Sunday, May 9, 2010


This was supposed to be a first impressions review of the titular MMO, but since my sister fell for a phishing scam, it will most likely be my final. I have only reached level 15 (out of 50) so I can't comment about endgame content or PvP, but I can provide general commentary on how the game plays, looks, and feels. So without further ado, here is my review.

The first thing I have to say about this game is that it's a lot like World of Warcraft (WoW). Normally I hate attaching the phrase "WoW Clone" to an MMO, as it is often misused and applied to any MMO regardless of whether or not they are fantasy based, but in the case of Aion it fits the bill. Most all quests follow the "kill 10 rats" template, the classes and skills are pretty much carbon copies, and its grindy as hell. Aion is as generic as they come, and although it doesn't do anything poorly, it can't be said that it brings anything new to the genre either.

That being said, Aion does have a mechanic where your character can fly which was promoted heavily, but in game, flight seems more like an afterthought. The first restriction they place on you is that you can only fly for a minute. This wouldn't be too limiting if it wasn't for the fact that the you are not allowed to fly in many areas of the game. In fact I have thus far encountered only one small portion of a map in which flight is permitted. Even then I only used it to complete 2 measly little quests that didn't involve combat. I tried using it as a battle tactic against grounded enemies, but they just ran away and instantly regenerated health, rendering it useless. It seems as though this game was not designed with flight in mind.

The one thing Aion does have going for it is visuals. The vistas are an immersive feast for the eyes with a painterly feel to them. There are plenty of sights to see which makes exploration a joy, but good graphics do not make up for lacklustre gameplay. There is a half-hearted attempt at an overarching storyline which was promising at first, but that fell to the wayside soon after the tutorial zone in favor of repetitive quests that involve slaying large amounts of kobolds. Perhaps it picks up again later, I'll probably never know.

Aion is a game that promised the stars, but settled for a flashlight. It whispered of new heights that would be attained, of glorious adventure in the heavens on high, but when it came time to launch, fell flat on it's face. Like Icarus of Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun, Aion crashed and burned in it's moment of greatest exaltation, blissfully unaware of the danger of it's own hubris. Perhaps the true freedom promised by Aion, and indeed our own civilization, is little more than a dream or illusion designed to bind us to this material world. I forget where I was going with this metaphor, but not as much as I forget my experience playing Aion.

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