Lost Ark 2020 First Impressions - Is Lost Ark Worth Playing in 2021?
This has been a long time coming.
A few months ago Amazon Game Studios announced – well.. “announced” that they were in essence bringing over Lost Ark next year to the Western audience.
Players were ecstatic, as it’s been years since we gave up hope of a Western release.
But we still have months to wait before being able to play it – and while I definitely have a guide coming in the coming weeks on how to download, install and play the game in English, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on the game currently.
If you weren’t aware, Mrs Stix and I had streamed Lost Ark over on our Twitch channel every Sunday. This allowed for us to get quite an extensive look at the Russian version of the game.
We played for months and poured hundreds of hours into the game before taking a break.
So I feel as though that makes us uniquely qualified to talk about the upcoming MMO and give our overall thoughts on it.
Lost Ark is a top-down isometric South Korean MMORPG.
Even though the game is years old, this has some of the most gorgeous character models I’ve come across in-game. With regards to your character, “important NPCs” and the like.
While character customization isn’t nearly as dedicated as it perhaps could be, it definitely allowed for us to create some beautifully unique characters.
The combat is 100% action. You move your character with your mouse – unable to re-keybind your movement keys to your keyboard and utilize your abilities on your W, S, A, D, Q, E.. well, you get it. Your abilities are set to letters, and you cycle through your abilities quite rapidly.
The world itself is segregated, with areas being divided by small loading screens. This helps keep the server load to a minimum so I can understand why it’s done – as is the norm either way with isometric MMOs.
Although beyond the zones on land, there is the vast open ocean that is – well, it’s set in its own unique instance as well, with the entire open-sea being explorable without loading screen however if you want to dock to explore the islands you’ll no doubt be interested in.. then once again, every land area has its own loading screen.
That’s.. pretty much the game. It’s a very large, very open isometric MMO. But at the same time, despite what South Korean players had to say about it, I had immense amounts of fun playing through it.
We’ve made it into our.. 50s I believe thus far? And have participated in quite a bit of content thus far.
While the bulk of the game is made up of traditional MMO mechanics: Running from quest hub to quest hub, killing x monsters, looting x items, delivering x to x.. there’s much more to Lost Ark than that.
Every zone you proceed to has its own dungeons, its own story, its own identity.
And let me tell you, the story is.. quite something. Admittedly, since we played the Russian version with a fan translation, the English was pretty bad which made it difficult to follow along with it but for every 10 hours of gameplay, there would be an hour or two of story.
As a fan of story, this is ideal for me. I love getting wrapped up in what’s going on – becoming enthralled by the grand narrative that is unfolding around me.
The story leads you into huge hour-long scenarios that have you do any number of things – at one point we had to defend the city from invasion, we had to save our people caught outside the gates, and we had to eliminate the boss causing all of this to happen.
This took about 85, 90 minutes? It had us man various siege weapons, magical mounts with special abilities, and all but go Super Saiyan to emerge victorious.
I’ve never seen an MMO grasp you like this does and just throw you into the story. Heck, I’ve never seen a story that seems like it’s out of a Shounen Anime.
The dungeons themselves were incredibly detailed as well. Not all of them, granted, but quite a few of them. While over half were simple “make it to the end of the dungeon to kill the dungeon boss,” there were some that were mechanically challenging, and some with boss battles that took up the entirety of the dungeon.
These encounters were absolutely ridiculous and were some of – if not by far the most entertaining dungeons I’ve ever done. Doing them with some of you guys made it even more fun, and I can definitely see the appeal of running these dungeons with groups of friends if only to see their reactions to what’s going on.
There are raids to go along with the dungeons, but we’ve yet to hit endgame to actually make it into a raid. Yet. We’ll get there though!
Overall, there is so much to do in Lost Ark.
I’m not kidding. The story takes you all over the world – which is one of the largest worlds I’ve probably ever come across.
The combat is incredibly fast, doesn’t overwhelm you with hundreds of abilities you’re forced to memorize, actually looks really damn flashy as well and is ridiculously fluid.
Graphically, this is the best looking top-down isometric game I’ve ever seen.
If I were to provide you guys with a list of games I’m most looking forward to next year, it would probably consist of Blue Protocol, Tower of Fantasy, PSO2: New Genesis and Lost Ark.
I’m aware that there are more coming out, but these 4 will no doubt be the 4 that I’m going to be playing long-term. Well, that and the new Final Fantasy XIV expansion depending on how Shadowbringers ends.
I know some people aren’t fans of this specific combat style, or the graphical style overall – I wasn’t either. I’m not really too fond of isometric MMOs at all but Lost Ark definitely captivated me much more than I ever thought it would.
And I’m glad I’ll be able to play it next year.