App Reviewed on: iPad
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Love them or hate them for their sources of inspiration, Gameloft has a great track record for bringing console and PC style game experiences to the iOS platform. They often provide gamers with genres that other developers just aren't interested in bringing to the portable scene, and most of the time the games are pretty decent. Gameloft has done it again with their ambitious MMO, Order & Chaos Online. The game is not only good, but it's also an exciting example of what is possible in the realm of iOS MMORPG's. Sure, there have been a few before it, but nothing really felt like the real deal. It isn't all peachy though because there are still a lot of kinks that need to be ironed out.
Order & Chaos features 4 playable races and 4 classes (each with two separate skill trees) to choose from. After choosing a race and class, you can customize your appearance. The character customization is acceptable, but there is definitely room for more options. Upon completing your character you are thrust out into a massive world filled with quests, loot, and tons of other players. Completing the early level quests provides an introduction to all the game mechanics, and by the time I was around level 10, I was very acquainted with what the game had to offer. The graphics are pretty impressive considering the scope of the game, and at times I really felt like I was playing a mobile version of World of Warcraft because of the similar art direction. The soundtrack is decidedly generic, but there is a great playlist option that lets you listen to your own jams while questing. The gameplay and user interface are both very intuitive, and anyone familiar with a traditional PC MMO should feel right at home while playing. Even the combat system begs to be compared to its PC counterpart, but a convenient thumb wheel makes using special attacks more practical. The one aspect of the interface that disappointed me was the chat window. It is intrusive, and it uses the default iOS keyboard for text input.
You will probably spend the majority of your time questing, grinding, and crafting because there aren't any dungeons at this point, and the long term success of the game will hinge upon Gameloft's willingness to continuously update the title. They really have no excuse not to considering there is a $0.99 subscription fee and an eShop that sells various in-game currency for real world money. Another factor that will influence the game's success is the community. A good or bad community of players can make or break an MMO, and at this point there are scores of players spamming the global chat channel with useless and sometimes offensive banter. I think it will be a challenge for Gameloft to monitor the activity and keep inappropriate behavior to a minimum so mature players can enjoy the game. The sheer amount of low level players at this point make it a little difficult to complete some quests (the player to monster ratio is a little thin), but that is expected considering the young age of the game.
Gameloft has created a true MMO for iOS with Order & Chaos Online. The user interface, graphics, and gameplay elements all work together in harmony for an exciting taste of possibilities. From a technical aspect the game is impressively sound. I rarely experienced any lag, and the few minor game glitches (getting stuck on certain in game obstacles) didn't hinder the experience. Hopefully, Gameloft will continue to support the game, so that players will have a reason to keep coming back to it. As of now there is quite a bit to do in the game, but I know a lot of players will get burned out if updates aren't provided regularly. It's too soon to tell if the community will improve or worsen, but I'm going to remain optimistic. If you're a fan of massively multiplayer games, this one is definitely worth a try.