|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NCSoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: NCSoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 21, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: MMO||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
January 21, 2009 - Enter into an online fantasy world that dares to challenge your concept of reality. Aion: The Tower of Eternity is a massive-multiplayer online RPG that will constantly change and evolve according to the direction that players take. Landscapes, infrastructures, entire cities, cultures, and economies will be created, maintained, and destroyed throughout the game's lifespan, which the developers hope will be extensive.
Players from around the world will partake in this game, leaving their mark in the game's recorded history. Open beta testing in Korea is off the map. Aion: The Tower of Eternity has shown the largest number of participants for any game in Korea's history. With incredible graphics, a compelling story, unlimited challenges, and a unique musical score, the release of Aion: The Tower of Eternity is certainly going to be one of the major gaming events of the year.
The world of Aion is shattered. It's divided into two major realms separated by an Abyss, which is inhabited by dragons. The Elyos and Asmodian are warring factions that reside in each of the divided sections of this once whole world. The dragons, known as the Balaur, are a common enemy to both races. The Balaur are of ancient origin and due to the recent cataclysm are now an immediate threat to the survival of this divided world.
Tycho and Ulf are two unlikely heroes. Each are from different worlds but are thrown together in an effort to uncover the secrets that will help them save both halves from destruction. They learn that fragments of the tower are afloat throughout the world, acting as gateways to other sections of Aion. While the two will share many missions and have to overcome many obstacles and enemies, it appears their greatest challenge will be setting aside their differences to form one united front.
The core of the gameplay is the conflict between the two races, each of which is playable. However, the Balaur is the third warring faction and is not playable. It is entirely A.I.-controlled. At times it will do battle against both races, while other times it will side with one of the factions to dramatically shift the balance of power. All factions will attempt to gain not only territory from the other but also collect artifacts and resources. Experience points are earned for successful kills, and can be used to purchase useful items and upgrades. Skill, weapons, health, crafting, and tools can be purchased to further enhance your character.
At the outset of the game, four classes will be available. After a period of leveling-up, you will be able to branch into new classes. The Warrior is among the easiest of the characters to control. They are essentially skilled at close-range combat, as they possess a variety of acrobatic moves that allows them to get in and out of places that other characters cannot access. The Gladiator is skilled at wielding primitive but destructive weapons such as swords and axes. His fighting skills will change to suit the weapon of choice.
Using a shield in one hand and a sword in the other, the Templar is a guardian. They make great frontline fighters but can also heal wounded allies. The Scout provides one of the game's most well-rounded classes. The Scout is fast, agile, resilient, and resourceful. He's a jack-of-all-trades and with careful upgrades, can be customized to suit your playing style.
Adept at surviving in harsh conditions, the Ranger uses his bow to attack from a safe distance. They are also skilled with melee weapons such as swords and daggers. The Assassin is a stealthy killer. He is silent and deadly. His skills are prized in close-combat situations. Casting spells and harnessing the powers of magic, the Mage is extremely effective at ranged combat. He is more defenseless in close-range situations. Like all characters, his powers will increase with experience.
Character customizing options are plentiful. Beginning with character creation, you can use sliders to adjust facial and body features as well as choose from a multitude of hairstyles, skin tones, and accessories. Players can create weapons, armor, and other tools for their characters by using the editor to alter colors and textures. Players can use the crafting system to create new hybrids by combining different items. This will typically result in a more powerful and unique weapon or tool. While the character can also be customized in terms of class and leveling-up, the Stigmata system allows them to experience powers from other classes. Called Stigmata stones, they are similar to power-ups and give the player access to other classes' skills and abilities, so you are not restricted to class-specific moves.
The world of Aion is huge and breathtaking. It encompasses land, sea, air, and dark, unseen dimensions. You can climb mountains, traverse woodlands, and fly through the air to access new segments of the tower and ultimately new sections of the world. It's entirely an interactive, 3D environment that gives you unprecedented freedom. The unending adventure begins this summer.
CCC Senior Writer