Elsword Online tells the tale of a group of young heroes, all whom form part of the “El Search Party”. Named for the powerful tree which guards the land of Elrios – the Tree of El – the group finds themselves thrust onto a destined path: Discovering why the Tree of El has begun to weaken, and fighting against the evil forces which seek to keep them at bay.

At first look, Elsword is a colorful and unique fantasy game. Players choose from ten pre-set characters who each have their own backstory and range of skills (capable of being classed into rogue, warrior, and mage styles), including stats for speed, attack range, and playable difficulty. Through the use of unique camera angles, this MMORPG turns side-scrolling movement into a new style. Using a mix of quest completion, dungeon crawling, and in-game battles, players can level up and unlock new skills for their characters. For anyone concerned with being overwhelmed at an early level, this game has a safety feature in that areas are restricted with minimal level requirements, making this easy to avoid. The platform-style jumping and movement brings one back to the old Mario games – unfortunately, bouncing off your enemy’s head won’t kill them this round. Old fashion weapon and magic kills, or none at all.

Battle style in this game is – as said before – more NPC based, although there is a PvP arena for those looking to take on their friends (or in-game rivals). Enemies hurl insults, threats, and at times cries for mercy through text boxes situated above their heads. A damage counter on the left side of the screen informs each of player of how many hits they’ve obtained in each combo move, and textually cheers them on for each successful hit/range of hits. Enemies respawn in less than a minute, renewed and ready for revenge. Each player has a light (melee) and heavy (weapon-based) attack, as well as skill-based attacks of which are obviously more powerful, and consume “mana”. Players can easily replenish their mana by standing still – out of range of enemies, preferably – but their health will remain the same until either potions are consumed, or a level-up occurs.

Personally, I was not a huge fan of this game. The colorful graphics and fantasy enemies are pleasing to look at – and to fill full of arrows as an elf – and I enjoyed the fact that the side-scrolling technology got changed a bit, as I normally don’t enjoy this for MMORPGs. However, the movement is still ultimately just left and right, minimizing exploration. The game boasts a soundtrack, but it was completely silent for me, and just left me worriedly checking my speakers and sound settings. Leveling up takes a very long time, and I found myself quickly becoming bored, considering I could only defeat the same group of enemies, wait for them to respawn, and start again. Quests hold no notifications for completion, which puts the player at risk for wandering around, wasting time (as I did). If you’re a fan of side-scrollers with a twist, and don’t mind repetitive battles for levelling, this is the game for you. Otherwise, I’d have to say “not recommended”.