Sword of the New World: Initial Impressions

Sword of the New World is another translated-from-Korean game, now released in the West. You can download the client, and play the initial levels (1-20, out of 100) for free, after which it costs $8.95 a month - or you can stay at level 20. To summarise: the gameplay is very different, but interesting, and the game is astoundingly pretty.

The prettiness really is the thing that strikes you first; the character generation screens are stunning. However, you're immediately also struck by some of the differences from the run of the mill MMOPRG. First and foremost, you create a family name before you do anything else, and all your characters will have this as a surname. Then, your character creation isn't so much creation as choice - you pick a gender, class and a costume, and create a name. There's no facial customising, no stat juggling, or anything else, and the characters looks and clothing do not change in play (at least, as far as I've been able to establish).

This limitation does allow them to really work on the looks, though. The game is set in a sort of pseudo-Victorian-without-the-taboos milieu, in the midst of the colonisation of a new continent. The costuming is absolutely stunning - at the time when I was setting up the game to try it out, there were a few people in the house, and everyone who saw the screen actually exclaimed. Between male and female, five classes, and about fifteen outfits per class, you've a choice of 150 characters. Some of the female outfits look a little on the kinky side, and one or two are things you'd consider getting a paper bag for if they were on the cover of magazines. This doesn't show up quite so much in play as it does on the character selection screens.

The in-game graphics are every bit as pretty; real care has been taken with the looks of the initial city, and all the landscaping I've seen knocks every other MMO I've ever encountered into a cocked hat.

Anyway, once you've created your first character, you go into the game, and through a short tutorial, leading to the creation of two more characters in your family, and the mechanics of how to select a team. In most of Sword of the New World, you'll actually be controlling three characters at once. The thinking and the controls are very reminiscent of RTS games - orders can be given to the group as well as to the individual characters, and there are even two special modes of movement called "assault" and "harvest". Movement, since you're moving a number of characters, is click-to-move.

Combat, once you get out of the starting city, just happens. Your team will attack any mobs that come in range, as long as they're not actively moving somewhere. It's perfectly possible to get the first few levels by leaving the team standing in an area where mobs spawn. Again, this is very much RTS style.

More characters, including some specialised "henchman" types can be added as you go along - while your team is limited to three, there can be as many as thirty-six in your family.

More details will follow as I explore the game, and if I can get screenshots, I will - it's so very pretty it needs to be seen. If you want to try it, you can register and get the game client here: Sword of the New World.

Posted by Drew Shiel at July 18, 2007 12:38 PM

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