Aura Kingdom Online Review

aura-kingdom-review

X-Legend‘s (creator of Grand FantasiaEden Eternal) newest anime-themed MMO game, Aura Kingdom, finally hits the global gaming community this season. Originally known as “Fantasy Frontier Online” in Taiwan, Aura Kingdom is published by Aeria Games, and is the only available English server as of writing.

The game boasts of eye-catching anime-styled graphics, simple yet challenging gameplay, and jam-packed events that will keep players busy even after reaching level cap. We have spent a few days exploring AK during the start of Open Beta, and here’s what we think of it so far! For this article, 40 is considered a significant number, since you’ll be able to enjoy most of the game’s features at level 40.

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Classes
At the moment, there’s a total of six playable classes in Aura Kingdom: RavagerGuardianDuelistGunslingerBardWizard and Sorcerer (Katar and Bow-based classes are said to be coming out in future patches). You can choose one of the available classes when you create your character, but you can choose any (yup, ANY) second class once you reach level 40. Having a dual class system, however, is no longer a new feature, as we have also seen this in previous games (heck, even Eden Eternal has this). Despite it being generic, the familiarity on what each of the classes specialize makes it easier for a typical gamer to choose what role he wants to play in the game.

Character Art/Design
I’m a complete sucker when it comes to anime-styled character designs, and this is one of the main reasons I tried AK. Character customization is not as flexible as other games (like Phantasy Star Online 2, for instance), but it has a decent range of hair styles, hair and eye colors, faces, and costumes. There’s still a part of me hoping the game will later on have more advanced customization features (additional skin tones, body height and width, tattoos, and more) in the future, but for a game in Open Beta and nearing commercial launch, they pretty much got what is needed.

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Graphics
Aura Kingdom surely had that trademark X-Legend feel to it, as almost everything was reminiscent from Eden Eternal. Some gamers even used to coin the game as Eden Eternal 2 at one point. There’s a lot of color bursts and sparkles in every skill execution, but it doesn’t take much stress on one’s computer (on mid to high-range rigs), though I’m personally fine with less effects. Special Eidolon skills (more on this below) probably is one of the most eye-catching parts of the game, since it’s a joint/synchronized attack between you and an Eidolon. AK can run even with an onboard graphics card. I wasn’t using my video card when I tried the game (driver issues, that’s another story), and it could run a bit choppy, but playable, nonetheless.

Soundtrack
If I were to choose one soundtrack from the game that got stuck in my head for some time, it would be the opening theme (was it because of spending too much time creating my character?), and the song really gave that fantasy-medieval feel. Another striking favorite among players is the theme for Port Skandia (it gives an enthusiastic vibe for new beginnings and adventures) and Alabastren Temple (I find the increasing tempo great for dungeon exploration). There’s definitely better themes from other games, but the ones in Aura Kingdom aren’t unsatisfactory. You can listen to other Aura Kingdom soundtracks here.

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Quests
This would be great news for those quest-oriented players– you’ll never run out of quests until higher levels! There’s the usual story questside quests (when you complete them, you’ll get and even titles), and daily quests (includes bulletin requests and Dimensional Hall quests). Going from one quest destination to another isn’t a hassle either, with their auto-navigate system. It’s quite neat, but I got tired of it after a while (questing from level 1 to 40-ish with mostly walking ugh). Although, there were a few special quests that lets you play as an NPC and do unique tasks like sneaking in an enemy base, piloting a robot, or reliving someone’s memory. If you’re more of a dungeon crawler, you might not like the fact that the game only lets you inside most dungeons 3x at most per tier (it resets after a few hours, or a day, I think).

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Unique Features

Eidolons – One of the key features of Aura Kingdom is the ability of players (or Envoys) to summon Eidolons – spirits that are summoned from the Cube of Gaia. There is a number of available Eidolons in the game, but you can choose one from the four listed upon character creation (Serif, Merilee, Grimm and Alessa). They have their individual stats, which can help a player with tanking, dishing out damage, healing or supporting. You can level them up and improve their stats by feeding them crystals. You can also evolve them once they level 40, though you’ll be needing a couple of items to make it happen.

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Envoy Path – You can develop your character’s stats passively and learn special skills through the use of the Envoy’s path. It is similar to a skill diagram where in you’ll need to invest on some points on beginner skills then work your way further to unlock more advanced skills (think of the skill progression in the recent Final Fantasy games). A character’s strength and build will also depend on which skills in the Envoy Path were chosen.

Enhancing Gear – There’s three ways of doing this.

  1. First is through fortification through the use of enhancement scrolls and Gaia Fragments. What’s unique about this feature is that there’s a chance for fortification to fail at any level, but breaking or resetting its stats is not a part of its consequence. Instead, it gains potential points (kinda like exp). If you keep failing, there’s still a chance for it to gain an additional level after accumulating a certain number of points.
  2. The second way of enhancing is by inlaying Secret Stones. You can get these from a Secret Stone Merchant (duh) or from certain mobs and dungeons across the game. This is considered the only way to level up your active skills. You can upgrade your Secret Stones, attach them to a compatible equipment, and remove them without worrying about paying.
  3. At level 40, you can also gain access to refining/crafting equipment (what the heck is with these upgrade terms?!) through recipes. As most games, it requires you to gather the needed materials and talking to a Blacksmith to create new and stronger equipment. You can also craft equipment for your Eidolons through this feature.

PvP – You can duel against players in towns and other maps, but there is also an arena feature that gets unlocked at level 40. I haven’t gotten a good chance to test this out, but you can view a gameplay of the PvP arena match here.

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Events
They have GM-run daily events! There are events where you can invite a GM to your party, loot treasure chests, chase after a GM or look for him in random places, answer trivia questions, and even watch them on stream. Having an active GM in-game seems to be the current trend nowadays, and that isn’t a bad thing. Hopefully they can keep this going for a long time, and not splurge on players with prizes at the same time. I know a game that did it too often, it came to a point when players don’t even feel events are that special anymore.

Overall
In summary, I would consider Aura Kingdom as a complete game (in a sense that it has all the essentials a casual gamer needs, despite being in open beta). The character progression is faster than others (I know a hardcore player can reach level 50, which was the cap during CBT, in less than two days), but it’s something to keep players busy for a while. One of my concerns, though, is whether AK will have enough end-game content as soon as most of the community has reached the cap. Not all players are PvP-oriented, so relying on Arena wouldn’t be a good idea. I haven’t reached level cap yet, so I can only say this much. But so far, everyone still have their hands full in getting better gear, leveling their Eidolons and figuring out which character builds will suit their style best. After all those are settled, I do hope the game will unlock more exciting features by then.

That’s all for this short (well, not really) Aura Kingdom review.

GAME SCORE: 3/5

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You can learn more about the game through their community channels:

Official Website: http://aurakingdom.aeriagames.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuraKingdom
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/AeriaGames

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