Mini-mini reviews of four free-to-play Aeria MMORPGs

I don’t do any of these games justice because I’ve only tried them for 15 minutes each, but the theory here is this: If I come back after a 15 minute session, the game can’t be too bad 🙂 Tipa would shrivel and die if she’d read this.

So I went ahead and tried a large chunk of Aeria Games offerings. Aeria takes free-to-play MMORPGs from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. Then they localize them, add a central login system (you use the same username/password for all the games) and an item store. I think the concept is amazing, but the quality varies a lot.

The games I’ve tried in very few words:

  • Twelve Sky 2: the sequel to Twelve Sky, of course. Lots of NPCs with Chinese (Mandarin?) voiceovers, a massive grindfest and bloody combat. Couldn’t detect anything that isn’t cookie-cutter, but if a mix between Diablo and Guild Wars with very bad translations and cut off text floats your boat, this might be your thing. You can cut up mobs like a berzerk here. A grindfest extraordinaire — chop, chop, chop, level, chop, chop, level, scream, chop, chop, level…
  • Dream of Mirror Online (DOMO): they say it’s a “social MMO”. I loved the character creation screen but ran away screaming after the clichéd first quest introduction and taking a few steps in the world, which looks very colorful but feels dead.
  • Luminary Online: Tobold loves him some Luminary Online. I thought the Evil Raccoons you meet are the cutest things ever, bubbles of fur with tails and raccoon heads that bounce around (since they have no legs). It overflows with cuteness, but hidden underneath is a cookie-cutter MMO with a special feature, the 100% player-driven economy. Apparently, it works according to Tobold. It didn’t work for me, I got lost in the layers and layers of stats screens. You even have stats for hunger level, nervous system, respiratory system and other bodily functions.
  • Shin Megami Tensei Online: Imagine (aka MegaTen): my favorite by far. It was co-designed by one of my top shoot ’em up makers from Japan, Cave, so this must be good. I’m totally ignorant of the 20 years of Shin Megami Tensei backstory, but I still got into the groove of this game quickly. You befriend demons in a post-apocalyptic, destroyed version of Tokyo. You do rush combos during battle, and it all feels very fast and energetic. That, and the bassline in all songs rocks, especially the Home III theme. Really, really good. Well translated, too.

Yes, this is all biased. If you’re not me, you won’t get to the same conclusion. So try all of those games, and make sure to give Tobold a shout if you end up playing Luminary more regularly.

Thanks so far, Aeria Games. Even if some of your translations are silly, I appreciate the effort of bringing those games over here.

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