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Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions

Prius Online: Closed Beta First ImpressionsPrius Online is a free2play fantasy MMORPG previously released in Japanese and Chinese languages and that i was anticipating for long, and now is on the way to being released on English by GPotato. I must admit that i missed the biggest part of the beta due to my diving trip to Egypt, but i managed to spend a few days in Prius Online Closed Beta and here are my impressions on the game. It’s always hard to sum up your thought on a new game after you can’t get in anymore. Also, because i only spent a few days out of all time i probably saw much less stuff than anyone who were playing from the start, so i am not going into revealing any dramatic details or such. Just talking about what i saw and how i thought/felt about it.

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions When you start the game have to create a character out of different races and classes, then shown an introduction movie and offered to play in Prologue or to skip it if you have seen the thing before. During the Prologue you fight some villains, get killed and find yourself being reborn in your native village with no memory of yourself. And that’s where the actual game starts!

The good

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions What i always liked about Prius – it’s the graphics. Of course, you can’t compare Prius visuals to AAA projects, but for a F2P game that is also several years old Prius visuals look pretty much good. The bright, vibrant color palette adds up to the game’s impression. While some objects are being noticeable blocky, there are still plenty of places where you can say the game looks beautiful. Character models look best of all – with enough polygons and stuff, female models even have bouncy boobs like those in Lineage2 (but at the same time they don’t look as slutty as LineageII’s elven females do, which i approve of!). Animations are good enough too.

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions Next best thing is that Prius has voice over’s. Most of the NPCs really talk to you, at least for a little. When you engage in a conversation with NPC, you get a close-up of that person and a dialogue window. They will speak to you by both voice and text, and will show several different animations to appear more lively – like wiping their brow, for example. While following story quests – now and then – you will be shown cut-scenes made with the game’s engine, and occasionally even movies (when you meet Anima, for example).

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions It is not very clear to me who Anima is and why she’s tagging along with you, but i must say Pedobear certainly approves – Anima system is next to revolutionary! We’re all used to classes having pets in human form, simple creatures with simple AI who’ll fight or tank for you, taking the most simple orders like “attack” or “halt”. Anima here is something very different, she has a much more complex AI behind her. She’s not a pet but more like a character from The Sims – while you can command her to cast a spell or gather a plant, she still has her own moods and need and can disobey you completely or sunk in sulking for a long time, refusing to cooperate unless time passes or you please her with a gift.

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions She has her own levels and skill that you can develop just like your own character’s, and she has her own stuff to wear that you can buy for her. She even has her own quests, some of them you’ll be able to access only in Anima Mode – a special mode when you leave your character’s body and directly command Anima. There’s also some sort of “enhanced Anima” that appears to be working for a short time, when Anima looks like a teenager rather than a child and her stats are enhanced. From time to time Anima expresses her feelings and interest, and how you react to these expressions is affecting your relationship with Anima and her attitude towards you or the world. Different actions lead to her being in a specific mood, for example, if you do a lot of harvesting she’ll get into passive mood, which means she’ll do more healing than fighting in a combat.

Prius Online: Celero transport system Another very good thing about Prius Online, is that the world is easy to go around. There is a developed transport system covering every corner of the Prius world. Points that are close to each other are connected with Celero stations – Celero is a mechanical animal-like thing used instead of horses – you can use very cheaply, but as your route is getting longer it costs more and more. Cities are also connected with the portal gates that also lead to your private apartment.

Prius Online: atrium (character home) Yes, in Prius you have something of a private home right off the start. It has some potential for placing items in it but i found only 4 hooks for that purpose, one of which is occupied with a bed that you can move around the hoods, but can not rotate or use (my character just walked right through it), which is a shame. Well, at least it has some storage space to use! Also, there are NPCs working in your home that are offering quests to Anima and are overall useful.

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions There are also different systems in Prius gameplay – some are quite standard, while others are not. As a standard example i would point that Prius has private mounts for sale, including even something similar to a carriage where your character is placed inside of the thing rather than sitting on top of it. Mounts appear to be sold on timely basis and will expire, i am not sure if there are any permanent mounts yet. The less standard system is Donation system. There are special NPCs that will accept money or donation certificates, and the top donors list is displayed for everyone to see. Donation certificates you’ve being given from time to time, and when you donate you get a bonus – usually a special coin for Anima’s gear shop.

