Elsword: 2015 Review
Elsword is an MMORPG side scroller. It's a fun and easy game that anyone can get into as soon as they start. If you need a comparison, Elsword is pretty similar to Dungeon Fighter Online.
In my last article (concerning Elsword) I talked about choosing between the most recently added class extensions Dreadlord and Noblesse. However, I decided to go back and look at Elsword as a whole. I started playing Elsword shortly after its North America release back on March 23rd, 2011 and I dropped it a few months later.
I decided to pick Elsword back up again back in June of this year. To my surprise the game was almost completely different than I remember. It's become considerably better since back then.
I hate to say it story lovers, but there isn't much story present in Elsword. You are a part of the El search party, looking for a missing El. But that's pretty much it. Each character has their own unique introduction, but you never really see their stories addressed again, which is a shame, considering some of the characters have interesting back stories.
The only real story in the game is the many conversations between NPCs. Once in a blue moon, your character will throw a line out there. However, you really are just a tool for the NPCs to use for their benefit.
Elsword has ten unique characters for players to pick from. You have Elsword, Aisha, Rena, Raven, Eve, Chung, Ara, Elesis, Add and (my personal favorite) Luciel. Each character comes with their own set of classes and each class has an extension.
All the characters are unique. Their skills are incredibly different, and each character offers a different type of experience when you play them. The only exception is Elsword and Elesis, but they are brother and sister so it thematically checks out.
The three classes you can choose from usually consist of a physical-based class, a magic-based class, and a unique class. Now what I mean by 'unique class' is that the third class usually comes with a characteristic that is special to that character. For example, Ara's third class, the Asura class, is a class the focuses on the power of the nine-tailed fox that only Ara has.
Ah, dungeons. The one thing almost every RPG game has. I always had a lot of fun in the Elsword dungeons. I found them to be a real blast to play. However, I never really felt a need to play with more people in dungeons.
The thing about Elsword dungeons is that they can be easily beaten whether you go in with a party or not. The only difference a party makes is the fact that it won't take as long.
They are rather simple dungeons. You run forward and kill everything that moves. Pretty easy going. That is until you get to the Sanders area.
The dungeons from Sanders forward get considerably harder compared to previous dungeons. They are a lot longer and have far more special enemies. Some of the levels even have the boss appear throughout the level.
Elsword dungeons are easy and uneventful until late in the game. However, once you get into the higher level dungeons, you better make sure you're geared up and ready.
Secret Dungeons do not become available until your character reaches level 70. In order to unlock a secret dungeon, you have to beat all the dungeons on very hard in an area.
Holy flying cookies. I could not believe how different secret dungeons are from regular dungeons. Secret dungeons have every right to spit and look down on regular dungeons. They made me reevaluate how hard Elsword can actually get. If you do not thoroughly prepare for these dungeons, you will regret it. They are the types of dungeons you need a party for.
The first secret dungeon I walked into, I felt all powerful. My character Ara had great gear and was all ready to go. That was until I took an arrow to the face (ha! you thought I'd say knee) and died. I sat there for a moment wondering what just happened. While doing so, Elsword was laughing saying, "Ya still think I'm easy punk? Well do ya!?"
I believe building up to take on secret dungeons is one of the many highlights in Elsword. They are fun and challenging dungeons that test a player's skills to the limit, even with a party.
So, what kind of awesome reward do you get for doing such dungeons? You get material and a coin that you can exchange for the best gear in the game. That's right. You can get the best and ultimate gear after beating the ultimate dungeons!
I'm suddenly reminded of my article about ultimate weapons being more than just trophies.
Pffft what? Okay next.
Alright, seriously. Elsword PvP is just...awful. It really is one of the most frustrating PvP systems I have ever seen, and I've played a lot of games with PvP. However, Elsword's PvP is one of the few that I have ever played where next to no skill is required. I thought this before and after I won 125 matches and got up to S rank. Ten matches in, and I wanted to bash my skull in despite that 125 match count.
In Elsword PvP, the best way to play is to pull your opponents into a long lasting combo that does tons of damage. This will build up your MP and give you access to your skills faster. This kind of system gave birth to a term called "catching". To catch someone in Elsword is to get them with a hit that stuns them and pulls them into a combo.
This is why Elsword PVP takes next to no skill and has no unique sense of style among players. It turns into a game of who can catch who first. Then people will always follow up that catch with a combo that every other person using the same character will use as well. No one really has a unique play style. You can pretty much figure out how to combat against each person by what character they use.
