Once again I have been tasked with taking a look at an upcoming or newly released MMO, this time one called Lucent Heart. The game has been brought to us by Gamania, the same company responsible for the adorable Hero 108. Each time I am asked to play one of these games and to report to you lovely readers what I found, I am a little frightened that the game will simply suck.

Yes, I know, "suck" is not a very good descriptive term, and it does not quite detail exactly what I disliked about something, but if a game is just not meant for me, it can be hard to describe why. No, I did not just spoil my entire article for you by telling you how I felt about the game in one word (you should always read to the end anyway). I've described to you how scared I am of finding a game that does, indeed, suck.

Lucent Heart does not suck. In fact, I was relieved to find a game that, like Iris Online, seems to offer the same overall wonderful experience that so many of these Anime-style, not-from-our-shores games seem to avoid. Of course, Lucent Heart has plenty of issues, so let me tell you about those as well.

Click past the cut, will ya?

First of all I want to indicate that like the previously mentioned Iris Online, Lucent Heart is hard to describe accurately. I could just write that it looks and basically feels like any number of Anime, free-to-play games, complete with an annoying cash shop that only offers time-limited items, and you readers would probably nod your heads and go on with your lives. But Lucent Heart offers something a bit special, like Iris did for me, that is hard to describe.

I think the art and character animations must be the things that do it for me. We will get to the systems in a minute, but if a game just flows well and the characters are smooth and fun to watch, then that can be the difference between a generic game with just OK systems and a really nice game with just OK systems. Throw in the fact that the world is huge and explorable and Lucent Heart starts to stack up to many of the best.

I was granted a pre-leveled ranged character to take around the block. I almost always ask for a pre-leveled character simply because it is hard to give an accurate preview of a game without really seeing any of the higher-level areas, monsters or abilities. The most important thing to me was how he looked. After fiddling around with some cash-shop items, I think I looked pretty cool... sort of like one of the Ramones' nerdy younger brothers. With a gun, of course.

My character did a lot with that gun, however -- shooting things and blowing things up. Heck, he even charged at monsters with a bayonet ability. It's all quite deadly, but I did become very frustrated when the only quest I could find was one that sent me into a high-level area filled with monsters that killed me in seconds. Yes, they were my same level, 45, but the real frustration came from the fact that I had no idea where I was when I first logged into the game and auto-walked for nearly 15 minutes to the questing area only to be killed and sent back to town. I did this three times before I decided it was time to make a new character and to experience the lower levels.

I actually loved how my brand-new, sword-carrying character played, probably moreso than my higher-level ranged character. While I loved the fact that the developers asked for my birthday in order to customize my pre-rolled character (the zodiac plays a part in gameplay, adding abilities and traits), it was fun to melee a bit. For some reason I kept thinking about how my character ran and how Lord of the Rings Online's Hobbits should run like he does. Go figure.

There is a cool match-making system in the game, as well, if you are into such things. I literally received about four offers to make a match with someone, but honestly I just put it off until the end. In fact, I didn't want to do it. It was too much pressure. I did see announcement after announcement in the chat about players receiving their "first kisses" and getting married, all of which sort of creeped me out. I know, I know, Anime fans love that stuff, but I can hardly maintain a presence in a guild, so how in the world could I be a reliable virtual partner? I neglected to find out whether same-sex couples are permitted... here's hoping so. The match-making system allows players to receive unique items and other benefits, but I think we all know its real allure: drama. Anime-lovers love their drama. They can hardly stand to type out a sentence without emphasizing it with some sort of >.< or :3 -- although I have no idea what those mean.

So really, I could not list too many things that would make you, fair reader, say, "Wow, that game is completely different and wonderful!" MMOs in general, free-to-play or not, have become sort of a massive blob of recycled style, but the differences are there. I have to remember that not every player or reader will have played as many games as I have, so a game like Lucent Heart might provide them with everything they need.

The game just feels good, though. It runs well and looks great. I love the animations, and the NPCs in town are well-designed. This style of game has come so far in so many ways, but there are so many of them that it is easy to say that they all look alike. Lucent Heart does stand out, though, and will probably be very popular. Yes, I know that a lot of the readers of Massively seem wonderfully ignorant of any game that does not start with "Star" or "Guild," but you would be hard-pressed to find games that are as populated and constantly busy as free-to-play, Anime-style games. It's very nice to log into a game like Lucent Heart to see so many players, many of them actually sitting around and socializing like we did 10 years ago in MMOs. Remember socializing? It's that stuff you do when you're not consumed by crit chances.

Pros:
  • It's a beautiful game!
  • It has great character models; they're nicely detailed.
  • Cash-shop items are cool, not "powerful."
  • There are a ton of players.
  • I saw lots and lots of quests to do.
  • It features unique systems like the match-making tool.
Cons:
  • The character models look a little young.
  • Cash-shop items are time-limited.
  • Its playerbase is fond of >.< and other symbols.
  • The quests are fun but a bit generic.
  • The match-making system might creep people out.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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