Last Chaos is one of the offerings from Aeria Games, known for titles such as Eden Eternal and Kitsu Saga. It is a highly 3D free-to-play MMORPG with swords-and-sorcery fantasy elements. There are numerous in-game events, a fair number of people in the world, and an expansive storyline. The game supports itself through an item mall and provides a fairly extensive in-game economy.
As a game it’s seen its fair share of expansions and developments, so it’s not been left behind by time in that respect.
I found the game a bit oddly dated with a strange mishmash of graphics and content. The game play didn’t stand up readily to modern MMORPGs released this year. To be fair to the game, it was released in 2006 for the PC and has requirements that list 2 GHz Pentium IV as recommended specs. So if you have an older computer, it should run alright for you. Although, I found it accessing the hard drive at odd times which would cause it to stutter. This game is definitely showing its age.
Why does my mage (a girl) have high heels and what looks like stocking pantyhoes? The animations and sounds are a little bit off, when I move there’s the clickity-clatter of the heels on the stone floor, but the leg motion animation is much longer in stride than she moves. It produces a rather disconcerting disconnect between ground and motion (almost like she’s sliding while walking.)
Well, that aside, let’s get along into the graphics and sound of this game.
Graphics and sound: It’s almost like playing in the past of an old 2000s 3D TV show
The rendering engine reminds me oddly of all the worst parts of the Unreal engine. That’s where the mishmash of art direction comes into play. The landscapes are sprawling, low polygon designs with repetitive textures and trees that use a blurry, intersecting series of planes to mimic leaves; but the buildings seem to have had some actual time spent on them. Plus there’s statuary here and there with careful design.
The architecture of the tutorial appears rather gothic—the door that I walked through had inlaid bronze, quite intricate face, and a good creaking noise.
One nice element of the countryside happened to be the skybox full of scuttling clouds rushing overhead and the brilliant sun rising quickly in the distance (it seemed a lot like x5 time.) Although, with the rising sun, the extreme lens flare seemed a bit much.
Wherever you go subtle to not-so-subtle music plays in the background. This will drive you up the wall, not because it’s bad so much as because it’s extremely repetitive and cycles can be measured in less than a minute. There seems to be only two or three musical scores and they change depending on where I am in the world. Town, dungeon, etc.
The player avatars and monsters almost look like they’re badly blue-screened against the terrain. Wolves have a semi-photorealistic texture on them as they’re charging and snarling, which juxtaposes weirdly against the matte grassless-green ground, and the very wooden-looking fences. It’s hard to say how these elements went together when art direction came around.
Fortunately, wolves still die with a satisfying smack.
Game play: Doesn’t seem to have a good grasp of modern MMORPG UI design
Movement keys are WASD like any other MMO, except there’s no strafe, A and D rotate side to side (Q and E don’t react.) Perhaps this can be fixed in the options, but I didn’t find myself inclined to find out. The game also has a click-to-move interface but it gives no indication of to where I’m going to move when I click. I just go and get there when I get there. Most other MMOs of this type will spring up some sort of glowing market at the move-to target point that vanishes on arrival. (Apparently this was a graphics glitch affecting only one of my game play sessions. In a later session the glowing navigation point reappeared.)
Combat as a mage was a little bit weird at first. Zombies dropped from the ceiling with a crush of rocks and others rose from the floor. Left clicking on them threw a magic bolt. they also groaned as they charged (but made little other noise.) The zombies died with reasonable speed, leaving behind splotches of blood on the floor, a spinning particle effect that twirled away from their corpses, and pile of gold coins. I had to pick up the gold myself by clicking on it (sometimes accidentally hitting bare ground and walking past the gold pile as a result.)
The game runs on quests, and spent a lot of time sending me hither-and-thither. Most of them came from glowing quest givers, but some just seemed to drop in my lap (appearing in the sidebar.) Fortunately, this meant that I didn’t have to run around a lot, although neither the minimap nor the world map were all that readable at first.
After a while of playing, I got used to the mild difference in the game design.
The UI seems a little bit clunky at first. The font used is one people who play Korean MMOs might have gotten used to, a sort of Terminal-cum-Courier that is favored in various bold colors over a dark background, with a lighter border. The icons at the bottom of the screen are square, and sometimes slightly too small. Everything shows its pixels just a little too much, but it always gets the job done with a minimal amount of fuss.
I didn’t get one, but I notice that the game has a pet system (large lumbering minions following other people around) also there’s a nice variety of different mounts to be had.
Freemium: Looks like it takes full advantage of an item mall
Looking at the item shop and not knowing half the names of the items means I can’t really give a good review of what it’s all about. However, guessing from some of the items makes it seems that it’s split between two types: items that increase experience boosting and items that change the drop rate of loot.
A lot of the items in the shop seem to be enchants and consumables that affect how much experience a person makes as they scythe through critters and level in the game. Many of these appear to be part of seasonal packages such as “Summerfest Level” and the like. These are probably directed as players who want to get into the higher levels but have little time to grind (due to jobs) but as a result, more money.
The other type appear to be “luck” packages that probably affect the type of and value of loot that drops from kills, bosses, and dungeons. They probably use the same idea—don’t have time to grind through dungeons all day but have the money to pay for better drops?
It’ll work out as a cash shop model for them in the end without affecting game play too much.
Conclusion: Last Chaos is dated now, but supports a fairly large community
Between the fading graphic quality, the stability issues I encountered, and the way that the UI just rubs me the wrong way, I wouldn’t be ready to recommend this game to the casual members of GameOgre. However, as an MMORPG it’s not missing anything and it provides most of its game with a great deal of panache like most games of its type and doesn’t seem to be totally unplayable.
When I made it to the first town, and major quest hub, I found it brimming with activity (although mostly merchants) which tells me that even the newbie servers have enough people on them to sustain a particularly mobile in-game economy.
If you’re looking for a game that will run on a lower-end machine at the cost of look-feel-and-game-play, Last Chaos will do you just fine.