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Perfect World International Descent Review

Perfect World International Descent Review

Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment

Genre: fantasy MMORPG

Perfect World International Descent Reflections
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Perfect World Intenational
"Great example of a free to play game, butnot something that will hold the attentions of the more devoted MMO fan"" reviewed by Mat Growcott, Written on
Rating: 4 stars

Perfect World has a lot to live up to; the name alone sets your expectation high enough that anything below perfect is going to be disappointing. Released originally in China in 2005, the 6 years that have followed have seen the game played in countries around the world, thanks, no doubt, to the nice graphics, immersive design and beautiful score. But while it stands apart from similar games visually, the base gameplay is identical to the many, many World of Warcraft MMO clones on the market. You’ll spend most of your time questing but, to begin with, you must create your character.

Creating a unique character seems fairly limited although there are a fair few classes to choose from. You might not be able to have the character you want visually but in terms of gameplay you’re probably covered. I chose to be a tiger man (technically called a barbarian in the Untamed class) because, honestly, who doesn’t want to be a tiger man? It says something of the character design that the male version of the Untamed class is a muscled tiger and the female version is a bunny girl, but I would still say they’re the most interesting characters. The others are human enough to not really stand out from one another.

Chinese-fantasy setting

As soon as you load up the game, the Chinese-fantasy setting jumps out at you. The characters have a very oriental vibe, as does the music and this only sees an increase when you actually take control over your newly created avatar. The story, based upon Chinese mythology, begins when Pangu – bored of his never-ending solitude – separates his body to make up the elements: fire, metal, wood, earth, and water. Tired of his loneliness, he creates creatures from his shadow but soon realises that they are corrupted, turning his perfect world imperfect.

The Story

In an attempt to rectify his mistake he created a city, Heaven’s Tear, and placed there his uncorrupted creatures. Then he conjured up a flood to destroy everything outside of the city and he began again, creating the races you can choose from in game. He vowed to never destroy life again; little did he know that his flood had left behind the living dead, Wraiths, and that they hungered for the end of life within the Perfect World. This would be quite an interesting story if you were privy to any of it within the game itself. You create your character (it won’t take long) and then you’re dropped into the world without any real context.


Visuals are quite nice

You won’t be given a person to speak with, to give you a quest; you’re just given the controls and let loose. This would be fine if you were given an objectives compass or something like that, but you’re not. You can go into the quests menu and check out available quests but to force you to do this is clunky, especially as you continue through the game. After a few minutes and a little experimentation - involving lots of store owners telling you you’re too low a level to use their wares - you’ll finally get given a quest. This is where the nice-looking visuals start to look less impressive.

And in all fairness, they are quite nice. I imagine they’d look decent on a low end computer while still retaining a certain amount of charm. At full graphical power the game looks good but it’s hardly something that’s going to strain your graphics card, I especially like the way that light works, especially when the sun is in shot. As you can see in the pictures above, the developers have gotten into the Christmas mood and it’s snowing, but even with this extra graphical pull, it doesn’t seem to make much difference. It looks fit for purpose and, granted, you’re unlikely to find anything too amazing looking, but you shouldn’t be disappointed either.



Questing can be rather frustrating, not because the game does it particularly badly but because of the rather clunky map system. Questing itself is a standard affair, talk to somebody with a certain symbol over their head and then talk to somebody else, find some special item or kill a set number of enemies to receive experience and items. Continue getting experience to level up and continue levelling up to access more quests and items. It’s the World of Warcraft model in a nutshell and it never manages to stray too far from that, even in terms of wider gameplay.

Map System

That map system really is a hindrance though; it’s not a feature that’s a total annoyance but it’s not nearly as useful or as streamlined as it could be. In the top right hand corner you have your top down map and, on it, lots of little dots noting the locations of things like stores and quests. This shows a very localised view, although in all fairness to the developers it always seems to show quite a lot, even locally. This can make it difficult to find objectives without the help of the auto path, and the auto path is often the most painful part of things.

This isn’t an issue later in the game or if you choose to be an elf, you can easily fly to your destination. The developers chose to implement a straight line auto path for Perfect World, not a problem if you’re flying at a decent altitude but an issue if all you can do is walk. Using auto path while walking is more likely to have you running on the spot against a wall and you almost certainly won’t reach your destination. This is something of a strange decision, not only because of the reliance on auto path to find quests quickly and easily. If you need to go away from the keyboard for a moment, you’re probably better off not moving than you are equipping auto path, which completely nullifies the need for an auto path feature.

For such a big part of the game to work so badly – auto path effects the way you need to explore and questing on the whole – is more than a passing annoyance and it becomes a difficult barrier to get across. You spend most of your time walking around frustrated rather than following a journey and what seems nice at first soon becomes more of the same. This wouldn’t be nearly as bad if the quests themselves were worth searching for, if Perfect World offered something unique, but it’s the same sort of “my daughter is lost, find my daughter” things that fill this kind of game.

It's nice just to wander, thanks to the music and design

Thankfully, the questing isn’t the be all and end all of this game. The way the music is, the way the design is done, sometimes it’s nice to just wander. Sometimes it’s great to take in the sights, sometimes you’ll come across a couple of players battling it out and you can’t help but join the crowd. There’s a sense of calm in Perfect World that is rare in the genre, thanks in part to a spectacular score that I wouldn’t say no to just listening to alone.

The calm might be short-lived thanks to some of the other game modes which, unfortunately, I didn’t get chance to try out. Territory war, for instance, is a 80Vs80 player battle which I can imagine would be pretty epic. A quick glimpse on Youtube confirms that these battles are huge and if you can get into the proper game, this would be ample reward. And if you manage to fall in love with this game enough to play to the point where you could be at all helpful in these battles, you deserve ample reward.

"Unlike so many other games, Perfect World manages to actually live up to its setting"

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Honestly, it’s not a bad game. It has its faults, it has some problems, but on the whole it’s better than your average World of Warcraft clone. It offers the occasional unique feature and has enough people playing that there is plenty of opportunity to partake in the social side of the game. An average questing system isn’t enough to truly put you off, especially if you only plan to play for a little bit every day, Unlike so many other games, Perfect World manages to actually live up to its setting, you don’t feel it’s been added on as a gimmick, but the developers have used the source material to influence every step of development.

M. Growcott
2011 ©

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