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Zenonia 2 review

If you’ve played any free-to-play MMOs – and it’s okay if you have, we've all been broke and not all of them are awful – you’re probably pretty familiar with some of the standard elements of iPhone RPG Zenonia 2. Basically this game is a lot like one of those MMOs. Except there are no other people.

And like most MMOs, it starts off small before sending you on an epic adventure to slay the mega bad guy. First, you need to prove yourself doing busy work, like killing ten Mukakas (bizarre, teddy bear-ish animals) and bring the cooking salts to the baker.

This slow start isn’t exactly enthralling to most non-MMO gamers, but the key to enjoying Zenonia 2 isn't so much about getting wrapped up in the game's story or getting emotionally involved with the main characters. It's about appreciating the bat-shit-crazy amount of content you get for five measly freakin' dollars.

This is about value. Zenonia 2 offers dozens of hours of gameplay for an obscenely low price. And if you take into consideration that you can play it all again later with a one of the three other characters – all of which change combat significantly and have a unique origin story – that hour count balloons even higher.

Aside from the semi-obnoxious fetch questing at the beginning of the game, Zenonia 2 is a lot like having an epic, gorgeous 16-bit RPG in your pocket. The controls are implemented very well, and there's even a Diablo-esque leveling system whereby you place points into stat areas like Power and Constitution while also putting upgrade points towards learning new skills and spells. This, combined with the loot/equipment system pretty much ensures you'll be addicted to this game for weeks.

It's no slouch in the visuals department, either. We say it's like a 16-bit RPG, but that's only half true. In truth, Zenonia 2 looks quite a bit better than most 16-bit games could have hoped. It's beautiful, colorful, and unmistakably Korean. The color palette is full of bright, attractive colors and the monsters are interesting... in a creepy fluffy sort of way.

The real question is how you want to use your iPhone to play games. Are you the kind of person who logs five minutes on Orbital during your morning bus ride? Or are you more interested in a hard core long-term RPG? If you're in the former category, you won'thave a great experience. It's too long. It'll take months for you to get anything done. But if you're in the latter category and want to obsess over your character's stats and gear then Zenonia 2 is pretty much perfect for you.

The price is right. The gameplay is mostly a refined version of the already fantastic Zenonia formula, and there's a boatload of content. If the next Zenonia can manage to cut out the boring few hours that open the game, this can become the marquee RPG series on the iPhone – and a worthwhile adventure on any platform.

Apr 19, 2010