Prius Online: crafting Prius Online also has crafting system, but i did couldn’t hit it in time before the beta ended, only saw gathering process. Both gathering and crafting is done by your Anima. In Prius world you can’t just go off and pluck out every plant you see, because then some mean abomination of nature will appear to defend the plant and beat the crap out of you for hurting it. Anima, on the other hand, is capable of “talking” to all living things so she can gather plants and tame animals (did not tried the taming part, though). To start crafting you’re also supposed to have a crafting station (like an oven for cooking), acquired during a quest, but i did not got that far :(

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions There is also a in-built security system that is supposed to get bots out of business in Prius. From time to time you’re shown a window with several different pieces of images and need to pick one the same as highlighted one, before a timer runs out. If you do it right, you get a bonus to your stats. If you fail, you’ll get a warning and after several fails in row you’ll be automatically transferred to your bind point (i.e. a city gate you marked). While getting for prolonged AFK period may be a bad idea in Prius, this system is supposed to fight bots because they couldn’t decipher the images.

Prius Online: Gygas Gigas is a system that i cannot tell you anything about. I only know they are huge, powerful robot-like beings and somehow connected to player characters. When you play in the Prologue, you’re allowed to use a Gygas for a short time and it’s pretty cool, and when you go into your private home there’s a station for seeing Gygas stats, but i had not seen anything of Gygas besides that.

The bad

The very first thing i noticed, is that GPotato changed starting screen and they totally sucked at doing it. When you run the client, you’re present with a 3D scene, and when you’re creating a character, you see a 3D scene too, rather than just images of available races and such. I played in Chinese beta for a little, and here are screenshots of what Chinese and GPotato versions respectively look like:

Prius Online: Closed Beta First ImpressionsPrius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions

Prius Online: Closed Beta First ImpressionsPrius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions

Well, don’t know about you but i liked the Chinese version much more – green and calming – and was disappointed they changed it so much :( Character screens look differently too:

Prius Online: Closed Beta First ImpressionsPrius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions After you create your character, there is a long movie shown to you that is supposed to fill you up in the story of Prius world’s misfortunate events and after that you’re offered to play in Prologue (or to skip it if that’s not your first time). In Chinese ver. i couldn’t make anything out of it, but English version wasn’t much clearer there either. The movie had no speech and the text was out of the screen faster than i could read it all (hope they will adjust it before the release), plus i suspect there are also translation problems, because sometimes it’s really hard to grasp what is going on – at least, for me. I am not sure if what happened in the opening movie was happening *before* the game started or it’s a some future event.

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions In the Prologue you’re shown how to move, fight, pick up items and then suddenly you turn into Gigas – a giant robot-like thing that kills other giant mobs, which is actually kind of fun, but how it’s connected to the opening movie events and what the hell is generally going on (what i am doing there? and who are these people?) is still unclear to me. Also, the plot revealed during story quest line sometimes made not much sense at all, characters just blabbing cryptic nonsense. When a game is getting translated to Russian they usually make it unreadable at best, so i suspect a game being translated to English is not getting a much better treatment.

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions The private home could also use more features. In The Lord of the Rings Online players being bragging for years about how LOTRO home system is outdated and not at its best, and LOTRO homes have tens of hooks for stuff, plus replaceable wallpapers, floor and background music – all of which Prius homes totally lack. On the other hand, Prius has other stuff to compensate for the lack of hooks.

And the ugly

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions Actually, i was very surprised by the amount of bugs they had in CBT. Click-to-move is working pretty well for the most time, but it’s possible to click in a place where your character isn’t supposed to go but will try nonetheless and get stuck trying or run in an opposite direction than you wanted. Camera falls behind the ground level. Quests not making sense due to bad translation and voice over’s not playing as intended… And, worst of them all, some of the English characters aren’t displayed right but instead replaced with some signs, which is very annoying and confusing.

Prius Online: Closed Beta First Impressions Yes, it’s closed beta testing, it’s supposed to be bugged. But Prius Online has been out for years on Japanese and Taiwan markets! They had their own betas, patches and stuff – are they as bugged as well or GPotato made their own bugs during the translation process? I don’t know but i really hope all of it will be fixed before the release. Prius had no tool to submit bugs from the game itself, but at least GPotato staff told us to report bugs on the forums and that every thread will be taken into attention.

Overall impression

While bugs spoiled it a little, i still very much liked what i saw. Prius Online looks to be a promising game – with innovative parts of design and bright beautiful graphics, it’s certainly worth looking into. I’m looking forward into playing Open Beta, which ETA is unknown right now, but is supposed to take place somewhere in early June according to Prius forums.

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