Twin Saga is the latest in X-Legend Entertainment’s portfolio to make it to Western shores. In it, you discover that you have a goddess inhabiting you and you must help her save the world from her evil sister, who is trying to throw the world into chaos. Gameplay is largely familiar, featuring tab-targeting combat and a quest-driven story. It offers a few unique features over its predecessors, but are those features enough to set it apart from them?
A JRPG World
From the very moment that I spawned in-game and started moving around, I was surprised by the game’s stunning likeness to classic 3D JRPGs. From the art style to the way your character moves, the game feels like a JRPG with a classic tab-targeting combat system. There’s even an overworld, tiny trees and all, that you use to travel from zone to zone. You will go to a linear zone, follow a localized, but fairly detailed subplot that inevitably advances the main plot, and then go back to the overworld so that you can advance to the next zone of its kind.
An Anime-like Experience
The aesthetic isn’t all that makes Twin Saga feel like an anime. It is a surprisingly text-heavy game. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that the majority of that text is quality work. Not only is the source quite good, the translation might be Aeria Games’s best yet. In a sea of MMORPGs that don’t seem as if any effort was put into the story or world, Twin Saga’s exceeds in standing out.
The way that the plot plays out is not unlike that of the text-version of an entire anime series. Twin Saga has the cast of characters with overblown personalities, the humorous inner monologue that is constantly criticizing the characters you encounter, the sexual undertones, the cleverly placed jokes that break the fourth wall, and the major plot advancements at the end of each zone, each of which represent one leg of an overarching journey. Some of the dialogue went on for far too long, and I often found myself wondering why I was on the tenth pane of text before I had even made it to a point where I could hand in the quest I was working on, but, for the majority of my time with the game, I was laughing at something or other. What’s more, I actually read all of the dialogue, which is a clear sign that the game is doing something right.
A Different Kind Of Class System
Twin Saga handles classes differently than most MMORPGs. It takes inspiration from games like Final Fantasy XIV by allowing players to play as every class on one character. With the click of a button, you can switch classes without the need to return to town.
However, not all classes are unlocked from the get-go. You are required to complete specific story quests before you can play as certain classes. It’s not the most involved process and, by the time you’ve leveled a single class, you will have unlocked all of the others, but it does give you an additional goal during the leveling process.
Classes themselves are also handled fairly differently. There is a single core set of skills that each class unlocks as it levels. An additional set of general skills that can be used by any class, granted you’ve unlocked them by leveling specific classes, is available; each class can have two equipped at any one time. Given the way that skills are handled, class customization is primarily done through the use of talent trees, of which each class has two. Each class gets one skill point per level that can be put into talents that increase various stats, effectively allowing players to customize the role of each class. For example, the Swordmaster class can can become either more of a tank role or more of a damage-dealing role, depending on the talent tree that you end up putting more points into. Unfortunately, the fact that each class only has two talent trees means that your choice is effectively limited to one of two roles, but the system still affords some control over your character’s development in lieu of a skill tree.
The class system was undoubtedly implemented in this manner in the name of making all classes as accessible and easy to use as possible. An interesting side-effect of that level of accessibility is that character and class levels are separate. Say you’re level 30 and you’ve only played as one class, which is also around level 30. You can switch to another class and keep playing where you are without skipping a beat. You won’t have any points put into your talents and you will only have access to the starter skills, but, all told, it is a fairly comfortable experience. What’s more, the class that you switch to will level at an incredibly fast pace thanks to fighting mobs that are far above its level.
While I personally find the visuals charming, those looking for a more realistic gritty look like what’s available in Black Desert Online or Bless Online, will be disappointed. The gameplay (thanks to its class system) is different enough from most free to play MMORPGs to warrant checking out. One thing that nags me about the game though is the small sense of scale. The world feels small and the environments cramped. This is a problem that plagues a lot of newer MMORPGs though and isn’t limited to Twin Saga (Echo of Soul for example has tiny zones). Revelation Online fromMy.com aims to address this though with a huge persistent world, but that’s a discussion for another day. I personally prefer games like Lineage 2 with those large open worlds. The small zone issue aside, I’m enjoying Twin Saga quite a bit. I’m only level 40ish, but I’m having fun. Put this one on top of your MMORPG list and give it a try.