KurtzPel in 2023 | A Look Back at a Once Great Anime RPG
KurtzPel. The myth. The legend. The MMORPG genre’s hope for an Anime MMO with incredible combat, that ultimately ended up suffocating under the pressure and disappointing millions of players all around the world.
Not because it was a bad game.. Okay, well, partly because it was a bad game – at the time of its release. But also because there were a large percentage of us that thought it was going to be a large-scale, open-world MMORPG.
And it wasn’t. It featured a lot of multiplayer activities. You could engage another player in 1v1. You could engage other players in 2v2. And truly showcasing its unrivaled diversity in terms of game modes, you could engage other players in 4v4.
That isn’t to say it didn’t feature an extensive type of PvE, though. You could totally hit a monster until it falls over in defeat.
But that was the game when I played years ago. How is it doing in 2023? Are players still enjoying themselves? Are there regular updates? Today we’re going to find out. I played KurtzPel in 2023, and this was my experience.
It’s been a little while since I played KurtzPel. 2 years? But I logged into the game, expecting to be able to continue immediately from where I last left it – and… was admittedly very confused.
Not only was my resolution completely off, but the game was entirely in Korean. The UI. All of the options. I had no idea what all of those options – all of the text over on the right was or meant.
I had no idea where language options were. After a couple minutes I managed to find an option in Korean that said “English,” thank god. Is this something new players have to deal with? This was a fresh install from a North American account.
If players are greeted with a game they cannot understand, in a language that they’re unable to read, they would be immediately turned away. There’s no contesting that. Which is a very silly introduction to the game.
After re-translating the game into English, I went back to the login screen, deleted an old character, and proceeded to create a brand new one. We want to see how KurtzPel is doing in 2023 after all.
After crafting absolute perfection in terms of body, with more sliders than any other Anime game available online, I fumbled and made my character look horrendously derpy. Which is honestly not overly concerning, given her face is mostly obscured by her hair and the distance the camera is from her.
Upon completion of your creation, you’re presented with a brand new tab featuring trackable quests and objectives. Honestly, a very mobile-esque feature. You have daily missions, weekly missions, actual quests that you can progress through, epic quests and event activities.
Daily and Weekly objectives consist of options like “Win a Battle Mission,” “Defeat an Enemy,” basic options that promote activity in the community. This is very important, as the game, from what I could tell, was dead. But we’ll touch on that a little later.
You’re forced into some tutorial content, explaining how to use Karma’s – your unique weapons, and the combos associated with them.
There are a large variety in Karma’s, with each weapon possessing both strengths and weaknesses over others. Some of them are fantastic for CC – crowd control. Others excel quite significantly at AoEing large groups of enemies – both AI controlled and player alike.
Unfortunately, the rate of Karma acquisition is incredibly slow from what I’ve noticed. And when I last played, there were a number of them gated behind real-money purchases. I couldn’t find out whether that was still the case or if all Karma’s were now earnable and acquirable completely free in-game.
You begin with the Greatsword and Bow. But I unlocked the Gauntlets and Stave after playing for an hour or two. Both of which were vastly superior to my beginner Karma’s.
The tutorial treats you like you’re an idiot, walking you through every interaction between abilities, combos and weapon swapping possible. Which is great, because I’m an idiot and I’d forgotten. It’s been that long.
After the tutorial, and before fully gaining access to the game, you’re required to go through a number of AI controlled PvP battles, just to make sure you understand what the tutorial taught you and to reiterate that this game is not for idiots.
Except for the people that named the AI. “Cheapo… 2Big2Fail?” Who let these people name these characters? They’re worse than me calling myself FlaccidStix.
Honestly though, the maps you’re taken to to actually engage other players – or in this case, AI, are still as gorgeous as ever. I can imagine how much fun they’d be to explore if we were given access to openly traverse them.
Then we’re forced into 2v2 matches, once again, with both AI allies and enemies. At times I’d cease what I was doing just so I could enjoy watching the AI fumble, and periodically, stand there struggling to load their next sequence of commands.
