Dungeon Fighter Online Preview

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Dungeon Fighter Online Publisher: Nexon America
Developer: Nexon and Neople

Platform: PC
Official Site: nexon.net

Dungeon Fighter Online is popular in other territories, having launched in August of 2005 in South Korea. According to publisher Nexon, the game already has around 10 million users. Fortunately, you'll be able to experience the game yourself shortly – much less time than it would take you to learn Chinese or Korean and ask the game's many current players about Dungeon Fighter Online.

Projected Release: Very Soon
Kyle Ackerman

I had a chance to play the game in Nexon's Los Angeles office, so let me fill you in just a bit before Nexon launches the open beta for the game and lets you try it out yourself. In a nutshell, Dungeon Fighter Online feels like a cross between Golden Axe and Diablo. It's a side-scrolling brawler (with just a little bit of vertical depth), that adds a few special skills and inventory items to the standard attack button. It feels like the sort of thing I might have pumped quarters into 20 years ago, and that is more at home with a joystick than a keyboard. In fact, if you die, virtual coins are used to continue, although it's not clear if those have to be purchased with real-world money or can be acquired for free.

The game is played using the arrow keys to move and other keys to attack. Combinations of arrow keys, or hotkeys, can activate the special abilities that are earned through character advancement. Of course, if you don't want to activate those special abilities accidentally, you can rely solely on hotkeys that also can be used to activate items that help you out by enhance skills or healing.

The Pet Robot is Adorable

There are five character classes, and each can specialize as one of four subclasses when they level up. I had the chance to try out the gunner class, who specializes in distance attacks, but there are also fighters, mages, priests and slayers. Each class has been summoned from a different world and has its own style. The slayer battles a demon who shares his body but also grants tremendous powers, while the priest actually smacks things over the head with a colossal cross.

To give you an idea of the special abilities, the gunner could activate skills that would improve his ammunition, perform a roundhouse kick that would knock nearby foes away, or even draw an enormous Gatling gun that would devastate enemies in the line of fire. My personal favorite was a tiny, wind-up-style robot that would take potshots at enemies and serve as a target to distract foes.

Brawl Together With Friends

The game can be played alone, but seems to work best in a party. Playing in a group of four, the fighter (who specializes in getting up close and personal) was able to help keep enemies from closing with my gunner, allowing me to use my talents to their greatest effect. Nexon even pointed out that players in a group will receive bonus experience.

The game felt like a side-scrolling brawler, but didn't have the wide-open scrolling levels of those kind of games. The levels were divided into smaller, discrete areas with a mini-map guiding players from one area to another. Typically, play involved clearing each area of up to a dozen enemies, and then navigating to the next area, with nasty bosses occupying the end of an area. These levels can be randomized, so repeat play won't necessarily leave you knowing where to go.

At the end of each area, players receive a rank, experience, items and in-game cash with which to improve characters. Not only will players get rewarded for defeating enemies, but also for performing stylish attacks, such as juggling foes. The game even supports Player vs. Player battles, and Nexon says there is a system for balancing players of different levels to ensure a fair match. Similarly, players can challenge certain NPCs to one-on-one Street Fighter-style battles.

Customize Your Avatar With Cash

Dungeon Fighter Online will be free to play, but there will be a cash shop. Exactly what will be sold in the cash shop? Nexon isn't ready to say, yet. Officially, there will be an "in-game item shop offering an eclectic array of attractive avatar apparel as well as items tailored to specific skill sets." For the existing game, the cash shop is selling customizable avatar parts that allow players to really individualize their characters, and is also selling functional items that make players more powerful. It's safe to expect something similar for the North American version.

The screenshots from Dungeon Fighter Online are absolutely representative of the game as it appears in motion. It looks so much better than many other free-to-play titles, and should run on older PCs. As long as your system specs are similar to the sort of computer available in a PC café in Korea in late 2005, you'll be able to run the game smoothly. Be prepared – soon you'll be able to try out Dungeon Fighter Online yourself, and the cash shop should go live soon after.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on June 7, 2009 12:51 PM.

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