I heard about Rakion a couple of weeks back, being an appealing combination of Devil May Cry with some loose elements of Soul Edge. So heck, whatever right? I fired up my browser and joined the open beta. Besides, the tagline “Philippines’ first fighting game” was just too in-yar-face! to ignore since being Pinoys and all, we love fighting for no apparent reason. And guess what? It turns out that’s what the game is all about – senseless pwnage! Oooh I like!
After downloading the 200MB installer and patching the damn thing, I immediately went into character creation screen. Okay so there’s the Swordsman, Archer, Blacksmith, Mage and Ninja. The Swordsman was too macho and the Mage was too cute. I had a feeling the Blacksmith would be too overpowered (and I confirmed this later on) and the Archer was the distance wuss. But Ninja – ah, yes the sneaky-sneaky! And, being a big fan of askaninja.com she was the perfect choice!
After about seven rounds of solo deathmatch with about five blacksmiths, one archer and two ninjas, I took note of the leaderboard and saw how my character and the other ninja maintained the honorary rank of nothing. Nada. No kills! How embarassing. Did I really suck that bad? See, this is how battle works: the game’s premise works around a delay system that kicks in after every attack or attack combo is executed. Normal attacks usually have a one second delay while special attacks have a delay of 2 to three seconds after execution rendering your character unable to respond to controls. So no matter how fast your character is, you’ll always be subject to a delay after executing attacks. So, with all things equal, the brittle ninja gets reduced to little ninja snacks against the hardy blacksmith.
The game changed when I rerolled archer. I figured that since I was good with the Amazon in Diablo II, the game would change in my favor. And I was right, 10 games later, I was top rank with more than 50 kills.
The controls are fairly simple to learn and the game’s overall learning curve comes pretty quick in the first ten minutes. WASD to move, Q to change weapons from melee to range, space to jump, Shift to block and C to transform into “Chaos mode” which is pretty much like going into Super Saiyan mode after accumulating a number of kills through time. Swordsman turns into a Sepiroth wannabee, archer turns into a glowing angel (with wings!), and the tiny mage transforms into Walt Disney’s Jaffar with a vengeance.
Turns out that the main push of Rakion isn’t deathmatch. The Golem Wars is the team-oriented mode opf play where two teams battle it out to destroy the opposing team’s golem. There’s no backstory, no explanation as to why it should be that way, but who cares as long as its fun. Each team balances out the strengths and weaknesses with specific strategies given the classes per team. Blacksmiths and swordsmen are your meat shields and first line offense. Archers take care of ranged support, mages do crowd control as well as ranged support and the ninja takes care of hit and run as well as becomes responsible for taking out the opposing team’s golem with her special anti-golem shuriken jutsu.
Getting into a game in Rakion may cause a lot of frustrations. I understand that the game is still on open beta but it’s hella annoying to get kicked out of 9/10 rooms you try to join because of a vague error message. I get an annoying notice that implies “your Internet connection is too fast for everyone else that we just have to boot you out .” I mean WTF right? Which is why I end up being the host most of the time so that everyone has no choice but to keep up with my superb 0 ms lag.
Five hours into Golem Wars and team / solo deathmatch, I’ve found the oveall experience of Rakion to be similar to that of Guild Wars, except that it is more fast paced – a quick fix for your gaming needs if you’re after close combat Quake. The game does have its diminishing returns after a while because pwning noobs over and over again can be rather monotonous. Then come to think of it, what game doesn’t get tiring after a few hours? Oh yeah, World of Warcraft. But of course, Rakion is free. WoW is a premium $15.00 per month.