One Nest Of Vipers You'll Gladly Jump Into


Dragon Nest is a free-to-play download title from Nexon that is already out in Korea, and will be launching in the US next year. If the "free to play" didn't grab you, how about the concept of Diablo meets Kingdom Hearts, polished to a level that may even cause Final Fantasy die-hards to raise their eyebrows? Our hands-on play with Dragon Nest showed off Nexon's understanding of how to balance exploration with rapid-fire encounters, and interesting party dynamics. Apart from not having nearly as much name recognition as other MMOs on the market, Dragon Nest is in possession of all the elements required for success in this space.

The game was described to me while I played as a "kinetic action" concept, not to be confused with Microsoft's Kinect, since this is a PC-only title for now. The "kinetic" comment related to how much Dragon Nest feels like an offline Action/RPG at times, with fast-paced battle sequences and responsive controls. You can easily forget that you're exploring in a persistent world as you flow from area to area in a dungeon. The settings are richly populated with monsters, items, and attractive decor. There are a mix of puzzles that you'll need to resolve, in order to move beyond some areas. Those we saw involved simple triggers to open doors, but tripping each trigger resulted in a new encounter. There is some overarching story within the game that we didn't delve into, but we did meet several characters and types of monsters.

Leveling up characters from one of four classes occurs as you play, and you visit towns to interact with NPCs or other players, rest, and deal with stores. The option to solo or bring in other party members makes for a well-rounded experience, and the available classes seem varied enough to accommodate any playing style. We especially liked the Cleric character we tested out, capable of casting healing spells and offensive magic, but not afraid to mix it up with melee combat. We didn't get a look at the town and open world experience, but if it's nearly as polished as what we saw from exploring a dungeon and battling through to a major waypoint, PC gamers will be very happy pups next year.

Dragon Nest
Nexon Interactive