Read on and let Chris "Pwyff" Tom tell you the 'tale' of his 2D romps in Actoz Soft's 'La Tale Online,' which he found addictive and fun and... what else?
Every so often I'll run into an MMO that, despite being made well, fails in its attempts to capture my attention. On an equal note, however, there are other MMOs that appear to be rather shallow and antiquated, but I find myself drawn to them like a moth to a candle flame. The game that I am speaking of today, called 'La Tale,' actually falls more into the latter category than the former, but you shouldn't let that dissuade you from trying the game out yourself.
I first started playing La Tale a short while ago, when I was on the lookout to devour any 2D style game I could find that was Free to Play. In the end, after having burned through a few of these 2D side-scrollers, I have finally come to two conclusions about this genre: one, they are all very similar in nature, and two, I found that I actually like them. In this way, La Tale was no exception, and I found that I enjoyed my time in this game - even if I did know that I would get very bored with this in about a week's time.
I'll backtrack a bit: La Tale was developed by Korea-based company, 'Actoz Soft,' and has been out in South Korea since 2006. It was only in late July, 2008, however, that North Americans got to see this side-scrolling game under publishers OGPlanet.
Players start the game with the ability to pick from a short range of custom cute physical features before they are whisked away to bizarre tutorial grounds, where the player is taught about the game by… Power Ranger lookalikes. To be fair here, actually, I would say that one strong feature about La Tale has to be some of the funny things their NPCs say (and the funny looking NPCs) when giving information and quests. It's refreshing to play a game where the chuckles stem from things that the designers intended, rather than discovering badly translated "Engrish" phrases.
Outside of their humour, however, La Tale's tale is ultimately one of grind. Players have the ability to choose between one of four different classes, the standard Warrior, the Wizard, the 'Explorer' and the Engineers. Each of these classes can move up into one of two class upgrades at level 80, allowing the player the opportunity to specialize their character even more. Unfortunately, however, while some of these quests really did make me chuckle, the gameplay itself is just about grabbing every quest possible, walking out and killing monsters you would normally kill for 20 minutes, and then handing in all of the completed quests.
Combat in La Tale is also slightly interesting in its design, as players can choose between a 'light' attack and a 'heavy' attack when fighting. Not only this, but if a player 'specs' himself properly in his tech tree, he can learn to combo his abilities together quickly, allowing him to kill things much faster. Overall, however, despite these slight modifications to the standard 'push x to attack, push 1 to spam skills,' La Tale is incredibly reminiscent of the great grind-tastic 2D game, Maple Story.
While it may sound like I'm being somewhat negative on La Tale and its design, it should be noted that, despite these flaws, I found myself playing this game for quite a number of hours, chugging pots and rounding up mobs with my Crossbow Explorer. I honestly liked this game, but I really do feel that it's basically a slight graphical upgrade on Maple Story with a smoother combat system.
In the end, I suppose the greatest qualm I have about La Tale is the fact that it's one of the safest MMORPGs I've played in quite a while. The game doesn't really go out of its way to push the genre in any direction that hasn't already been 'proven' a success. I'm a firm believer that anytime a company decides to create a new MMO, they should take some steps in making it different (perhaps better?) than their opponents. La Tale is really just Maple Story with minor upgrades - I suppose what's frustrating about it all is that, despite the fact that I know that La Tale is just a comparable knockoff of a successful concept, I still like playing the game.
Maybe it's the fact that I'm one of the very few guys who really enjoys the grinding aspect of some MMORPGs, or maybe I'm just a massive sucker for sprite related games, but I honestly feel that, even though La Tale is just a graphical recycle of 'tested' MMO concepts, it's still a polished game that is capable of delivering hours of fun. You can definitely settle down with La Tale as your main MMO, just don't expect anything groundbreaking.
P.S. I'm sorry for the pun in the article title - it's... just too easy...
Christopher "Pwyff" Tom