|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NCSoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: MCSoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 7, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-Massive Online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Imagine living in a surreal painting. The graphics in Aion are so stylized you dont have to imagine. The only word I can use to describe the overall look of this game is art. Reminiscent of a watercolor landscape, each scene is a virtual work of art with incredible attention to color, detail, and atmosphere. The pets are lifelike both in appearance and interaction. Characters differ in appearance and animation, adding a sense of realism to the Aion universe. You may experience some slowdown if your PC isnt up to it, but whatre ya gonna do? Its not a fault of the game. The damn thing is almost faultless.
Literally in tune with the visual ambience, the musical score is equally artful and imaginative. It never becomes overbearing, highlighting the appropriate situations. This is one orchestral and classy soundtrack. The voiceovers are hit and miss. They arent in the same league with the rest of the production, but they serve to propel the story. The fighting sound effects are great. The recordings are spot-on, the triggering is precise, and theres enough variety to prevent ear fatigue, although the pets will create an annoying cacophony when multiples of them appear onscreen.
The developers of Aion: Assault on Balaurae want to capture a huge slice of the MMORPG pie, and to do so they are offering the expansion pack for free, as long as youre a subscriber. In addition to this free version, players can also purchase the original game and expansion pack either online or the physical package. Youll also get a few extras including unique pets for each of your characters.
Assault on Balaurae is definitely geared toward the hardcores, the very players the developers want to keep interested. They havent forsaken the lower-levels players by any stretch, encouraging them to gain experience to access the new content. Its not going to be easy for any player, but this game isnt meant to be completed in a few days.
CCC Senior Writer