Lost Ark Review – Dungeons and Demons

Lost Ark Review – Dungeons and Demons

Smilegate and Tripod Studio’s newly localized Action/RPG Lost Ark was first launched in South Korea several years ago, and thanks to Western publisher Amazon Games, English territories are now getting their hands on it. Although Lost Ark looks and plays like Diablo or Path of Exile, it’s an MMO through and through, with engaging group content such as dungeons, raids and world bosses within a huge, explorable world. My time with Lost Ark has had some ups and downs, but the more I stuck with it, the more I wanted to spend time in his world.

Lost Ark’s open hours are sometimes boring but necessary, and form the basis for what is to come. After creating my character, I was whisked away to search for a mythical artifact known as an ark, which sits at the center of a rather milquetoast fantasy story. Much of the leveling experience follows a military campaign to help a prince reclaim his land and claim his rightful crown as king while battling ruthless demonic forces. Despite much of the plot not holding my attention, it has some great moments. Important characters, such as the conflicting half-demon priest Arden and the magnanimous Prince Thirain, have compelling arcs that occasionally lifted me out of my boredom.

The world eventually opens up, allowing you to travel for free by ship to other continents that deal with far more diverse and interesting aesthetics and themes. The Critical Path took me to places like an island with a Honey I Shrunk the Kids-esque adventure with diminutive Mokokos where I was smaller than a ladybug, a martial arts tournament set in a Japanese-inspired country, and a high-tech continent full of futuristic robotics and mechs. Once I sailed to these unknown lands, the world of Lost Ark lost any sense of a cohesive identity, but after opening hours I was ready for a drastic change of scenery, and the variety presented brings a lot of life to the experience. Because of this, I find myself adoring the diverse late game content much more than I care why some countries live with cyberpunk body mods while others live in the dark ages. I constantly look forward to the surprises that await on islands I have not yet visited.

As an isometric game, the world of Lost Ark lacks some of the environmental splendor of other MMOs, though it shines at set moments when we get a new perspective on the world. The most spectacular points in the story or dungeons are spiced up and highlighted with camera images that convey a greater sense of the surrounding world and environments. The world becomes a much more interesting place when cutscenes pan and rotate the camera to show off the ruins I’m exploring or the hundreds of devils storming a disputed castle. These moments make it feel like there’s a lot more to Arkesia – that this is an elaborate world to live in and not just a mostly flat dungeon landscape.

I’m amazed at the level of customization available to each of Lost Ark’s 15 classes, thanks to the Tripod system. This gives each of your class skills three levels of benefits to choose from that can greatly modify those skills. Some perks modify minor aspects of a skill, such as attack speed or resource consumption; others apply elemental bonuses and can fundamentally change larger attributes of the attack or spell. With my Soulfist character, I’ve set my skill bar to focus on catching enemies near me in stunning AOE attacks and finishing them off with massive meteoric palm attacks or destroying them with machine gun energy blasts. Skill points and the Tripod perks can be changed at any time at no cost, leaving me with hours of fun experimenting with cool combos that made hordes of demons explode into a satisfying gory mess.

Much of the game’s content can be completed alone, including dungeons, which I appreciate as a mostly solo MMO player. Still, it’s much more fun to dive into a dungeon with a group of other adventurers. Players can form guilds and group with friends on a particular server, but unfortunately leveling up with friends can be tedious. If you’re playing with a group, you’ll often be forced to break up when moved to a story instance, forcing the team to re-invite and regroup when the infringing story content ends. Letting other players roam the world makes Arkesia feel much more alive and dynamic, especially when I encountered and joined a disparate group of players who joined forces to take on a goliath-missile-loaded walking tank or a brutal boss in the middle of nowhere in the desert. The map is full of these kinds of encounters and they are a joy to find every time.

Lost Ark has no shortage of activities to complete and items to collect, many of which I was eager to find. World bosses, dungeons, raids, PvP, naval exploration, searching for the 1000+ Mokoko seeds, collecting cards, crafting items, crafting materials, befriending NPCs and much more can fill hours and hours. Just about each of these tasks has a set of rewards that make doing almost anything worthwhile. There’s even an entire island stronghold to build out and customize that feels like a whole game unto itself. I feel like I’ve barely surfaced with my collection of items, which thankfully in many cases transfers the progress to the other characters I’ve created on the server. Although all regional achievements tracked in the Adventurer’s Tome must be completed for each character.

Amazon Game’s second run in the MMO market is very impressive. The years of content already created for Lost Ark provides an enticing package packed with fun activities and exciting locals to explore. Each class is wonderfully unique and the customization systems allow for an abundance of freedom to adapt to a variety of play styles. I’ve had a great time with Lost Ark in these early days, and I hope to spend many more hours with friends in the coming weeks and months. Those looking to scratch an action/RPG itch or spend time in an MMO won’t go wrong by giving this adventure a fair shot.

Burak Bilginer
Burak Bilginer bir bilgisayar dahisidir. Seyahat etmeyi sever ve birçok farklı ülkeye gitti. Burak, seyahat etmediği veya programlama yapmadığı zamanlarda Oyun ve Teknoloji Ürünlerinin yeni parçalarını incelemeyi sever. Oyunla ilgili herhangi bir sorunuz varsa, Burak cevaplamaktan mutluluk duyacaktır!