enough already.
In terms of appearance and overall ambience, DarkEden is an isometric 3D game, a look which you may remember from other popular games such as Fallout and Diablo. While the game does have a lot in common aurally and visually with other games from the time period (the game was first released in 1997) it manages to be different enough to not feel like a cheap rip off. The Helean world is presented as dark, dangerous, perhaps even grimy. It's not a place you'd go to for vacation. This game has a lot of small and immersive details (which are very well done in my opinion) that may be overlooked. For example, each race has their own unique sounds and user interfaces. As a vampire, you will move an item in your inventory and hear a sound that may make you squirm, while as a slayer it will sound more rigid. Ousters have an overall whimsical, earthly feel; They are reminiscent of nymphs. In addition to that, the game has an awesome, eery soundtrack, with tracks you'll typically hear varying as per race. The game does a lot to appeal to your senses for being a free-to-play MMO. Overall you can tell whoever developed this game (Softon Entertainment) wanted to create something that wasn't just profitable, like any online game will be to some extent, but a damn good game.
Next we have gameplay. Gameplay will vary depending on your race, but they all have the same primary goal. That is, to kill monsters and unruly vampires, level up, and slay members of an enemy race. DarkEden is PVP (Player-Versus-player) based, even having a war that takes place periodically as a central plot point, but there are many places for you to explore ranging from dungeons and lairs that only open at specific times. Those brave enough to enter and strong enough to succeed are rewarded handsomely. I'll provide a brief overview of how each race operates beginning with vampires.
Vampires are the best suited for PVM (player versus monster) combat. From an early level, they're quite bulky and can hold their own in large groups of enemies. They regain hitpoints primarily by sucking the blood of their victims and by doing this, they also gain the maximum experience points for level up. Vampires are not divided by class, and instead you are rewarded with attribute points which you may distribute to your three stats, strength, dexterity, and intelligence, how you see fit. When it comes to PVM, vampires have the advantage of being overall bulkier than the other classes.
Slayers are a balanced, teamwork-oriented race, even granting experience bonuses for being in a party with other slayers. It's difficult to solo your way through the game as a slayer and unless you're a lot higher level than your opponent (or they're terrible at the game) you'll have a difficult time taking them down. Slayers have five distinct classes which are, Sworder, Blader, Gunner, Healer, and Enchanter. Each class has their own specialties (that you'll have to learn by playing the game!) and as a team, not necessarily including every single class, though that would be incredibly strong, slayers are a force to be reckoned with and must be handled carefully. The classes support each other very well. Different from vampires, slayers gain experience per hit or successful cast. Successfully casting a spell or damaging an enemy, even another player of an enemy race, will grant you experience. Slayers do not pick their stat allocation; your class will decide that.
In addition to the two main races, we have the later implemented race, Ousters. I like to call them Oysters as a joke, but that's beside the point. Oysters, I mean Ousters, typically either go the melee route or the magical, ranged route, utilizing their element of choice, either fire, earth, or water, with wind innately being used by any build. In PVM, ousters are quite frail but deal tons of damage. They also gain the most experience out of all the races. In PVP, they can be very annoying to handle without certain counters. They dish out a ton of damage while being incredibly evasive. Personally I have the least experience with this race, but this is a review written by a DarkEden player, not a game overview by the development company. Please forgive any inaccurate statements.
Now that we've gotten the fundamentals out of the way, I can give my overall opinion of the game. If you couldn't already tell how fond of this game I was by making the effort to write this, it's my opinion that this is a solid game. I relish MMORPGs that are PVP based and balanced. Come endgame, this game comes down to skill. (In my opinion, though some may argue that this game has some balance issues, though as many players would say, they need to "cry more") Any race can find themselves winning the wars and receiving the accompanying advantages. I've played other releases of DarkEden, and it's great to see Ignited Games taking control of it again and so far, doing very well.
Previous versions were either incredibly "pay to win" oriented or plagued by hackers. I can tell we won't be seeing much of that in this release. In addition to having awesome gameplay, the game is very well thought out in ways other than balance. That is, both the visuals and sounds are appealing and uniquely detailed. As I mentioned earlier in the review, this game has an authentic feel that I personally love.
DarkEden is one of those few online games that causes me to dangeorusly lose track of the time because of how fun and competitive it is. If you want a number, I would probably give DarkEden, at the very least, an 8.5/10 rating. Being timeless, It's a game I would definitely recommend and often I find myself reminiscing over my adventures in Helea with my game-playing buddies. With that, I leave you to decide, but I would suggest giving the game a shot.
If my verbosity wasn't enough, here's some screenshots to pique your interest.
I also have a video with highlights of our most recent in-game war if you want some more action. Granted, I do terribly, but don't let that put you off of the game.