Just a brief reminder, Dragon Sword is currently just in Alpha phase, hence I will not be touching too much on the game except for some of the features. Developed by China’s no.2 MMO company, NetEase, Dragon Sword is an open-world action combat game which should be the first from the country.
Some folks might be surprised to know that the game is not developed using CryEngine 3 or Unreal Engine 3, but by an in-house game engine. Pretty impressive, no? Even the big Korean titles are still depending on the big 2 engines. Let us get into the game now.
NetEase’s staff told me this Alpha phase is focused on getting feedback on the combat system, hence I shall jump straight into this. Yes, it is true non-target action combat, similar to Dragon Nest’s. In my opinion, the combat feature is somewhere between TERA and Dragon Nest, although much closer to Dragon Nest’s.
Combat is smooth, if latency is not an issue, and every skill plus normal hit damages multiple enemies caught in the attack radius. Right click triggers each race’s alternate weapon, which is known as a “Soul Weapon” in Dragon Sword. As you can see, mine is a double pistol.
The Soul Weapon’s skills are separate from the class skills, for now there aren’t many to be learn. It is a good thing though, without having to go through a tough time which skills to put into the hotbar. The best thing I like? The ability to move and attack at the same time, and also giving melee characters an alternate damage source.
As mentioned, Dragon Sword has a persistent open world, where players meet each other on the field rather than just instances. For this, it is closer to what TERA is offering, which is definitely a good thing. Dragon Nest 2 is said to have an open world as well, and I can imagine it being Dragon Sword with a different skin.
There are tons of regions with different designs, music and vibes, and I am showing off just 2 in the videos below. Heaven beyond Heaven is the first main town where all races eventually meet after the first few quest scenarios.
There are tons of quests even in the Alpha client, some more casual (like running around town collecting coins ala Sonic the Hedgehog), faction quests, clan quests, daily quests and many more. Shown below are 2 story quests from the main campaign.
Ah yes, the instances. Having just reached the halfway point of the level cap, I have encountered around 6 instances already, not including the ones I skipped. Each instances have 2 difficulty levels, and I am sure a 3rd one will be added in the near future since some doors at the end are visibly still locked.
Talking about difficulty modes, similar instances will see differences between them. For example, a final boss may only have 1 form in the Easy mode, but will have a 2nd form in the Hard mode. Skills used and AI changes as well, which is a good thing, although I feel more polishing needs to be done.
Alpha phase final thoughts
Seeing that Dragon Sword is still in Alpha phase, I am able to notice several features missing. This isn’t really much of a problem, but I had fun bashing tons of monsters while enjoying the storyline and awesome graphics at the same time.
Combat is definitely what I expected it to be, and no doubt it will be further polished before launch is near. There are flaws here and there, but Dragon Sword’s Alpha phase is perhaps to most completed client I have ever played for one still in development.