I recently got my hands on a Beta Invite for Lucent Heart, Gamania’s latest MMO, and I’m disappointed to say that it’s just a glorified dating platform set up with some cutesy graphics and a bash the monster component.
“Why the hate?” you might wonder, when Lucent Heart’s a game about how love (and love-mania, apparently) makes the world a pretty, pretty place?
Well, that’s because once you get past the anime style concept art, the googly eyed sprites, the happy-happy-joy-joy backdrops and the saccharine colors (it kinda feels like the developers were acid tripping here), you’re pretty much stuck with a game that leaves a whole lot to be desired – both conceptually and mechanically.
For one, the game isn’t new. It’s been around in Japan for awhile now before making the English port, so the technology and overall appeal behind it is pretty dated.
Also, the fact that you have to jump through hoops and get up to all sorts of shenanigans just to register for an account on the Lucent Heart website, as well as the fact that you have to deal with a clunky, web based launcher interface that’s a real hassle (it isn’t Chrome friendly either by the way) just to start up the game can be a real put off.
When you finally get past the character creation, you’re stuck with an interface that’s cluttered and unintuitive, and only two classes to choose from.
There’s little in the way of customization opportunities, and with only two career paths – either as a melee fighter or a magic user – your options are hampered.
Sure, you get to specialize when you get high leveled enough, but come on, people. We’re not looking to play a 3D version of Maple Story here. I’d like to have my mage capable of casting fireballs early on, and my paladins who can sprinkle holy water on the ground, thank you very much.
Is a little variety too much to ask?
At least the game’s mechanical frills aren’t entirely hopeless.
Daily Horoscopes provide a set of attribute buffs that can net you better XP and treasure rewards and crafting bonuses.
The Zodiac powers also looked promising, providing a series of passive and active buffs (as well as a nifty Zodiac armor power that’s not too shabby visually) but they don’t really stand out enough to matter.
Overall, the graphics didn’t particularly impress me.
There was nothing new to set it apart from all of two million other MMOs out there boasting anime style art, and big eyes, small mouths aside, it looked just like any other MMO from two years ago. That is, passé.
The particle effects and costumes, which I’d presumed might have been at least inventive, considering that the Japanese cooked this up, looked pretty mundane to me.
Animations were actually lag-tastic, and no thanks to server instability, a cause of frequent disconnects both in and outside of town.
Music was acceptable though, but the endless looping, and cheery beats, started to annoy after awhile.
In terms of concept, there’s no real world spanning meta-story to speak of either.
There’s some very overt Saint Seiya-esque references in there, and talk about Rifts (oooh, Rift, anyone?) used by monsters to invade the world, but other than these very blatant concepts, you don’t feel like you’re part of anything significant.
I mean come on, even DC Universe Online, with it’s ridiculous premise, lets you in on something grand. And hell, it’s at least original. Here, it’s just one endless Fetch-and-Gather quest after another.
It’s obvious that Lucent Heart’s real aim is to encourage otakus and keyboard bashers who spend way too much time in their mom’s basement to get together and procreate. That’s why a large component of the game focuses on the dating and matchmaking aspect (it’s also likely related to Lucent Hearts tie-in with GamerDating, which is what Singapore’s Social Development Network should aim to be, if it wants to get gamers here to make more babies).
There’s some novelty to it, but with so many manginas (and by manginas, I mean males playing female toons, masquerading as females) in the virtual world, I bet you a lot of happy relationships in Lucent Heart are gonna end in tears and heartbreak (hurhur).
Call me skeptical, but I’m not feeling the love for this title.
There’s just no heart in it.