Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr South Korea-based developer Lion Games Studios prepares to unleash its free-to-play Anime-Action MMO SOULWORKER to North American audiences. Choosing from a roster of colorful characters, players fight their way through over 100 post-apocalyptic dungeons in solo or co-op mode. SOULWORKER features direct action control, thrilling PvP, and intense battle sessions – all crafted in a unique art style that’s sure to captivate anime fans. Courtesy of Gameforge — SOULWORKER 2018 First released in Japan in 2016 and South Korea the following year, SOULWORKER’s version for English-speaking audiences – published by Gameforge – entered Open Beta in February 2018. PC players can currently access the game on Steam or through the official Gameforge website. The Story The shadow of death covers the ground, ravaged by chaos and destruction. A portal, known as the Void, allowed sinister demons to cross over into our world. Their goal is to eliminate all humanity. Fortunately, the gods bestowed a shimmer of hope upon humanity: the SoulWorkers: children who once were lost to the Void and who have now returned to Earth. Equipped with supernatural powers, they have the potential to put an end to the dark forces. No matter if you choose to play solo or as a team, both paths lead to the same endgame. SOULWORKER can be played at varying difficulty levels for group sizes ranging from 1 to 4 players. The ‘SOULWORKERS’ Courtesy of Gameforge — SOULWORKER 2018 Currently, four characters are available to play (with two more on the way) in the English version (the original versions sport six characters, with two more on the way). Each character has their own unique weapons and skills. Character skills can further be improved by leveling through quests and dungeons. Additionally, players also gain access to more skills as they increase in level. Erwin Arclight His natural charms let Erwin spin his admirers’ hearts into a tizzy. His supreme confidence is only overshadowed by his extraordinarily curious nature. The former TV star knows no fear. He faces danger with an over-confident grin painted on his face, and his two Gun Jazz pistols in his hands. (“Gun Jazz” needs to be a new musical genre, STAT). Haru Estia The warm-hearted Haru lost everything she held dear. But don’t be fooled by that shy and timid exterior. Deep inside her burns a flame fueled by her lust for revenge. Her dutiful soul forged the noble yet deadly Soulum Sword that has become her one true companion. Lilly Bloomemerchen Lilly, whose badass demeanor makes her our personal favorite character, loves to antagonize and always has a cutting remark to hand. When the demons descended upon the world from the void, they killed her only friend. This event let loose Lilly’s madness and her soul manifested as the deadly Mist Scythe. Now she fights the horrors of this new world her own way – the more brutal, the better. Stella Unibell First of all, how can you not love a character who fights evil WITH A GUITAR??? The baby of the SoulWorkers, she’s as vulnerable as she is cute. Stella is a branded child, whose soul screams through her Howling Guitar. The heart-wrenching chords that this girl plays sound out the end for many a foe. The well-meaning demon that lives inside the instrument will defend Stella to the end. The original version of the game also features two additional characters — Jin Seipatsu (a brawler) and Iris Yuma (who fights with a hammer). Hopefully, they will debut in the English version soon. Why OVERWATCH Is Still Successful Gameplay If I had to describe SOULWORKER’s gameplay in three words, they would be, streamlined, flashy, and fun — plain and simple. Most MMOs have a steep learning curve. The player, more often than not, must navigate menus upon menus, having to read so much dialogue to even get started. SOULWORKER’s curve is much more gradual — the game strikes the perfect balance between mindless button masher and the most extensive MMOs. SOULWORKER manages to pull off this feat because both the game’s gameplay and structure are easily accessible but hard to master. This means that even the most casual gamers can pick up the game without much difficulty. Now then, let’s figure out what makes SOULWORKER’s combat so addictive: SOULWORKER — The Combat: Of the available characters, I opted to play as Haru, though I am very curious to see how the other classes play. Courtesy of Gameforge — SOULWORKER 2018 Gameplay starts with a brief tutorial. From the start, it is possible to run, jump, roll, and perform a simple three hit combo by spamming the left mouse