Here’s the thing about Crystal Saga…

As I surf the web looking for something to do during my summer vacation, I find myself thinking “My gods, RuneScape is boring now that there aren’t any free-to-play quests. I would play Dungeons and Dragons Online, but I’m stuck at that fucking Proof in the Poison quest that’s too hard to solo through and hirelings just aren’t gonna cut it. I’ve already scrolled to the bottom of Tumblr, I’m upgrading shit in War of Legends, there aren’t any new videos on YouTube, and I need to wait for more energy in Torn before hitting the gym. What else is there to do?!”

…Yes, I spend too much time on the internet. What’s your point?

Anyway, it is in these times of distraction drought that I turn to Google and try to find a game to play. There are flash games, of course,  but I find those to be too damn short. Dress-up games are alright, but what do you do afterwards with the outfits you’ve put together, short of posting them on Tumblr with a link inviting your followers to try it out for themselves? Honestly, I’m looking for a game in a genre that, while interactivity is encouraged, it isn’t essential if you are overpowered enough. In effect, I’ll generally look for an MMO to play more often than not. And that’s how I found Crystal Saga.

Here are my thoughts regarding this little number: the graphics make me wanna tear my eyes out. The characters have no depth, even my own. I swear, that script forces me to play a chipper, naive adventurer that, after having died in battle and brought back to life as a newbie, yips about at everyone’s heels looking for fetch quests to complete. My character is essentially a Chihuaua, which is a bit out of my usual style when playing a character. I’m rather fond of playing characters that will both accept your task to save your sheep and then turn around to smash your property in search of loot while you’re not two feet away. Is it too much to ask for a chaotic good option here?

I felt that the battle mechanics were a bit awkward, as I have to actually go into a battle before kicking the crap out of a mob, and the animations overall are not that impressive. I suppose my biggest irritant is the fact that your outfit is 1) basically permanent and 2) disappointingly unlike your avatar head-thing that you pick when you create your character.

I still played it, because hell knows I’ve got the time to pour into this game. I went with my usual class, the ranger, and I picked the avatar that looked like some kind of emo kid, black bangs over one eye in a manner that can only be described as “juvenile”. Still, I felt that it was the best out of the limited choices that were available. I picked “male” as my gender because all of the “female” class pictures were over the top in showing what their respective mommas gave them and, irritatingly enough, downright inaccurate. Take the female ranger image; the class can only ever equip bows of all kinds in game, but does she have one? No, of course not, that would get in the way of her cleavage!

I’ll be honest: if my character doesn’t look good or their appearance doesn’t make some kind of sense, I can’t play the game for very long. Take my male ranger, for instance. In what kind of universe does a ranger, who would probably spend their time stealthily sniping foes from a distance, wear a bright yellow unitard?? Add to that my avatar’s black locks that somehow didn’t make it to the character that I was controlling (who sported long, white hair in a decidedly elvish manner) and my irritation only increased. This system of presets seems to be in place, much to my chagrin; every other Ranger I came across also sported a bright unitard and flowing, white hair. What’s the point in an MMORPG if the level of customization is really, really low?

I know I’m horribly fixated on the way things look, but that’s pretty much all there is to do in this generic title. Unfortunately, the environment makes me want to tear my eyes out because it is so repetitive and bright. Call me a whiny bitch if you so please, but I can’t play when I’m supposed to actively click to slay 50-something of the same monster because, apparently, going AFK costs money or crystals or whatever. That’s part of what makes GodsWar Online (yet another MMO) bearable: slightly better graphics and the option of AFK-ing the mobs. I get that it’s part of their business model, to offer free gameplay and tempt the players into dropping $5 or $10 into the game through microtransactions, but paying for AFK? Not for me, thanks, and not when you’re demanding that I kill 100 Beach Crawlers.

Needless to say, I’ve decided to ditch Crystal Saga in favor of doing something that is slightly more useful: reading a bunch of random articles on Cracked. Would I pick it up again? Probably not without some core revamping or at least until they can suit up the Ranger class in something that isn’t quite so fluorescent.

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Filed under Summer 2012

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