Which really showcased, in real time, the horrendous limitations that having AI party members and AI enemies imposes on us, and the game overall.
The lack of awareness, the lack of objective routing. The AI exists merely as a punching bag. Or, with regards to the PvE mode, as a means with which to bombard you with abilities that span the arena, that auto-lock on to you, or are impossible to mitigate the damage from.
That consisted of – primarily, the first hour or two of the game. And if you somehow found the willpower to progress further into the game – which, judging from the concurrent player numbers, that isn’t the case for the vast majority of people that try the game out, you’re met with an objectively worse experience to come.
After finishing all of the forced tutorial content, and gaining full control over my character, I obtained access to a variety of game modes and new features.
I could dress up my Barbie doll. I could change her weapon – between the available Karma’s I had access to. Beginning the game I had the greatsword and bow and arrow, but unlocked stave and gauntlet which I immediately swapped to because they’re substantially more powerful and deal exponentially more damage in PvE.
I can’t tell in PvP because of all of the game modes I queue’d for, none ever successfully popped. I tried this over a period of days, and a period of times. Maybe I was just unlucky. I even went as far as asking in chat if anyone was interested in PvP to no avail.
After spending an extended period of time queueing, a pop-up message appeared telling me “Your current bracket is dead, would you like to vs players that have months or years experience in the game so there’s something to actually do? If you hit yes, you may rage quit the game within seconds of participating.”
Evidently, it didn’t end up making a difference. And so I moved on and decided to queue for the PvE game modes.
PvE consisted of a couple consecutive waves of monsters, followed by a singular boss monster. Enemies were more or less the same per map, with the difference being the bosses themselves.
Each boss had their own unique abilities, their strengths and weaknesses. Like the big rock guy. He was weak against things that hit him. The peacock guy. He was weak against things that hit him, too. The horny rock guy. He was weak against things that hit him.
As you’ve no doubt learned, there is a lot of complexity to each encounter. You need to hit your roll key to dodge abilities, and cycle through your few skills in hopes you have enough HP to survive long enough for the boss to die.
Thankfully there are actual rewards for doing PvE content. You get gear, more powerful weapons and more powerful armor. Weapons had a direct impact on the damage I did, this was noticeable by the rate at which enemies died.
However, even though I’d equip armor that gave me upwards of 5,000 more HP per piece or thousands of defense, I died just as rapidly. I felt like I was wearing nothing at all, and the weather isn’t nearly hot enough for that.
The combat itself was a very rewarding experience, though. I think KurtzPel has always prided itself on its exceptional combat, and seeing the effects that leak out of that long hard rod of mine that I use to beat on enemies is a very satisfying experience.
As a mage-main in a lot of the MMOs I play, the stave gameplay was right up my alley. I’ve a lot of experience with long hard wood in my hand so I felt right at home with this class and Karma.
By the end of my several-day ordeal, I felt exhausted. I’d log in, I’d try queueing for some PvP, repeatedly end up disappointed, queue for a few of the same fights I’d already done and attempt to obtain new gear, then run a couple fights I hadn’t in an effort to push through all of the available content.
I’d run around the single hub, where all the players gather to AFK while waiting for their PvP queues to time out before logging off and playing Genshin Impact. And then I’d log out myself. Because there was just nothing to do.
The miniscule number of players have killed any real competitive content to consume, and running a couple of the same boss fights repetitiously is a chore, completely futile and not at all rewarding in any capacity. KurtzPel really had a lot of potential.
KOG Games, the studio behind KurtzPel delivered us something fun in the way of Elsword. But KurtzPel? No. I recall having a lot of fun in PvP when I streamed the game. Which shows the potential for fun the game has. But being required to coordinate content like that is a severe limiting factor when it comes to freely enjoying the game at your own pace.
So I gave up, uninstalled the game, and here we are. I wish there was more to cover. I wish there were positive things to say about the game. But there just isn’t. At its core, the game CAN be fun. But as a whole – it isn’t. Not remotely.