button. Admittedly, the tutorial led me to believe that the game’s combat is mindless. You click until you win, is there any more to it? Luckily, the introduction of skills changed my mind completely. Each of the four characters has a specific skill tree to level up. Like most other MMOs, these skills are mapped to the number keys — 1-7, in the case of SOULWORKER. Each skill has a varying effect and is accompanied by a stylish animation. To top things off, players can customize chained attacks, which necessitate pressing one button repeatedly, as opposed to frantically hitting multiple numbers at once. As an example, one skill causes Haru to charge forward with a sword thrust. Let’s say I map this skill to the ‘one’ key. I can then map the next press of the ‘one’ key to activate a skill that causes Haru to do a wide spinning slash, and then the next to cause Haru to slam her sword to the ground. I’ve barely scratched the surface of SOULWORKER’s combat, but the combo possibilities already seem endless. We’re done looking at SOULWORKER’s combat, so let’s dive into the other half of the game. SOULWORKER — The Game’s Structure: Just like SOULWORKER’s combat, the game structures itself to be accessible to anyone — I’m very thankful for that. I can’t stress this enough, it feels great to jump headfirst into an MMO and actually know what to do. This success can be broken down: SOULWORKER is fun to play due to its streamlined towns and dungeons. Rocco Town — SOULWORKER’s First Hub World: Shortly after completing the game’s introductory missions, the player turns up in Rocco Town. Rocco Town is your typical MMO starting area but sized down a little. The town’s smaller size is important: Every NPC is viewable from any point in town; nothing is hidden/hard to find. Also, all of the important NPCs are close together to minimize time spent in town. I’m having flashbacks to playing RUNESCAPE, and having to climb a whole castle just to get to the bank — SOULWORKER is substantially more efficient. Courtesy of Gameforge — SOULWORKER 2018 Speaking of NPCs, Rocco Town contains with all of the usuals. There are vendors for weapons and clothing, a banker, quest-givers, and so on. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Lastly, the towns are the only places in SOULWORKER where players can interact with many others at a time, as a dungeon party size caps out at four players. Expect to see a lot of players attempting to trade rare items for ridiculous amounts of in-game currency. The most significant thing about Rocco Town is the ease of access to the game’s dungeons. SOULWORKER’s Dungeons: SOULWORKER’s dungeons take on a different form than that of any other MMO I’ve played. Rocco Town has multiple exits that take the player directly to a dungeon — there is no large overworld to run across. I can definitely see why others would take issue with this, but I find the lack of overworld to be convenient. It lessens the time away from the action. The dungeons themselves split into four sections, not too dissimilar from the original SUPER MARIO BROS. Each section contains wave after wave of enemies to take down, capped with a large boss battle. These bosses can be pretty tough, so random button mashing will not get you anywhere. Courtesy of Gameforge — SOULWORKER 2018 What I find most impressive is that each dungeon looks completely different from the next. The tutorial area is sterile and white and the player combats against robots. The second area presents a post-apocalyptic city overrun with giant wolves and spiders, and the third area contains creepy clowns and mannequins for the player to fight. I want to keep playing the game just to see the next dungeon designs. Lastly, I am relieved to say that grinding has not been much of an issue during my time playing SOULWORKER. There are plenty of side quests for the player to take on, and these usually require visiting previously completed dungeon sections. The game, luckily, seems well balanced, so no need to grind outside of the side quests.Dynamic Content Is The Future Of MMOs Overall: SOULWORKER’s Gameplay Playing through SOULWORKER has been a pleasant surprise. I expected an MMO that would be a headache to delve into but instead got the most accessible MMO I have ever played. The game feels, looks, and sounds great, and I am honestly excited to play even more. I have a few minor gripes, such as not being able to set up a lefty control scheme, but nothing that hinders the gameplay experience as a whole. Overall, I’d recommend SOULWORKER to anyone looking for their next casual MMO fix, or a new, fun game in general.