The worst part is that once in a combo, there is only one way out. Mana Break. These combos can possibly kill you right away. However, if you use Mana Break, you can escape the combo. Yet, this Mana Break uses 100MP. In other words it becomes a choice between getting out of a combo or using a skill if/when you get out of the combo.
The other thing that makes me think the PvP is a joke is because of skill usage. There is a chance that when someone on the opposite side uses a skill, it will stop you in place! It does not matter if you are in mid combo or hitting someone. You could be on the other side of the map and still get stopped.
I remember so many times that I jumped over my opponent, gracefully dodging their attack and getting their back exposed, but I failed in catching them. Why? Because one of their team members used a skill that stopped my movement. I did not get hit by the skill, but I still got stopped! Then the person I was facing turns around and catches me.
Really? Are you kidding?
PvP is definitely not a reason to play Elsword. It pretty much can be summed up as finding the cheapest trick and spamming it.
Ereda Island (PvP)
Ereda Island is another form of PvP in Elsword. I have to admit, it works a bit differently than normal PvP. Ereda Island is something like a team race. You have to get through multiple stages to get to the final stage. At the final stage you and the opposing team race to destroy the Guardian Tower. The team that causes the most damage wins.
This PvP does take skill to some degree. It requires the skill to work together as a team. However, this PvP provides a variety of advantages and disadvantages depending on what character you use. This is because some sections have platforming. If you do not have a character that can double jump or air run, you are in for a challenge as you try to perfect the timing of jumping platform to platform.
Other Interesting Features
Elsword has a variety of interesting features that they have added throughout the years. It is some of these features that caused me to fully invest in playing Elsword again.
Adding Mounts to Elsword was probably one of the best things that could have happened to the game. Now when I say mounts, I don't things mean like a horse. No, Elsword has creative mounts that have a variety of powers.
All mounts have three attacks. The Z, X, and C attack. The Z attack is usually phyiscal, while the X attack is a projectile, and C is the special. However, what makes things really interesting is that most mounts' Z attack gets an empowered form upon the use of the C attack.
For example, the most recent mount to come out is a mount called Raul's Vassal. The mount is in short, an electric golem. Its normal Z attack is a punch followed by a stationary electric sphere. However, after using the C attack the electric sphere turns into countless lightning bolts that blast into the enemy.
The mounts in Elsword have quickly become one of my favorite additions to the game. They offer a different style of gameplay from the usual. Why not get a mount and ride around for a while if you start to get tired of your character?
Events have always been present in Elsword. However, I have noticed that they've become a lot more frequent since I first played. Not only that, the events sometimes offer an interesting challenge. There is not much to say about them, but I believe that events offer a nice little side quest to do that can add up to very worthy rewards.
This is a very interesting system in Elsword. Players have the option to choose between three professions: treasure hunter, blacksmith and alchemist. It gives players the chance to create items that they could possibly sell for profit.
However, what I do not like about the job system is that you would have to have at least three characters to make full use of it. You don't have to level up two of them, but you need them to exist. The treasure hunter can find rare materials in the dungeons. Then a blacksmith or alchemist can use such materials to craft special items.
You could get your friends to help, but if one of them decides to stop playing while holding all your materials, you're out of luck.
Raid Boss (Aka World Boss)
Raid Boses are the Elsword equivalent of world bosses. These giant bosses are worthy of the title 'world boss'. Raid gates will appear all throughout the world of El. The interesting part about the Raid bosses is that you actually fight side by side with everyone participating in the fight. In a lot of the games that I have played that include world bosses, usually you only see your party or yourself against the boss. However, Elsword puts everyone on the same map as you fight the big bad boss.
The thing I like most about the Raid boss is that it feels like an actual world boss. These large bosses can easily take you down in one shot. It does not matter how strong you are or how good your gear is, the chances of you dying are incredibly high.
Fighting the Raid boss is one of the most fun things to do in Elsword. It's a challenging encounter that takes the strength of all players present to beat. It is a boss that definitly has the actual presence of a world boss.
When All is Said and Done
Elsword is a very easy game to get into. The gameplay is very simple and fun. What I like about Elsword is that the story missions require you to do each dungeon multiple times. This allows you to grind a level for as much as it's worth while progressing with the story.
If you are looking for a fun side-scroller that has unique characters and gameplay, then Elsword is the game for you. I give it an 8/10.