Is this free-to-play PC RPG worth the 0 dollars it costs to get on board?
Some 13 years after He disturbed PC gamers all over the world with his psychological horror-themed Alice based on the Alice in Wonderland novels, American McGee returns to his fairy tale roots in this loose adaption of Little Red Riding hood. Set in Japan, The Red Hunter must rid her village and surrounding areas form various evils, demons and lots and lots of wolves. This is a Diablo-style action RPG that is free to play with both a downloadable client and an in-browser option.
The first thing you will notice about Akaneiro is how fantastic it looks. You will be amazed that a game like this can run in a browser window, and you can jack up the resolution as high as 1280×1024 with the downloadable client. While it may not compare to your favourite MMO in raw graphical prowess, it’s the art style that make the game a wonder to behold. Everything looks like a Japanese painting with vivid colours(when they aren’t muted by mist and fog) and thick ink lines. As you slash your way through enemies they erupt in explosions of blood and ink, and the whole game just looks like a painting come to live.
The gameplay is fairly standard Diablo-style isometric adventuring. Left click attacks and right click uses you special moves. You have a number of different options to quick-select which special ability you want to map to the right mouse button. Enemies often bound in from the edges of the screen to ambush you, resulting inn tense battles with dozens of creatures, many of whom drop items of loot that you can wear and use. In a interesting twist, there are no health potions and health doesn’t usually recharge on its own. You get a bit of health back with every kill, so the game is constantly pushing you forward towards your next encounter, rather than have you wait around for your health to regenerate, of to quaff down a half dozen health potions.
You can bring in a computer controlled version of someone else’s character into the game to help you, which is a most welcome addition, but as of now there is no co-op. Thanks to a successful Quickstarter campaign for additional funding for the project though, multiplayer and a number of other additions, like crafting, are due to show up in the relativity near future.
With the exception of character experience, everything in the game’s economy revolves around one single currency: Karma. Karma is found in chests, barrels and every enemy you kill. Karma is used to purchase new equipment, learn new skills, unlock new levels, resurrect yourself when you die and even summon animal spirit helpers. The fact that a single currency is in control of so much affords a surprising amount of freedom in character development.
There are three basic classes: Prowess(dual-wielding damage dealer), Fortitude(strong defense) and Cunning(ranged attacks) but how you spend your karma is entirely up to you. You can concentrate on getting the best weapons and armor from the shop, or you can spend all your money learning new skills. You can even cross class if you so desire.
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Karma is where the free-to-play model comes in. Although you can earn enough karma to do everything you want to do in-game, it will take some time and some grinding. You can just buy the Karma for real-world human money to save yourself a lot of time. Because experience is the one thing not handled by Karma, The micro-transactions don’t fundamentally imbalance the game, though it wouldn’t particularly matter if they did, since there isn’t currently any multiplayer.
The game looks great, and if you don’t mind some grinding you can have a perfectly satisfying time without paying a cent. The grind can be a bit much at times, so as to encourage you to pay up, and a few key features are missing at launch, but this is still a great game for a price you really can’t beat.