Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dragon Knight 4 [PNJ Inc.] - $2.99

Aside from Zelda, I was never really exposed to Action RPGs as a child. Luckily, these types of games have been flourishing on the iOS, and now-a-days we‘re able to pick from a vast array of Action RPGs in the AppStore. The newest one to hit my device? Dragon Knight 4, from PNJ. Now, I know I’ve said this before, but ever since CrimsonHeart set the standards exceptionally high for future Action RPGs on the platform, it’s been hard for me to really get into another title, but with PNJ having released quite a few nice titles in the past, I was pretty excited to dive into Dragon Knight, and so far, I’m pretty impressed with the amount of depth.

Dragon Knight 4 tells the tale of Rena, the king’s daughter, and her quest to save her family, and the land she’s never been exposed to, Eldoran. King Gestas, ruler of the nearby Keron, decided his people had lived in the shadow of Eldoran long enough, and deserved to rule over the land of Gaia where the two kingdoms were located. King Gestas couldn’t get the support of his troops or council, but came across Ide, a very powerful being, who promised King Gestas immense power and leadership over the land of Gaia. Now, the Demons and Angels from the Underworld will need to decide who to side with, and help their respective sides win the oncoming war of the land. Dragon Knight has a fairly heavy story driven adventure, with all of this happening before you even meet Rena, it expands, twists, turns and reveals itself more and more as you progress throughout the game. 
Unfortunately, the English translation isn’t all that it could be. Like most RPGs on the iOS, Dragon Knight’s story can be kind of hard to follow sometimes, and all because of grammatical errors, words that are cut to fit the screen and other translation related errors in the text. But if you’re willing to read, and re-read the dialogue, which Dragon Knight lets you do, not progressing in dialogue until you tap the screen, you should be able to have a pretty good grasp of what’s going on. If you’d rather skip the story, there is a ’Fast’ button that will hurry through all of the story segments so you can get straight to the action.

Starting the game, you’re able to choose between 4 different classes for Rena, each having different starting stats depending on what their strengths are; Black Magician, which uses the power of darkness and has high intelligence, Sword Master, which lets you wield a huge sword and start with extra strength, Sorceress, using elemental magic and starting with high intelligence and lastly, Black Smith, who wields a large hammer and is given high strength. Dexterity and Vitality are also included, and dependant on what class you choose to play with, but there’s not much difference between the classes. 
One thing that immediately grabbed me once finally getting into the gameplay was that Dragon Knight has a nice amount of depth in almost every aspect. You’re able to collect crafting papers that let you know what materials you’ll need to create equipment, and then let you craft anywhere in the world so long as you’re not fighting a boss. To help you gain the materials needed, you’re also able to disassemble equipment in our inventory that you do not need. This will give you random materials that you can use in order to craft other items, or just sell in shops for more currency. 

At first, the enemies in the game are very easy to destroy. But even if you spend time grinding and leveling up, some of the stronger enemies that are mixed in with the week ones can give you a run for your money, and you could very easily wind up dead if you’re not paying attention. Like CrimsonHeart, you’ll need to figure out how these stronger enemies attack, and exploit their weaknesses, as running straight into them, hacking and slashing away will result in a massive loss of HP. 
Along with the crafting and disassembling of items, you’re also able to equip Spirits. These are shown as wings attached to the back of your character, and help boost stats, and give perks like upping your chance to find a rare item. The spirits will also gain experience, and level up, making them stronger and add even more perks to your character. The spells you’re able to choose are all split up and different from class to class, and set up in a tree, making you level up certain spells before unlocking more. There are also passive skills that increase your stats, helping to add to the attacks, defense and magic of each character. 

The controls in Dragon Knight are typical of Action RPGs, with a movement joystick, attack button, a section for quick select potions and spells and your menu buttons, like a quick save, quest icon, pause, and shop. The movement in Dragon Knight is great, allowing for 360 degree moves, which, after you experience it, and go back to 4 or 8 directional movement games, it’s very noticeable, and does add an extra level of smoothness to the gameplay. Dragon Knight’s shop consists of special items like revive berries, quality eggs for spirits, extra bags, treasure chests and more, all of which are only purchasable with coins, which are only available via IAP. 

The graphics are also typical of other Action RPGs; vibrant, and influenced by eastern animation. All of the women are incredibly busty and wear pretty skimpy armor with most of the men look like body builders, or covered from head to toe in evil looking armor. The special moves are bright and flashy, and the main attack animations are smooth, though there’s only one or two movements that each character will make while attacking. The equipment that your character wears will be shown in-game, which is always nice, and there’s loads of different types of enemies, all looking fairly polished. The boss designs are great, and they almost always look pretty badass. There are also quite a few different environments, helping the game not look too repetitive while button mashing your way throughout the game, which also helps. Bottom line? There’s nothing graphically that really sets Dragon Knight apart from other highly polished titles, but the graphics aren’t dull, and make the game fit in nicely with those other polished titles.

There really are only a couple of bad things that I can say about Dragon Knight 4. First, every time you start up the game, you MUST be connected to the internet, or else the game will not be verified, and you won’t be able to play. This is a big no-no, especially on mobile devices. Having the game verify your purchase the first time you play is just fine, but making the game do it every time you boot it up can be very frustrating if you don’t constantly have access to the net. Second, the game only has an iPhone/iPod build. There is no Universal or HD version, so you’ll be forced to play in 2X mode on your iPad. 
Aside from that, Dragon Knight 4 is a great story driven Action RPG that fans of the genre should enjoy. It’s fairly depthy equip, crafting, leveling up and spirit systems definitely make it a game that can suck you in, and keep you constantly looking for better items and more loot. Right now, Dragon Knight is on sale for $2.99. I’m not sure what the price will go up to once it’s launch sale it over, but considering the constant verification and lack of an HD or Universal build, it might seem slightly over-priced. However, it is pretty hard to find an Action RPG that’s as story driven as Dragon Knight, or that’s as mechanically deep, so if you’re willing to shell out a couple dollars more than you initially think you should, you’ll definitely be rewarded nicely. 


Post a Comment