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Game Reviews

Fiesta Online Review

If you've played enough fantasy MMORPGs, you'll probably know the drill now. After downloading the 700MB install file, I had to wait perhaps about an hour before the game got patched further... So make sure you download the right version for your region or you won't be able to login to play and have to re-download again.

In the Korean Fiesta Online, you start the game by creating your character choosing one of the usual melee or long distance classes - Cleric, Archer, Mage or Fighter. Unfortunately there aren't many customisation options. The best you can do is change your character's hairstyle and colour which means when you go partying, you might end up with twins and triplets.

Once you're done, you're in the starting town of Roumen and are given some short tutorial quests.

At the time of writing with v1.02 of the game, there's only one English server "Bijou" and although the population's "low" there's still quite a number of players running around. You can collect quests by talking to NPCs which are tracked as with most games in a log and they are your usual kill so many of this or collect this etc. Equipment is divided into the usual categories; head, body, arms, accessories etc. And there is also some crafting available.

Just like Perfect World, there isn't much free content to play with and you must pay to get better, more unique looking items. However, at least the drop rates for rare items aren't as frustrating as in commercial titles such as WoW and FFXI.


Translations are still on the rough side because you can see many odd punctuation and accents about. Some quests are still in German which is the first version of the game to be localised for Europe before English.

On the social side of things, you also have your usual guild establishing, talking to players through channels and a friends list. It's good to see you can talk to the entire game community without having to pay real money like in Perfect World.

I didn't have a problem finding another newbie player to party with and start level grinding. In Perfect World, there were plenty of rude and cheeky players but you can't really expect manners from free games that anyone can play. In this case, it didn't take long before two players ran up to my character, laughed and called me a "noob" the moment it appeared but what's new. At least they didn't steal kills.


However, the funny thing I found was that while in most other MMORPGs they don't show the enemies' level, they do in this game so you generally have a clear idea whether you can win or not. Once again, if you die you lose experience but you won't be given a chance to resurrect on the spot and is forced to return to the nearest town. Or you can run and rest up in a funny little house before that happens...

The other curious thing is that moving between areas on the world isn't seamless. In other words, you can't just walk around or jump on your mount and enjoy the scenery while you journey to another town. Instead, you find gates scattered around areas and you have to go in them then wait for the areas to load. Even though the loading times only last a few seconds, the loading screens still disrupt the gameplay experience whereas other titles load transparently. There's also lots of invisible barriers at odd places such as the small patches of grass that you can't run across to take a shortcut to a long winding path.


The trade-off for this free game is pretty apparent in the interface too which isn't very well streamlined either. Instead of clicking and dragging items to sell like in most MMORPGs, you either right-click on items to sell them in quantities of one or, you hold shift and right-click to sell. A bit too many steps and this is the same with friends list. Instead of the common way of right-clicking another player's character portrait and selecting add, you have to load up the community window and enter their name. Very cumbersome.

When equipping items, you also have to know exactly where they go whereas in other MMORPGs (including the free Perfect World), the slot they go in is automatically highlighted and done for you when you drag and drop. This is also true when trying to assign your skills and spells to hotkeys. Here it only works when right-clicking.

That said, the game does have its own unique features. One is that there are scheduled "kingdom quests" that you can sign up for and when it's time, you and the other participants are teleported to a dungeon ready to play so if you ever have problems partying with people, you can find members here. It's a pretty popular way of levelling than the quests. It's not very exciting mind you because you spend your time clearing the area of monsters before making your way onto the next level of the map instead of fighting challenging bosses while coordinating with other players to control waves of smaller monsters charging at you.

Presentation

I think this is the only area where this free MMORPG lacks. Music fails to loop seamlessly so often you will hear moments of silence. When you do hear it, it sounds like your typical fantasy Anime style RPG. Nothing impressive. The score doesn't change to something with more impact like bigger titles do and keeps a serene melody even when in battle. Other than that, sound effects are generally good.

Even though the graphics are supposed to follow the cute and colourful Anime art from Japan, textures and models look a bit overly plain. You also can't run the game at any resolution higher than 1280 x 768 which is another reason why the game doesn't look all that impressive on today's big monitors. On the other hand, the 2D NPC portraits look fairly well rendered.

Environment and model wise, I think another free online RPG like Perfect World has more variation.

Summary

If you'd like to play a free fantasy MMORPG with most of the gameplay features of the bigger commercial titles such as WoW and FFXI, you can try Fiesta Online but obviously it will be lacking in the amount of content that allows players to make themselves stand out. Fans of Anime and Japanese games should feel right at home with its cute, vivid colours but they will not be the sharpest and best to look at. If you want a better looking free online game, I would suggest Perfect World instead although both games have about the same amount of free content. Fiesta Online isn't very well streamlined with everything feeling badly put together.

Time Played 12 hours

Good

  • Free to play.
  • Most of the gameplay features of commercial fantasy MMORPGs.
  • Recover health and mana quickly.
  • Classes such as archers don't have to worry about ammo.
  • No need to spend time earning money.

Bad

  • First start up takes a very long time.
  • Cumbersome interface.
  • Low resolution, plain looking textures.
  • Not a seamless game world.
  • Badly looped music.
  • Little customisation.

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