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Ever played Ragnarok Online? No? It’s an (almost) decade-old MMORPG from Korea and is worth the seven-day free trial just so you can marvel at the peerless sprite work on display. With its sunny locales and unbearably sweet character art, if there’s one thing this particular PC game can’t be accused of is lacking charm.
Strange, then, that if there’s one thing that Ragnarok DS can be accused of it’s being utterly charmless. After the initial ‘ooh, look how nice and big the sprites are!’ has worn off you’ll realise that Ragnarok DS is a charisma vacuum, and the only thing it really shares with its beautiful PC namesake is that it’s a thankless, repetitive grind.
Okay, the original game wasn’t without its problems either – namely that Korean MMORPG fans do so love to grind, and boy does Ragnarok deliver. At least on PC, though, you have the joy of grinding with hundreds of ‘friends’, and the lure of endless customisation options and lovely new attack animations.
What we’re left with on DS is a withered husk of a game. A shame, given that the bare-bones mechanics are slick and intuitive. Tap where you want to move to, tap the target you want to attack, tap the member of your party you want to instruct, tap and draw the required input to execute the game’s more powerful attacks. It’s a nice and sensible approach to control but, unfortunately, what you’re actually doing is woefully uninteresting.
Fetch quests (some of which involve substantial grinding) prove tiresome in the extreme. Sure, the worst offenders are the optional side-quests, but the main story missions are bogged down in tedious dialogue that reads like barely competent fan fiction as it bumbles along trying, in vain, to inject a little drama into proceedings. Couple this with bland, featureless dungeons and characters you couldn’t care less about and, well, you can guess where this is going…
The DS is over-burdened with excellent RPGs (particularly for importers) which means there isn’t a single reason you should even consider this one. And if you’re really that Ragnarok-curious, like we said, knock yourself out by downloading it for free on your PC.
Mar 19, 2010