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Cabal Online review

Cabal Online review

Cabal Online: The 3rd Awakening

Genre: Free to play action MMORPG
Publisher: EST Soft

Cabal Online
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Cabal Online labels itself an Action MMO, something I find hard to believe. Considering that in recent weeks I’ve played the upcoming TERA – a game that can truly call itself an Action MMO – and Dynasty Warriors Online, Cabal doesn’t seem any more action filled than any other MMORPG on the market. In fact, if you want to name some of the games we’ve enjoyed most over the last few months (Age of Conan and Star Trek spring to mind) then this game is significantly LESS exciting than the average MMO. It’s a minor complaint, really it is, but I downloaded Cabal expecting one thing and got something completely different.

Cabal is another of those games I’ve struggled to get started. For a change, I’m not exactly faultless but there’s a couple of things definitely worth mentioning to anybody thinking about downloading and installing Cabal – if you rush in blindly there’s a good chance you’re going to make the same mistake I did. First and foremost, there are two different versions of the game: US and EU. If you’re from the EU and try to access the US servers (and vice versa) then you’re going to have a problem. The real trouble comes when you realise there’s no obvious notice on the US site to tell you that you shouldn’t download if you’re in the EU and, on top of that, no notice when you download the game and try to log in except for: “you could not connect to the servers. Try again later.”

Cabal Online review

Now that could mean anything really, and it’s only through a little light Google searching and a very lucky find that I happened to work out the territory problem. Similarly annoying (although this one really IS my fault) is that there are about 3 layers of security on Cabal. When I say there are more layers of security on my Cabal account than on my bank account, I’m only half joking. Obviously there are the usual measures to get past: username and password. The password must contain a letter and a number, not exactly standard but it’s becoming that way. From there you have to create a sub-password, a set of numbers which prove you are who you say you are and, thanks to random key layout, makes access to your account impossible.

This is where I screwed up. You see, sometimes if an MMO I’m reviewing asks for some completely unreasonable password (I was asked for something more than 12 letters the other day) or puts me in a situation where I can’t use exactly the same passwords I use for everything else, I tend to put in a random set of numbers and letters in the knowledge that if I ever decide to continue playing, I can always change it to something for suitable. I put in a random set of numbers for my sub-pass and was then instantly asked to repeat them. Had I been on the American servers, changing my password would have been as easy as pressing a couple of keys and answering my sub-pass security questions (another layer of security, the main password has its own security question).

Cabal Online review

Instead, on the EU servers, you need to go through a third party, submitting a ticket and waiting for someone to change your sub-pass for you. So, you’ve been warned, put in a set of numbers you’re actually likely to remember and, of course, download the client that is suitable for your region or else you’ll need to download the whole thing again.

And onto the game…

There are hardly any character creation options in Cabal, which is a disappointment. You get access to a set of generic, Asian-looking characters that you probably won’t care about enough to take the time to look all the way through. There are a set of different classes to choose from but, as we’ll see later, there isn’t really enough in the games mechanics that I can believe picking a different sort of character does much more than slightly change the animations. You can pick a set of different faces, all looking a little disgruntled, and that’s about it. Within seconds you’ll be re-entering your sub-pass – and boy isn’t it fun actually remembering that thing? – and you’ll be joining the world of Cabal Online.

Cabal Online review


Not picture perfect

Whatever else Cabal has going for it, it isn’t exactly the prettiest game in the world.  There’s a constant rain effect over the early portions of the game and, in all honesty, it constantly looks like a Looney Toons cartoon, raining on just your character and nobody else. There is a definite draw distance issue with that effect and it’s massively off-putting at times. While there’s plenty of colour around the place, there’s not enough to really make anything jump off the screen and that’s disappointing to people wanting to make the most of more powerful hardware. The obvious upside of this, however, and something that I’ve seen mentioned more than once on the Cabal promotional material is that it can run on any old system without the need for any upgrades.

Not a sound

I’d love to be able to tell you about the music but, unfortunately, I can’t get it working. I know that there IS music in the game and I know that my speakers are working, but I just can’t get the two things together. The music was set to off by default and, upon showing the “jukebox,” I pressed play and turned up the volume; nothing, nothing at all. For all I know the music in Cabal might be a masterpiece of note placement, an epic set of pieces that evoke every emotion, even some you didn’t know you had. Let’s be fair here, it seems unlikely, but it might be. This only makes it that much more annoying when you consider that I couldn’t get it working.

Cabal Online review


Questing, always questing

Like other games in the genre, Cabal generally has you performing some menial task for somebody you’ve met only moments before. You get a snippet of their life story – for instance, one lady told me she hated living where she did because the rain always mucks up her make up; “I AM a woman,” she explained – and then go off and kill something. If you’ve been playing MMOs for any length of time, you’re probably fairly tired of the whole thing and Cabal does absolutely nothing to shake it up at all. You’ll be killing the same sort of monsters, exploring the same sort of areas and doing everything you’ve done before. When I mentioned that the developers called this an action game before, it was exactly the opposite of this that I was expecting.

Tap and watch

An action game, as far as I’m concerned, involved a certain amount of, well, action. You don’t stare at a screen, tapping buttons and waiting for an animation to stop. An action game involves reacting to enemy movement, blocking when necessary and perhaps even an degree of control over your character during battle. Cabal boasts none of this, instead going for the standard “press 1 for regular attack, 2 for slightly more powerful attack, etc.” You’ll do what you’ve done in World of Warcraft and almost every other MMO you’ve ever played. This wouldn’t be so bad, but for the fact that the developers promised so much more by calling it an action game. As it happens, I’m lucky I haven’t fallen asleep whilst playing.

Wide population

Despite the fact that I can think of no better word to describe Cabal than “generic,” it seems that there are countless people running around dozens of servers. It’s always nice to see people playing and enjoying an MMO, something that rarely happens in the opening hours of any game, even the most popular. In Cabal Online it happens constantly and, while I might disagree with several of the phrases the marketing people have used to describe this game, the Online bit of the title certainly rings true. As well as several PvP servers, there’s a chat box and guilds to join as well, so there are plenty of ways to interact with your fellow players, not always something you can count on in an MMO.

Cabal Online

Cabal Online review : The Conclusion

Cabal Online certainly isn’t the best game in the world, but I can understand why there are so many people playing. The download size isn’t massive (just over a GB) and it’s not going to take an amazing system to get it playing. No, instead, Cabal is a game for people bored of browser titles but without the time, patience or internet allowance to get into something like Age of Conan. It’s for people who want something they’re familiar with, delivered in a new package. And on that, the developers have definitely delivered. If you want something really standout, however, you’re probably better looking elsewhere.

© 2012
by M. Growcott

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