Echo of Soul (EoS) is a free-to-play fantasy MMORPG I like to call “less shitty Tera” because it’s basically the same thing except with a gender lock on classes, less sexualization of girl children (which is not to say none) and not as many little doodles that made it into the final product, so that’s nice I guess?
History and Development
Echo of Soul is from Korea. It was developed by Nvius and published by Aeria Games in the US (who also brought us such magical titles as Scarlet Blade, unarguably the worst piece of shit I have ever played in my entire life, which I will not be reviewing because it just shut down, ding dong, the witch is dead). So like, we immediately know not to trust this game.
I can’t really find much more on the development of this game. I’m pretty sure that it’s another one made to make money, but hey, I guess most games are.
What I do know is that I picked this one up for the blog, and also because I really am in the process of finding a new MMO to blow some time on. This one seemed interesting because of the buzz it was getting on the internet (that buzz being “It exists!”) Sometimes I just search “popular MMOs” and see what’s going on out there.
This one I liked purely because it seemed less muddled than a lot of them and because the graphics were pleasent.
You know, someday I’m going to get to write another long, labor of love saga here, but I’m pretty sure EoS isn’t one of those.
So the first thing I should note is the gender lock.
This is one of those things that might be a deal breaker for a lot of people, and it almost was for me as well. See, there are six classes. Warriors, Rogues, and Warlocks and locked to male. I love playing warriors, and I’m pretty insistent on playing ladytypes, so for me this was almost a reason not to play this game, but I was willing to give it a try.
Mostly because Guardians looked cool.
Except for their wacky unnecessary boob physics.
The other two female classes, Sorceresses and Archers, were a little less interesting to me, and more traditionally “femme” classes, as both are long range.
The character creator, however, is pretty great. One thing that gets me about a lot of MMOs is how many little sliders there are. I know I’ve mentioned in a couple of reviews that I don’t like too many details, and EoS has just the right amount. Also you can be blue. So that’s epic.
So here’s what’s going down. There was a big war between the gods and the giants. The gods won, but the blood of the giants fucked shit up and corrupted the land. The PCs job is to stop the shitty corrupted souls from…I dunno, be more corrupting?
Giants are scary. All you really need to know.
Also there are larger souls with abstract concept names that need to get snagged from baddies.
Most of this I did admittedly learn from the opening cinematic because there’s a lot of writing in the story here, but some of it I did actually figure out as I played. I don’t know why games feel the need to include 150-300 words of exposition for each quest, but I wish they’d stop. If they were more concise, maybe I’d actually understand the story better.
But there are specifically marked main quests that guide you through the story, so at least you can grab some more information as you go. Not that it’s particularly interesting. The above information on story still holds true, basically throughout the game, but the main themes seem to be about purifying the land and returning it to pre-gross-giant-blood conditions.
These are basic MMO controls. You have abilities, and you get more as you level up. It’s a TAB target system, you hit a button, you hit some other buttons, and then you kill things.
One of the more interesting parts of the game play is the soul system. This is what allows you a little customization when it comes to how to play the game. After you kill an enemy, you get a soul (or sometimes you get them from quests) which you can then purify and make into one of four types (it’s random, though, so you just get a bunch). Then you can use them for different buffs in battle, like a health increase or upping your attack speed. The cool down is long, but it’s a nice little detail.
Yes, there’s some customization in terms of play style built into class (each one has two specialties) but I found that I just stuck with one that fit me and didn’t try out the other very much. Actually, that kind of was how the whole thing went. I didn’t want to try other classes because, like many MMOs, it was really repetitive. I got through the tutorial with every class but then just stopped because god, who wants to kill four wolves again?
But again, that might just be a play style issue. I’m not sure.
Like story, I don’t have a lot to say here, because the game play is pretty basic. It’s not stellar. It’s not terrible. It does what it’s supposed to do and then just fades into the background. It happens to you, is the best way to put it. Not that that’s a bad thing, but the game play certainly isn’t something to write home about.
Even though I just said the game play was just there, I’m going on record that the combat is solid. Because it is. It’s kind of fun and it lets you do a lot with a little without really pushing anything on you. It’s intuitive, certainly–if you’ve played a video game before, you can play this one.
The designs aren’t bad–most of the time–and the maps are smaller and broken up so you’re not going to spend a lot of time getting lost on your way to a quest. This is something in this game’s favor to me. I don’t mind open world but I do tend to like linear games if it’s something this mindless. This is no Dragon Age: Inquisition where you want to see everything and something new and exciting awaits around every corner. This is just a slashfest and at least it knows it enough not to pretend it’s anything else.
But really, the designs could have been way more over the top and I like the simplicity.
Also, dungeons. I didn’t get a chance to talk about this earlier, but there are these dungeons that are solo which is great for someone like me who actually doesn’t want to make online friends. The dungeons come at different skill levels and you can go back later. They also sometimes include puzzles, and the fights are way more interesting than they are in the open world. And they can be kind of hard! But I had a good time doing them and found them to be well designed and entertaining.
The gender lock I guess, but really, I wasn’t that upset about it. I mean, someday I want to see a gender lock that’s got lady warriors and dude healers, but I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen. At least I got one femme DPS character, even though she was almost a little AoE support.
After playing this game, I’m going to take a long break from anything that wants me to read long paragraphs during games (which pretty much means all MMO’s, especially those produced in Asia). I don’t like the quests. It wears on me that everything was just like 500 words of “story” and then boiled down to “Kill ten bad guys”. I don’t care why I have to go commit snake woman genocide. I wish I did, but if you’re going to slow me down and make me read all that shit, my interest level is going to wane. A lot.
I mean, honestly.
I know this is a weird thing to say, because I’m both a professional writer and a voracious reader, but I’m not expecting to spend my video game time reading. It’s just not what I want to do. It’s a visual medium and I expect you to find a better, visual (or aural) way to explain quests to me. I don’t mind cut scenes and I’m fine with spoken mission briefings, but I’m not squinting at my computer screen to figure out why it’s so important that I bring you a bunch of rocks.
Oh, and I guess armor’s not great. Too many titties. But it certainly could be worse.
…Eh. This one I’d honestly say to give a miss. I would tell you to try it, but if you’ve tried one free, online MMO (with a few notable exceptions, looking at you here, DCUO) you’ve kind of tried them all. If you want one that’s decent, I’d give this a shot. I had a good time bingeing it for a few weeks, but then I stopped playing it and I’m not planning on ever going back. It’s a nice break from other games, but it’s nothing special.
But it’s maybe better than other stuff running around out there in the same catagory. So I’ll give it a solid “Meh.”
Next Month: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn! Cat girls! Way too much cuteness! Nostalgic music! We get to talk about Final Fantasy AND character creation!