DarkEden...I Put a Spell on You
2D games... Where thou have all gone...
With the thick fog of Free to play 3d games with gorgeous graphics, modern and user friendly games out in the market, You’d be wondering how this ancient 2d game first released in 1997, is still alive and sucking money off from unsuspecting gamers.
DarkEden. Originally released in South Korea, is a PvP oriented game that features a battle between Vampires, Humans, and Ousters. The game has been released in Japan, and in Thailand. Also an international version has been released.
DarkEden has made quite disappointing reviews early on with the over sea releases. Not because of the game’s content, but because the hackers roamed the land! I myself have played in the international server, and the game at that point was plagued by hacks and cheats. But that was long time ago, and DarkEden have finally met a worthy host to fully bloom in all its glory.
*The current version that is hosted by Ignited games is the official North American version. The game is currently in second closed beta testing, and I have gotten lucky to participate in this event.
You start by picking which race you want to play. There are three playable races that are all in war against each other. The unique part of this is that all three races have a distinct way of progressing in the game. Vampires gain experience by drinking enemy’s blood. Which would yield them 70% of the potential experience, and then they can receive the remaining experience points by finishing them off. Upon levelling up, the vampire will be granted three attribute points which they can distribute to Strength, Dexterity, and intelligence.
Slayers first choose a weapon ranging from swords, blades, guns, staves, and maces. As they hunt and battle, their attribute will increase automatically based on which weapon they are specializing. For example, let’s say I picked a sword to kill my enemies. Over time my sword domain skill will increase as well as the governing attribute which would mainly be strength and dexterity.
Ousters progress similar to the vampire. Although along with their attribute points, they gain skill points. Which then can be distributed into their extensive skill tree that focuses your character either in combat, fire, water, and earth elemental magic.
Then you’re thrown into the world of Eslania. A place where modern day things like motorcycles, coexist with castles and magic. Even though the game is isometric, the environments and the general feel of the game truly makes you feel like you’re in a beautifully crafted gothic world. The sound track ranges from brooding dungeon music, to somewhat playful, dark and sarcastic marching themes. When your ears are tired of the same old sound-as-big-as-you-can choir orchestrated music, DarkEden gives a unique flavour.
DarkEden does not try to do many things. But for the things it does, it rightly hits the spot. Hack and slash, or hack and drain, pick up loot, rinse and repeat even satisfies my long forgotten pleasures of playing Diablo. The feel of the game is everything for this game. The way the environments look, the way monsters hiss and scream, and sound of the evil laugh as I drain another helpless victim. DarkEden breathes character.
However DarkEden is not without its flaws. Even trying to open up your inventory or your equipment tab might throw you off, since it’s not mapped to “I” key or the “C” key. It’s tab for inventory, and strangely Ctrl+tab for equipment. Most annoying thing I found in the game is the skill tab. Your f1 and f2 keys are stone engraved strictly to health potions or mana potions. This is a real nuisance since the game does not use the number keys for skills and only use f3 to f12. You will find yourself uncomfortably reaching to f9 and accidently press other skills and find yourself get killed. With sheer amount of skills to choose from, you simply need all those keys available to you.
You will get the hang of this game rather quick if you can see past the poorly translated dialogues and quests. Quests in this game is rather lacking in terms of content and variety, but if you take it as a guide line on where to level, things will make more sense to you. You will face many forms of undead, and demons of various colours and most of them are very well articulated in their evilness. However it’s a shame that your experiences in the lower levels are too brief to appreciate some memorable foes.
Levelling is very quick in the early stage of the game and most players will reach level 100 with reasonable amount of grinding. As with most rpg games, grinding is somewhat expected. Although grinding without quests and no real guidance can become a little disheartening. But if you want to become the baddest vampire or vampire slayer, you’ve got dedicate some serious hours into grinding.
Then it is no question that the highlight of this game is racial pvp. Except for a few safe zones anyone can freely attack you at any given time. Since there are no instanced dungeons, players will find themselves constantly battling each other to claim their hunting spot. Players can participate in the daily world pvp events, and there are plenty of random pvp groups seeking out to kill other race for some casual fun.
Although all this pvp can be exciting, it’s disappointing that there are no real consequences or reward to this central game content. Players will not lose experience points, or have to run back to retrieve their body or gear, and not even a loss of durability to their equipment. Since the game’s world is rather small regarding square feet, it takes mere seconds to get back to where they have died. But for those who are satisfied to just “own” another player, all the more the gain to them.
*As with most free to play games, DarkEden will also have a cash market where people can buy in game items with real money. These will possibly include cosmetic changes like hair colour, skin colour, exclusive items like specialty pets, and of course experience gain enhancers.
This game is kind of like having a relationship with someone who’s got lot of baggage. Their intent might be pure, but with the environment they grew up has dictated their sometimes not so reasonable judgment. It seems to me that DarkEden’s initial goal was to create a hardcore pvp game. Ultimately DarkEden has chosen to sacrifice lore and game mechanic for accessibility. Yet such is the life of games that have burnt out from their glory days.
All in all, I still do not believe that DarkEden’s times have ended. All those years of enlightenment and turbulence, could not undo its conjured old magic. DarkEden is truly a rare gem among all the recycled excess. So come join in the closed beta or check back when it’s officially released to join the unending war of vampires, or fight against them.
Thanks for reading.