Repost: E3 2010: Nexon America

I’ve covered some of the news for Nexon America’s titles, but for their E3 2010 presentation, it was a little more of introducing the library of their titles to unknowing American outlets and showing off their newest title Vindictus. I’m a big fan of the free-to-play genre and Nexon America or rather the Nexon’s Headquarters in South Korea is the oldest publisher for the genre.

Take Dungeon Fighter Online which has over 200 million users and is the biggest free-to-play title in the world.

So Dungeon Fighter Online is Nexon America’s biggest title featuring 2D arcade MMORPG action. With the five character classes including the newly released Female Gunner class, this free-to-play is all about instant gratification.

The sprite-based graphics are a throwback, combining that with 3D animations for the special attacks, the title is an interesting look at how free-to-play isn’t all based on visuals, but gameplay. It finally officially released right before E3 and can be found at the official website.

The other title introduced was Dragon Nest which is still in localization development for the United States. Releasing sometime in 2011, the title is all about “kinetic beauty.” The title uses a third-person over-the-shoulder camera and allows four players to play through the title.

Four character classes (Archer, Sorceress, Warrior, Cleric) all use a reticule for aiming, something not usually used in free-to-play titles. In the video shown, there are a huge number of possible combinations possible when attacking. There hasn’t been much more announced on the title, but even though it’s another RPG, it is different from Nexon America’s other titles.

Vindictus was the final title that I saw and actually played a build of. Focusing on “elegance and brutality,” the title does that by using the Source engine from Valve. One interesting note is that Nexon America worked with Valve previously when helping release Valve’s titles in the Asian markets. The title looks impressive using the engine with great physics and visuals. I was actually surprised on the detail of the characters, and since Nexon America’s character designs are very much Manhwa-influenced, those designs were realized in three dimensions.

The hands-on demo only allowed for two possible characters, but the full title will allow for customizable character creation. While it looks more inline with recent MMORPGs, Nexon America’s touch is noticeable in the title. Movement is controlled through the keyboard with attacks through the mouse and hotkeys for other actions. A nice extra was the ability to kick and throw spears, which use an arc trajectory and chase camera.

The title doesn’t feature a reticule like Dragon Nest, it does assist in attacks slightly by attack enemies in a general range. The demo featured a smaller area with general werewolf enemies and spiders shaped like skeletons which were an easy kill due to the hyped demo characters. Attack with the left mouse button were weak attacks and the right button was the strong attack. The title also was capable of created combos with both attacks.

An interesting touch is the armor system in the title. Armor can be equipped down to what Nexon America calls “under-armor” or UNDERWEAR/SKIVVIES. Basically armor during combat can be broken off and destroyed from the characters. A nice touch is that when armor breaks, it breaks during combat and is lost until characters return to down and have it repaired. So it’s important be be careful not to lose all of a character’s armor or they could be running around in their “night clothes” which is why Nexon America is giving customization and armor down to under-armor. I wasn’t able to see just how armor equipping worked, but I’m curious to know what kind of styles will be available.

Vindictus contains destructible environments, traps, and small environmental puzzles to open new areas, but the demo focused more on the combat. Enemies did drop items that can be picked up, but it wasn’t necessary in terms of the demo.

The demo ended with a battle with a Gnoll Chieftain or a big-ass red werewolf that had armor and a gigantic sledgehammer. Accompanying the boss were more of the general enemies who were actually wiped out by the Chieftain when he swung his hammer around. With the environmental destruction, almost everything on the ground can be picked up and used as a weapon. The quickest way to defeat the Chieftain was to pick up pieces of rubble and throw it at the Chieftain dazing him, moving in and completing a quick combo before dodging back out of his range.

It was a quick battle, but the demo showed huge potential and is even tempting me to jump on board once it releases. The recommended specs were released and here are what they are:

Dual Core Processor
GeForce 7600 and higher
WinXP and higher
6 GB+ HD space
Direct X 9.0c and higher

So it’s not a huge powerhouse, but does need a capable computer (something I might not have unfortunately, more specifically the graphics card).

I think Nexon America will continue to evolve the free-to-play genre and remain the top publisher in the business. Now I only have to learn more than the basic Korean that I know to communicate with people in the company so I don’t seem so much like a jackass.