What I’m Playing: Zenonia


What I’m Playing: Zenonia

by Chuck

Hello there gamers and PCSH fans! Usually Joey does the What I am Playing feature but, I thought that I would take a crack at it as I am playing something new myself and work his side of the street. The game I will be reviewing this week is called Zenonia and it is for the PSP, Nintendo DSi, Android Mobile, and the IPhone.

Zenonia is an action role playing game released by the popular gaming company, Gamevil, a maker of games for the mobile phone platform. They feature such casual games as Air Penguin but, their real talent and success is with their line of games like Zenonia. Zenonia was created to fill the gap in RPGs on the mobile platform and does so very nicely.

The Story

Zenonia follows the life of Regret, a young man whose father dies mysteriously thus leaving him on his own. As he travels, doing side quest after side quest, the more the mystery unfolds. Regret’s journey’s take him far and wide, meeting many unique characters as well as facing many incredible challenges.Along the way, Regret runs into many situations that force him to chose what action to take and, suprise suprise, these choices actually impact the story line. This means that each gaming experience is user specific and will shape to the choices you make. This is overall a unique feature that separates this game from many of the others on the market but, beware, it is somewhat limited.

There are two groups in the game, the Dragon Clan and the Holy Knights, forces of good and evil. Apparently Regret’s father may have been a Holy Knight gone rogue. This leads to many of the plot points in the story and ultimately may be the chief mystery in need of solving though, the side quests and other plot points add depth to this game. The dialogue is at times somewhat stilted, at others well crafted and even funny when necessary. There is genuine depth to the main character and the side characters.

One other note: At the start of the game you are given a choice in character type. Intial stats, skills, and weapons and armor are different depending on which choice you make. You can choose between Paladin, Warrior, and Assassin. Be very careful as, the choice comes out of nowhere and once it is made, you are stuck with it.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Zenonia is very basic in terms of character control and action. There is a D-Pad in the left, bottom corner of the screen and an action button in the right. These two controls do most everything in the game such as walking around, attacking, talking to other characters, and interacting with shops and stationary items. In many ways, this can be viewed as a positive because it simplistic though, some gamers may get bored with the controls because they simply lack variety.

This is a shot from the game itself. The toolbar as I am going to call it is fairy basic. As I mentioned before, the D-Pad is on the left and the action button is on the right. The arrow button beside of the action button toggles between the four boxes on the bottom. this is where you can quick slot  four items and four attacks. These are activated by a simple touch of the screen on the Droid and are very quick to respond. The green bar at the bottom is an experience points gauge that alerts you to your leveling status. The yellow gauge is for SP. SP points are what allow you to use special abilities. Some abilities require more than others. Once an ability is used, the gauge depletes and must be allowed time to refill. One other note about the SP gauge; this is a gauge that also correlates to how energetic your character is. If you character is tired or hungry, less of the SP becomes available. In order to widen the gauge and get more out of you character, you must feed him regularly and visit the inn in each town. The red bar is health and finally, the sun and moon displays time which is important in the game as some components to the game are time specific.In the top left corner you have a map that is very detailed. In the right corner you have two things, the first is your item bag which brings you to a multipurpose screen that contains game options, stats, quest log, and item inventory. The other thing is in game messages that relate to your character’s stats and skill points.

This is the menu that is accessed by pressing the item bag.

Traveling in the land of Zenonia can be easy but is more often a little on the tricky side. The map outside of towns can be very geographically difficult as trees, larges stones, and elevation changes plague the field. Since the map is very small, it can sometimes be difficult to see exactly where you have to go to get to one of the many green colored exits.

Cornered by enemies in one of the many dungeons. One thing that I do like about the map is the enemy encounter system. The enemies free float and can be attacked directly or avoided, depending of course on the method in which you choose to employ. One disadvantage to the way this game approaches enemy battles is that there is a lot of room for you to be ganged up on by multiple enemies. This causes a myriad of opportunities for you to get clobbered in the middle of nowhere.Have no fear though, there is a teleport system in the game that you can use to get back to town in a hurry. Also, if you are cornered and do die, the game has a built in system for handling it. You can use either a Liquid of Life(if you have one) and simply continue or take a penalty and continue anyway. The penalties are either money based or stat based, depending on which you choose.

Enemies drop the same kinds of items that usually get dropped for the most part. Potions, scraps of food, mid grade weapons, and accessories. There are however; special items and higher grade weapons that can be picked up in the field from enemies. In some areas of the game, these are plentiful and at others they are very scarce. Each enemy also gives experience points as well as money. Each enemy gives a unique amount of money but consistent experience points.

The last thing I want to mention about gameplay is the strange realism about items in the field. Items, as I mentioned, are sometimes plentiful. In a normal RPG, you can just grab them and go. In this game however, everything has a weight and, your character has a maximum weight that he can carry. If you exceed this weight you move very slowly, attack at a much slower rate, and burn energy faster. The character even gives the appearance of struggling.

Weapons, Items, and Etc.

The weapons system in this game are very unique. Your choices in weapons depend on which class of character you chose at the beginning of the game(I went with the standard Paladin). Paladins can only use small swords and sabers while warriors get large swords and lances. Assassin seems to be the coolest class as they get to use two swords. One thing I have become frustrated with is the weapons level requirement. Certain weapons, even if found or bought early, can only be used after you have reached a certain level. This holds true for pieces of armor too.

Weapons also break as do accessories and armor. There is luckily a blacksmith in each town as well as a do it yourself hammer available to fix things on your own. The blacksmith can also combine items as long as they fit certain criteria. Clicking here will take you to a much more articulate source on the subject as I am still working with the system.

There are item shops, weapon shops, inns, and clan areas in each town. Each shop sells more or less the same thing and the weapon shops carry a little bit more as you progress but, not by much. The clan areas are host to which ever regime you originally chose at the beginning and are a source of the main quest. Side quests can also be picked up here but can also be picked up anywhere in town.

The side quests mainly focus on killing something or collecting something for someone. They are all very similar but offer bonus experience points, some rare items, and money. There are a few side quests though that provide nonessential information such as secret item locations and secret shops.

There are two special shops in each town. The first of which belongs to the Item Gal. She sells some heavy duty stuff such as examine scrolls, liquid of life, experience point enhancements, and a lot of other stuff, most of which is very pricey. The other shop is the secret merchant shop. Special weapons are sold here that can be combined in the blacksmith area. Also, special foods and potions are sod through this venue as well. This shop can be found during specific times of the day in each inn in each town.

Overall

Overall I am still playing and still enjoying this game. I have been playing it for 20+ hours and still have a lot left to do before I beat it. For the price, $0.99, I have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of this game. There is a lot in this game that is good. The story is pretty solid as is the gameplay. There are few aspects of this game that I am unhappy with. One site I read that reviewed the same game complained about its graphics. I actually love the graphics because they are reminiscent of the old school SNES 16-bit graphics used in RPGs of the time.

If you have any of the systems this is available on, get it. It is worth your time and is priced very well. After all, it is what I’m playing.

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