Tobold's Blog
Monday, January 28, 2013
Akaneiro: Demon Hunters

I've been playing Akaneiro: Demon Hunters this weekend, a Free2Play action RPG from American McGee, currently in open beta. Don't get confused if you read that it looks Asian: Akaneiro does not look like the thousand other Asian Free2Play MMORPGs. Instead it has a very unique art style, cell-shaded, and obviously inspired by old Japanese woodblock printing. If you always wondered how a game would look if it had been designed by Hokusai, Akaneiro is probably as close as it gets.

On gameplay Akaneiro is much less original. It follows the tried and tested Diablo formula of clicking on mobs and looting. Akaneiro is mission-based, with a village serving as central hub for vendors and trainers. You only get xp and karma, the universal currency, if you complete a mission. That is somewhat tricky, because once you beat a mission for the first time, the difficulty (called "threat") of that mission varies on subsequent play-throughs. Missions get harder over time, while demons "overrun" those places, but once you go and clear them out, they drop back to "secure" and easy status. You can also spend karma to adjust that difficulty.

Speaking of which, karma is used for absolutely everything. Buying gear from vendors, buying skills, buying buffs, buying pets, combat rezzes, and unlocking regions (which simultaneously raises the level cap). You earn karma for completing missions and killing mobs, or by selling loot. Or you can buy it for real money. Unlike many other games, Akaneiro does not have two separate currencies, one for real money and one only gained in-game. The advantage is that there is nothing in the game that is reserved for paying customers, but the other side of the coin is that you can buy everything except experience points for cash. If you don't want to pay real money, you'd better watch your priorities, e.g. saving up enough money to unlock the next region and raising the level cap before spending your karma on skills or gear. But if you manage that, Akaneiro becomes a better deal than Diablo III, as there is no initial purchase.

Check out Path of Exile, it is a great free2play Diablo 2 style game made by a great company. No pay to win, awesome item and skill system, nothing but good things to say about the game.
Very interesting concept. It does indeed look like Hokusai himself worked on some of the environments. Character design looks a bit like American McGee's Alice (of course) with a dash of Little Red Riding Hood and other figures from European folklore, plopped into Medieval Japan.

In a nutshell, it looks like "American McGee's Alice and Friends in the World of Ninjai the little Nina". And it looks good.
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