Sword of the New World unsheathed

Not what you expect to hear, but Sword of the New World is a little different. Just a glance atthese new screenswe've got hold of should convince you of that - the game's goregously ornate style is a result of its Japanese designer falling head over heels for ye olde European architecture, and using his passion to create what looks to us like Final Fantasy XII set in the Regency period. What could be better?

After seeing the game in action, we have to report that the fancy of our MMO glands have definitely been tickled. Whilewe already knewabout being able to control three characters at once - from an eventual 'family' of 32 uniquely customized adventurers - we hadn't grasped the full implications.

Do you want to directly control all three? Leave two to fend for themselves automatically while you sally forth on a solo slashfest? Or sit further back and direct your trio of explorers in a more RTS-lite manner? It's all possible.

Sword of the New World's appealing mix of gameplay styles, from Diablo's click-happy violence to Final Fantasy 's crevasse-deep role playing, is impressive, and ought to help it stand out among the photofit MMOs already plaguing the web. Although, of course, beautifully detailed and distinctive locations and characters already lift it above most of the competition.

Those who opt for freebie play will top out at level 20 (of a possible 100), and can't trade, but it should provide more than enough time for players to become enamored of Sword of the New World's eye-catching look. Of course, the fate of any MMO hangs on the quality of its users, but we have high hopes for Sword of the New World 's distinctive adventure.

Sword of the New World will launch toward the end of June this year. Subscriptions for paying gamers will be set at $8.95 a month.

May 3, 2007

Ben Richardson is a former Staff Writer for Official PlayStation 2 magazine and a former Content Editor of GamesRadar+. In the years since Ben left GR, he has worked as a columnist, communications officer, charity coach, and podcast host – but we still look back to his news stories from time to time, they are a window into a different era of video games.