ASTA from Webzen is in Open Beta, and honestly, there is nothing to see here.
While it’s written by a Korean developer Polygon, it is nowhere near the quality in any dimension as Tera from Blue Hole.
ASTA is / will be free to play. But so is Tera. I would not even spend the time to download the 10GB of game to try it. Let me count some of the reasons.
The whole game looks like a student project rather than a serious video game product.
The animations are stiff and amateurish. While you, for no apparent reason occasionally do a flip if you jump while running, the jumps are low and boring and the running, while faster than Echo of Soul, is still not compelling.
Combat is tab or click to target followed by number key. This is old-school and all new games just target what you are looking at.
The game defaults to audio dialog about no target selected and skills on cooldown. Perhaps there is a way to turn this off, as there is with Wow, but the rest of the game is not worth the trouble of finding out how.
Remember way back when, oh say before 2007 in the days of Dekaron, when the whole point of leveling your character was to carefully, and manually assign new stat points to various stats on each level? Well all that has been gone from MMOs for years now. The only reason to worry about stats in most games is to get the right gear types for your class, or add the right enhancement objects to your gear to increase the right stats. Well all that manual assignment is back with Asta so if you missed it, welcome to the good ole’ days.
Quests come in two flavors – manual and automatic. Automatic quests automatically popup for you to accept when you enter an area or pass an invisible fence. And when you complete them there is a popup that you may accidentally dismiss as you are busy with something else, like fighting. Of course, the manual kind require a quest giver and backtracking, although many of them lead you on to the next interesting place in the progression.
While playing, the character would occasionally reset it’s position back a few yards as if the server was not keeping up. I have never seen this is any other game unless the communication was really terrible. Apparently their game engine makes the choice that the server rather than the client holds the real position of the character, so when one isn’t keeping up, the server resets. Everybody else makes the other choice unless you get permanently DC’d – disconnected – from the server. ASTA has made a really bad choice as you might imagine, and it’s quite unusual that on a completely unloaded server – I saw no other players – I was getting this effect every minute or so.
The environments look expansive, not claustrophobic like EoS, but not really that interesting. The graphics were decent. The environment graphics was quite good but the character models were not detailed. I just couldn’t see any reason to explore the territory. With Tera you will want to explore.
There are lots of hints that clutter the screen all the time. Perhaps if I played longer those would eventually go away, and there is probably a way to hide them for your second toon.
The sound design and music are terrible too. The voice over in the opening cinematic was so muddy that I couldn’t understand what was being said. The music is bright, dull and repetitive.
Blade and Soul is much better. Even Echo of Soul is better than this waste of time.
But seriously, go play Tera or Guild Wars 2. Now let me go and uninstall this thing.