Free-to-play games tend to get the short end of the stick. You’ll almost never see one featured on the cover of a magazine, they rarely receive proper reviews, and preview coverage is sparse, at best. That’s why we wanted to make sure to highlight Nexon’s Vindictus, one of the most overlooked games on show at E3 2010.
Above: Vindictus looks great for a free title
At first glance, Vindictus seems like a fairly straightforward action/MMO. You’ll move with the WASD keys, direct the third-person camera with the mouse, and use a combination of mouse-clicks and hotkeys to string together combos. Of course, there’s loot to be found, XP to be earned, and big bosses to take down with other players.
Above: Your armor takes damage and will eventually disintegrate. Because it’s possible that you might have to finish a fight your skivvies, you’ll need to customize your character’s underwear, too
But despite its familiar fantasy/action trappings, Vindictus caught our eye because it plays so damn smoothly. Rolling to dodge incoming strikes felt good. Blocking attacks felt better. And thinning hordes of angry mobs with tasty combinations of sword swings and thrusts felt great.
The game also looks incredible, especially for a free-to-play title. Vindictus uses a modified version of Valve’s Source engine, and it shows once you start experimenting with the game’s environments. Just about anything on the ground can be smashed, picked up off the ground, or thrown. In one area we came across a bunch of melons. We don’t know why the melons were there – and frankly, we don’t care. But it was awesome to pick it up and hurl it in the face of an angry gnoll charging towards us.
Above: When you launch a spear, there’s a nice subtle camera effect that zooms in on the spear in your hand just before you release it
Our brief demo ended with us facing a rather burly boss fight with a Gnoll Chieftain. We managed to grind down his health bar easily with the four players in our party. But we have to admit that the boss’ difficulty was scaled down and that we were adventuring with overpowered characters. But even though it may be tough to judge the game’s difficulty based on our quick hands-on time with the game, it’s clear that all the pieces are all falling into place for a silky smooth dungeon crawling experience. In the meantime, check out the latest CG trailer and keep an eye out for more updates on Vindictus on Vindictus as its fall launch date draws nearer.