I’ve never been too big on MMO’s. The objection usually comes down to combat. Turn-based combat - - or combat’s that might as well be turn-based because of lag - - is just too big of a hurdle for me to get over. Thus, it’s worth saying that I had a grand ol’ time demoing ELSWORD at Anime Expo earlier this month, and the fun factor was largely predicated on how brawny and immediate the fightin’ was.
Pick up the controls and BANG! You get into the action right away. I could sign up for that.
Kill3rCombo (the people behind the game) also deserved major kudos for having some pretty legit cosplayers dressed as the characters from this anime-styled game. Just look at these pics and tell me you disagree...
I got to chat with Kill3rCombo’s marketing manager, Jack Mayer, while at the show. Now that convention season craziness has settled down some, I figured it’d be worthwhile to check in with the guy again and get a fuller story about this game. Read on below these screenshots for our conversation.
ANIME VICE: How would you describe ELSWORD to the totally uninitiated?
JACK MAYER: It’s a free-to-play, manga-inspired, side-scrolling action MMO for your PC. Think of the best action you’d find in a side-scrolling beat ‘em up. Then layer on top of that all the elements of a modern MMO, so you’ll find more depth than you’ve probably ever seen in a side-scroller. There are more than 36 unique areas to explore, a deep PvP with multiple gameplay modes, and a ridiculous number of ways to customize your character with special skills, gear, and costumes. The story is told through awesome manga-style panels and even the special skills make the screen look like a page out of your favorite manga.
Or you can just think of it as the ultimate side-scrolling action-MMO.
AV: And what’s the player’s role in this massively-multiplayer gaming scenario?
JM: Your character is a member of the El Search Party, tasked with tracking down the stolen El stone, which brought peace and prosperity to the world of Elrios. In the story, Elsword is the leader of the El Search Party, but each of the 6 playable characters has their own reason for trying to recover the El Stone and their own unique story which unfolds throughout the seven different worlds we’ve released so far.
AV: At Anime Expo, Kill3rCombo unveiled a new character who was carrying an absolutely ENORMOUS cannon. What's his name, what's his deal and how does he fit into the ELSWORD mythos?
JM: That’s Chung, our newest playable character. We introduced him to the game less than a month ago. That cannon is huge! One of our cosplayers at Anime Expo dressed as Chung and built the cannon to scale so it towered over people when they took a picture with him.
Chung is the one of the last surviving guardians from the invaded seaside kingdom of Hamel, which, by the way, is the newest world we’ve released. Chung is teaming up with the El Search Party to drive the shadow demons out of his homeland and discover what role the stolen El Stone played in the recent mayhem causing Hamel to sink below the waves.
For players Chung offers of variety of new gameplay experiences. He’s our first character that can focus on firearms, upgrading his cannon and even acquiring a pistol at level 15. But that’s just one upgrade path you can follow. You can also make him a near indestructible tank, where he’ll master the art of using his cannon like a giant club. Chung is also the only character with a “cannonball meter” that you have to take into account for the most powerful attacks and he has a special berserk mode that greatly increases his power. We created this special trailer to show off how much fun it is to “go berserk..."
AV: ELSWORD is rather unusual as an MMO for having cel-shaded "2.5D" graphics and a heavy emphasis on brawling combat. Why go down to that particular gameplay route?
JM: We wanted to make sure ELSWORD stood out for players the second they tried it, both in how it looks and how it plays. We went with a cell-shaded look so players would feel like they were playing their favorite manga or anime. We focused on brawler gameplay, because we wanted a fun experience that would be easy for players to pick up. I mean it’s not the only 2D MMO out there, but no other has combat this smooth and exciting. ELSWORD has gameplay that hooks you in the first 30 seconds and I don’t think many MMOs can make that claim.