I’ve always been a fan of action games, it seems that no matter how badly I suck, no matter how many times I get my ass handed to me, I’m just unable to resist picking the controller up one more time. So it’s only natural that I’ve tried my hand at various action-styled MMOs; I’ve played many of them, from Vindictus and Dragon Nest, to sidescrollers like Dragonica and Wind Slayer. I’ve never really managed to improve beyond passable, but that still hasn’t deterred me from having fun.
I’ve had my eye on Continent of the Ninth Seal for a while now, and was lucky enough to snag an early entry into its global closed beta test. My account even had the ability to jump my character straight to level 50, so I’ve spent the day running around various zones pounding on low leveled monsters, and getting stomped by the high end content. But hey, if you’re going to die, getting killed by an ice breathing dragon is definitely an exciting way to go.
I generally dislike describing one game by comparing it to another, but in the case of C9 (Continent of the Ninth Seal‘s shorthand), it’s very difficult not to look at it and think of Vindictus so I might as well come right out and do so. The two games are very similar visually, not only did I continue to have Vindictus flashbacks as I ran around inside the game, but when I made my first shaman character the first thought that popped into my head was – it’s Evie! Vindictus comes out ahead on the visual score, at least in my book, although C9 does look pretty good for a game created in 2009. And I do have to say that I liked the armor designs that I saw for the shaman much better than Evie’s armor, although admittedly, after only a few hours of gametime, my impression is built from a very small sampling.
Character generation is on the higher end of customization, there are sliders for just about everything, from shape of the eyebrows to bust and waist size. I’ll admit it, the first thing that I did was make a giant-breasted, tiny waisted bombshell who wouldn’t even be able to walk, much less fight. I was also very pleased to see that not only were there lots of tattoos (on their own slider no less!), but you can choose the color, as well as size and placement. There are sliders you can use to move the tattos around the character’s face; I had fun moving the flower tattoo I liked from one cheek to the other, then making it so huge it covered my face entirely.
But it’s in its gameplay where Continent of the Ninth Seal really shines – it’s very much the superior to Vindictus. Playstyle is similar, as it is in all action games; you go to the dungeon entrance, select your dungeon and difficulty, then run around and kill monsters in live time. Defeating a dungeon on one difficulty level opens up the next level, there is nothing new there. What C9 has over Vindictus is skills. A great many of them. There are so many skills and combos that you can pull that C9 feels almost like Tekkan – in order to really shine, you’re going to have put time into learning which skills work for you, and how to fluidly pull off all the combos that you have access to. Without knowing how to guard and break your opponents’ combo chains, it’s very easy to find yourself juggled to death. But that also means if you know what you’re doing, you can juggle your enemies to death as well. Much to my surprise, I discovered you can even juggle bosses if you time it right. That’s normal for action-styled games, but C9 has so many more skills and thus options than any other action MMO I’ve played that it’s a real treat.
Unfortunately PvP hasn’t been enabled yet, so all I can say is that from the sounds of it, it’ll be a blast. One of the features I’m looking forward to seeing is infiltration – you can sneak into someone’s dungeon while they’re monster hunting and duke it out in a death match. From the looks of it, infiltrations provide some sort of bonus to your final dungeon score, so I suspect pvp is going to be a pretty big part of gameplay once the game is live.
I also can’t say enough good about the UI. Perhaps I’m viewing it better than I otherwise would because I’m coming from the horrendous UI of