RPGs on the App Store was all started by one game and one game only: Zenonia. Yes, some can argue that Chronicles of Inotia was the first, fully-featured RPG; but in reality, it was a pretty sad excuse for such a game. Zenonia was the first true RPG that I’ve played on the iPhone, and because of such a demand, Zenonia was wildly successful.
But now, that demand has been, for the most part, quenched with releases such as Inotia: A Wanderer of Luone, Final Fantasy I and II, Ravensword, Dungeon Hunter and more. Zenonia came in without any competition whatsoever; Zenonia 2 strides in with its neck deep into competition.
So can Zenonia 2 withstand all this competition and come out of the muck as great? Well, you’re about to find out.
Menu redesign: Gamevil’s menu redesigning was not for naught; I was actually quite pleased with the entire menu system. It isn’t the best, and it sure could use some slight improvements, but overall it was much better than the one in Zenonia. It was easy to navigate through, and while there were some annoying parts in the UI, it was acceptable.
Character appearance: This is one part of the game that I thought was pretty neat. And while this is an expected feature that is almost always overlooked, it should be noted as the first one didn’t seem to have it. And that would be your character changing appearance once he or she wears an article of clothing. This allows for hundreds of combinations, and for those interested in fashion, I think you’ll be impressed.
Content: I’m nowhere near to finishing the game, and just like the first, it’ll take you more than just a few hours to complete the game.
PvP: The PvP mode that’s included in the game is very impressive; one of the most interesting modes I’ve seen in an RPG. This may have just been the redeeming point of the game, and it works very well.
For those wondering how it works, there is an Arena Official NPC within the game. You can talk to him, play a quick match, and you’ll be connected to the server. Once it connects, you will be pitted against someone that is close to your level and strength. The PvP mode records your win-death ratio, and you can even put some nasty opponents on a “Death Note”, or in other words, a rival list. Through my experiences with this mode, it worked very smoothly and very quickly; my magician couldn’t hold against the other classes.
Graphics and animations: There’s no improvement from the first. This is the part that really gets me, and while I understand them trying to “stay true to classic gaming”, it would have been nice to upgrade the visuals and improve some of the animations. The pixelated graphics and whatnot could look a bit clearer, and again, I was disappointed when I saw that none of the visuals were improved. The iPhone is basically a handheld gaming system, not some normal cellphone that can only handle 8-bit graphics.
Nothing really new: For those who didn’t like Zenonia, you won’t like Zenonia 2. Zenonia 2 doesn’t add much to the whole Zenonia world in terms of features, and all it really is is an expansion pack. New enemies and new areas to explore along with new weapons and characters, but the features themselves are few and far. Yes, the PvP mode is impressive, but other than that, there’s nothing really new. Prove me wrong if you find some cool things, but to me, it just seemed like there was nothing new.
Controls could be improved: I honestly don’t know how they can be improved, but they need to be. It’s for sure that the d-pad control scheme is the only way this type of game is going to work; how the implement it is the tricky part. It’s not the d-pad size or shape that’s bothering me though… it’s the camera angle and placement. The top-down view on everything makes it hard to maneuver on the bottom left-hand side of the screen, and moving down was almost impossible. Unknown enemies could be waiting right underneath your thumb and you wouldn’t even know it, making for some frustrating moments. I honestly think that Gamevil has done all in its ability to make the controls work, but still, there are some gaping problems with them.
Kill this, kill that: There’s a lot of grinding to be done in Zenonia 2. And I’m not talking about the dance move, I’m talking about endless hours of just leveling up to survive the next task. This part of the game is quite monotonous, and some may find it too boring to keep going on. I, for one, hate just killing monsters to try and complete a quest, and Zenonia contains some of the most grinding I’ve ever encountered.
Despite all these shortcomings, I’m still enjoying Zenonia 2. It’s not like it’s absolutely horrible and I never want to see it again; I just think that there should have been some graphical updates along with some changes to the actual gameplay. For people who loved the first one, they will love the second one; it’s as plain and simple as that. But for those on the other side of the spectrum, you’re out of luck; the sequel is almost the exact same thing as the original. The PvP mode is a nice addition to the game though, and I must say that it is one of the most interesting features I’ve seen in an RPG.