Before I begin, Saint Seiya Online is currently licensed only for the China market, with no news of any overseas launch.
With that aside, Saint Seiya Online is the 1 and only official MMORPG based on the franchise, and developed by Perfect World. I had a chance to play in the 2nd beta phase (Silver Test Phase) over the past few days, and man did I enjoy the experience.
Known as “Knights of the Zodiac” in the localized western version, the game explores almost everything of what the original story had to offer, down to the smallest of details. Over the next 2 articles, I will be touching more on the basics of the game, and hopefully the details you care about. Let’s begin!
Compared with other Perfect World titles, the customization choices are significantly lesser, perhaps to maintain that “Japanese manga/anime” look to stay true to Saint Seiya. The most important part is perhaps the birthday, which will align players with the corresponding horoscope.
Do not worry, this will not affect the type of cloth (the armor) which can be worn. More on this feature below. 1 of the main functions for this will be the summoning of a static guardian during dungeon battles.
For example, if I am a Taurus, I will summon a Taurus guardian, and when clicking on it, grants any party members a boost in defense for 30 minutes. Each horoscope has got different effects, and only 1 can be active.
As you can tell, the design bears some resemblance with Perfect World’s previous title, Forsaken World. Yes, this is something which I have to admit, but on the other hand, how would you expect the world to look like?
Using the Angelica III Engine, the characters sort of have a cell-shaded quality, with the faint black outline. Screenshots don’t do Saint Seiya Online justice in all honesty, taking videos is still the best way to showcase the game.
Ah, combat. Yes, it is still the classic “point and click”, but then again, it is not to a certain extent. You see, skills in Saint Seiya Online has got low cool-downs, which makes most of them spammable. To put the icing on the cake, there is no mana system. Yes, skills are purely based on their cool-down timers.
Coupled with the amazing animations and effects, it is hard to be bothered by the “point and click” system utilized since I was engrossed with the battles most of the time.
The 2nd bar is actually the stamina, which is used when players sprint, dodge or block. Sprinting is just a simple double-tap on any of the WASD movement keys, with spacebar as the jump key.
Dodging will require Shift+ a direction key, although it is barely used since each dodge costs 100 stamina points. Blocking is an actual skill, not right-click, and will decrease damage taken while slowly siphon away stamina points. Once again, not a function I used much.
Cosmo, or cosmos, is perhaps 1 of the most popular word used throughout Saint Seiya’s history. In the game, players gain cosmo by defeating enemies, which charges up the cosmo meter.
At 50%, 75% and 100%, comos can be unleashed giving massive damage boosts, which is similar to a berserker state. Features such as 6th and 7th sense will come at a higher level, which I have yet to reach T__T
In the spirit of staying true to the Saint Seiya series, I will refer the armor as cloth. Players will get to choose from 1 of the 5 bronze cloth after a few quests at the start: Pegasus (fast attack speed), Dragon (ultimate defense), Cygnus (ranged and freeze effects), Andromeda (support healer) and Phoenix (AOE + DPS).
Yes, the holy trinity of support, DPS and tank is still being used here, which again I didn’t really care about. More on this in the dungeons section in Part 2, to be posted soon.
Even if the cloth is worn, players will still be able to equip gears such as cloth armor, cloth pants, accessories etc. These are worn below the Bronze cloth.
With no weapon system in Saint Seiya Online, damage boost is spread across all the different parts, including the Bronze cloth. All of them can be upgraded as well, which I will not go too much into.
Now comes the question: Will I get more than 1 cloth? What about the Silver and Gold cloth? To answer that, yes, each of the 5 starting Bronze cloth comes with their own set of acquirable cloth. For Phoenix, I have 15 Bronze, 10 Silver and all 12 Gold clothes which can be acquired.
In fact, I got my 2nd Bronze cloth of the Puppis constellation just recently (image below). This cloth may not appear on a couple of the other 5 starters. At level 59 and above, players can change their base/ starter Bronze cloth.
My current Phoenix cloth is upgraded till level 6, but at level 0, the new Bronze Puppis cloth has much better stats. But I don’t really like the look…
Bronze and Silver clothes can be acquired via quests, which are not easy. I have yet to see anyone acquire a Gold cloth, although I suspect it requires much PvP and even more progress to get a clue on how it can be crafted.
Seen below is an upgraded Bronze Pegasus, which changed from its basic form (the extra wings). I am not really sure at which upgrade will the cloth change its look.
In certain quests, players are brought back to certain famous storyline found in the manga. Here, different roles are assumed. As you can see from the videos below, I may become Dragon Shiryū in one, and then Pegasus Seiya the next.
This is very engaging in allowing new players to understand the story better, while providing older fans with a blast from the past.
I will be touching more on instanced dungeons, leveling progression and more in Part 2. Stay tuned!