Loong – Review
Hosted on the increasingly popular Gamigo gaming portal, Loong is a martial arts inspired MMO set in Ancient China. Loong is most well known for its unique approach to character progression, removing the shackles that restrain the typical class progression system used in other free RPG games and replacing it with classless progression based around a large assortment of weapons. If you’re not familiar with our review system here at XMMORPG, our initial review is always based around the new player experience of the game. For this Loong Review we’ll be covering the aspects of the game that a new player would experience, such as character creation, combat and questing.
The character creation process in Loong is similar to most other free RPG games, but it is displayed in a different way. There’s animations, floating backgrounds and high-quality images everywhere, creating a unique effect that removes the typical dull nature of character creation. The usual suspects appear in terms of customization options, such as hair and face styles but it does feel rather limited. There are more exciting aspects of the character creation such as being able to view various armor models on your character as well as visual representations of the classes by equipping different weapons. Once you’ve created your character you enter the rather impressive game world of Loong.
As soon as you load in you’re greeted with authentic oriental architecture, music and characters, creating a truly immersive experience within the first few minutes of playing. The buildings and music compliment each-other perfectly and although I’ve never visited the far east, Loong gives me the feeling that I’m in familiar surroundings. Every character and NPC you come across is equipped in some of the most over the top weapon and armor outfits that I’ve ever seen, sometimes featuring weapons twice as tall as your character and armor that would halt the movement of a large dinosaur.
The beginning quests and tutorial were quite disappointing. The tutorial consists of a small window that pops up from time to time with basic information such as how to find quests or equip items. The main issue with this is that the text inside the tutorial window was practically ineligible for the most part, making it more about guesswork than educated decisions. The first few quests are very basic, requiring no combat or thought other than clicking the NPC’s name in the quest tracker and auto-traveling to that location. During the beginner quests you do get to choose what armor and weapon style your character uses to begin with, in effect you’re creating your starting class. This is where the innovative part of Loong comes into play as characters can change weapons and armor at almost anytime, providing a whole new set of skills and abilities.
After you’re done with the mundane tutorial you get to test out the combat, this is quite obviously the most appealing aspect to Loong. I was level 2 had no abilities and only my starting weapon but I still thoroughly enjoyed slicing up some River Lotus Demons. The combat music is intense and really adds to the effect as I was swinging my sword around, striking anything that came into range. The animations are crisp and highly detailed, even jumping is accompanied by an awesome looking front flip. I’m not usually a fan of floating text and turn it off in the majority of games I play but the damage and healing text in Loong is very tasteful, not retracting from the experience at all.
Overall, Loong has by far the best musical score I’ve ever heard in a computer game. The combat music does a great job of getting you in the mood, and then the fluid animations and skills continue that effect through until your enemy is defeated. The internet is filled with oriental themed free RPG games but Loong is easily one of the best available.
by Blaine Smith