When It comes to MMOs, side-scrollers are few and far between. However, this doesn’t impede on their popularity, or the amount of fun they can be. Of course, Maplestory is a prime example of this, being one of the biggest MMOs out there, but it’s not the only side-scroller that gets attention.

Elsword is a side-scrolling, fighting style dungeon crawler made by a large group of different organizations, mainly KOG-LU, inc. and Kill3rcombo. Its graphics are wonderfully anime-styled, colorful, flashy and smooth, and its gamplay is fast-paced, easy to get into, and wonderfully addicting. The game also has its very own manga, Eltype, and the plot for Elsword follows this story relatively closely. Despite this, the story in-game is, for the most part, bland and repetitive, as per usual for MMOs. Basically, thieves have stolen the El of Ruben Village, which supposedly protects it from the hordes of monsters living in the wilds of the world, and a band of 6 heroes go on a wild goose chase through the continent trying to get it back, getting close at every village but then having the random villian suspected to have it narrowly escape to the next village. The story is interesting at first, but after seeing the pattern village after village, it becomes only engaging enough to be able to continue on to level up your character for PVP.

There are a multitude of problems with the game, some that may bother players more or less than others. The customization is extremely bare, not allowing players to change their character unless they’re willing to buy from the games item mall. The PvP system is designed to make you lose, giving players harder matchups every time they manage to secure a win and keeping their self esteem in the gutter unless they pace themselves with dungeons to save themselves from the depression of losing over and over again. There is also a stamina system tied into the dungeons, meaning that after a few hours progressing through the storyline players have to stop, not to continue until they log off and take a break for a few hours. There are also certain advantages some characters have over others; the mage Aisia and the Ranger Rena can charge their mana faster by standing still, Chung, the Gunner, can fight with powerful moves at close or long range, and any of the higher-level classes can combo low levels down to half-health without even breaking a sweat. The game is based heavily on levelling, and low level players dont stand a chance in PVP until they progress through the storyline and upgrade their class. The item mall also gives some unfair advantages to players willing to spend money on the game, as stats can be increased by envy-inducing accessories and certain features can’t be unlocked without using special items.

There are a multitude of problems with the game, some that may bother players more or less than others. The customization is extremely bare, not allowing players to change their character unless they’re willing to buy from the games item mall. The PvP system is designed to make you lose, giving players harder matchups every time they manage to secure a win and keeping their self esteem in the gutter unless they pace themselves with dungeons to save themselves from the depression of losing over and over again. There is also a stamina system tied into the dungeons, meaning that after a few hours progressing through the storyline players have to stop, not to continue until they log off and take a break for a few hours. There are also certain advantages some characters have over others; the mage Aisia and the Ranger Rena can charge their mana faster by standing still, Chung, the Gunner, can fight with powerful moves at close or long range, and any of the higher-level classes can combo low levels down to half-health without even breaking a sweat. The game is based heavily on levelling, and low level players dont stand a chance in PVP until they progress through the storyline and upgrade their class. The item mall also gives some unfair advantages to players willing to spend money on the game, as stats can be increased by envy-inducing accessories and certain features can’t be unlocked without using special items.

However, the few positive features Elsword provides are almost enough to make up for it. The game is extremely addicting; running through dungeons, even when quests require you to repeat them multiple times, is enough to keep the player going. The level arc is fast and easy, and reaching mid-level within a single week is a task that can be easily accomplished with a few good hours a day. The class changes are very satisfying; recieving access to flashy and powerful new skills made me feel like I could take on anyone. Pets are also a rare treat. Though many MMOs have pets, most only allow you to keep them out for a short period of time, or are extremely hard to get or take care of. In Elsword, players recieve their first pet through a main quest, are allowed to keep them out indefinately, and are easy to maintain if done smartly. And on top of that, despite the frustration of losing constantly as a low level, the PVP system is fun, engaging and vital to the livlihood of the game. The system to upgrade equipment is also surprisingly easy to grasp; though I usually have so much trouble enchanting and crafting weapons and armor in MMOs that I ignore it completely, I found myself being able to fully arm myself very easily. on top of that, they’re revamping the whole story and system right now, straightening out the storyline and improving the gameplay.

All in all, Elsword is a game that definately has its ups and downs. If you pay attention and read the information it gives you, it’s easy to progress. And on top of that, the game as a whole is so addicting, I’m still playing it even as I write this, selling items in the market for a lot of money. It can be frustrating, and if you don’t handle it in a way where you can calm yourself down and focus on things that aren’t as difficult, it’s easy to be shut off from the game. However, for those willing to look past its turn-offs and work through the frustrations, Elsword can become an extremely fun and engaging MMO that any gamer looking for a good fighting game can enjoy.
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