Welcome to Mechanically Beautiful, where we look into the widely debated topic of whether or not video games are considered art. I’m here to say that yes, I do believe video games are a form of art. If you are not a believer of this idea, then maybe these articles will change your mind. But even if they don’t, you will get a chance to hear about and maybe look into some beautiful games in the industry. Today we take a look at the free to play action MMO “Vindictus” by Nexon.
“Vindictus” is a Korean MMO with much bigger emphasis on fast paced action and difficult dungeon crawling than most MMOs. It has a hack and slash combat system, and dodging mechanics, like a spectacle fighter. You fight large boss battle swarms of enemies and shred your weapon through your enemies with great vigor. This MMO is also free to play, so you might as well give it a shot. It doesn’t have a horrible and intrusive business model like many free to play games.
When you first start up “Vindictus” and go into the character creation, you see a bunch of people in armor and weapons hanging around a bar. Each one of these seven people is one of the classes you can choose from. There is Lann, Fiona, Eve, Karok, Kai, Vella, and Hurk. Each character fills a certain role that dictate the style of the end game armor. Karok is a huge tank who swings around a pillar as a weapon. He is tall muscular and wears tribal looking gear. He wears things like big pelts or leath, and depending on what late game stuff you take, I have also seen huge plate style armor. In the character creation, he is wearing a fur pelt on his shoulder and black leather pants, while curling a beer keg. Lann is a swift two handed swordsman who wears lighter plate armor. In the selection screen, he wears knight style armor, but sports a cape and fancy design. He looks like an important general of war, wearing his decorated battle gear. His late game armor can look very “Final Fantasy” dragon inspired or old fashion great heroic soldier look. Fiona is a smaller girl who fights with a sword and shield. She has a soft face and long hair so she doesn’t look battle ready, but she certainly is. All of the female characters/classes look very young and soft, but this is because it is a Korean game and that’s their style. Fiona in the selection is wearing shoulder plate armor as well as some leather leg wear and a plate chestpiece. She has a small shield and sword but much of her late game armor is larger and more fearsome. She wears a lot of gear that looks like a knight in shining armor. Eve is the mage type character, so she wears not as strong plates or mail and sticks with the usual cloth armor. In the selection screen, she appears to be wearing clothes that don’t even look battle ready. It looks more like common day clothes a mage would train in. She sports a staff as her weapon which later changes into a large scythe. Much of her late game armor makes her look like a super witch or a demon caster. Wearing only cloth gear doesn’t stop her from looking fantastic. Kai is the bow wielding hunter style class. He is sitting down toward the back of the selection screen, so it’s hard to tell what his look is. He appears to being wearing leather gear with some steel plating. Much of Kai’s armor seems to have nature based or demon hunter style themes. He looks geared to hunt down dragons. Hurk is a big tall man sporting a massive two handed sword that he swings with great speed. He is wearing a large, blue trench coat and steel shoulder plates with leather hide under armor in the selection screen. Hurks armor either makes him look like a super“Final Fantasy” character or a demonic black knight wielding a cursed blade. Although he is a sort of cliche style, he is an awesome design none the less. Vella is the last character and she is basically and female version of Lann. She is a bit more precise and crit focus then Lann but carries the same two sword principle. The selection screen shows her in bright white extravagant armor. She is wearing cloth and plating and is the flashiest of all the characters. Her late game armor makes her look either like a scantily clad rouge/assassin or a monster hunter but much of her armor has a lot of excess flash to it. There is a lot of detail to each and every piece of armor and each character has their specific style.
Each of the dungeons areas has a set theme to them. Every couple of levels you get a different palette or style to the next set of dungeons. These are like split up level zones in normal open world MMOs. The first set of dungeons is the Gnoll zone. The areas are covered in ancient ruins and overgrowth. The Gnolls have taken up this place to try and not be bothered, so they have also placed traps and obstacles in the area. The ruins are not especially colorful, but there are some little details all over when you look close. The next zone is icy caverns covered in kobolds. The kobolds have small hut based villages all over the caverns, and things like straw beds and crates for storage. The caverns look like they are being inhabited by nomad like people. In the part where the kobolds didn’t build there are cool looking ice formations like stalagmites all over the place. There are many different zones that I haven’t gotten the chance to see but I’m sure they are just as interesting.
The last point is the style of the UI and NPCs. Unlike most MMOs, there are no NPC characters just wondering around in “Vindictus.” There are no wandering guards or citizens to annoy you. All NPC interaction is done when you enter shops. You see beautifully hand drawn portraits for each NPC character with an in game engine back drop depicting the shop. There are many of people to talk to and each of them has a high detail hand drawn portrait. The UI of the game is also flashy and detailed. The fot and blue back drop of each of the buttons fits nicely. Even the button for things like your inventory and social list, have great little icons.
MMOs are of course giant games and I could go on and on about every little thing in them. I am giving just a taste of the beauty within “Vindictus” but there is always more to find. This is a great game to give a shot with if you want to play an MMO, but are getting sick of the old fashion style of MMOs like “WoW.” Plus, this game is totally free so, there’s no reason not to try it.