Lineage 2M, review of the new mobile MMORPG from NCsoft



The Lineage 2M review talks about how NCsoft tries again the mobile approach for its famous MMORPG, between evolutions and classic inspirations

There is little to disquisition on the strangeness of video games that are played alone, because the autoplay is now an integral part of the mobile meanings of the RPG in general and MMOPRG in particular. So let’s clear the field (partially) from the usual arguments to face the review of Lineage 2M, because otherwise we fall back into the same issues already addressed several other times in the past. As a matter of fact, this system was massively introduced in the first wave of online RPGs for mobile platforms, of which Lineage 2: Revolution represented one of the major exponents. We can almost consider it now a distinctive feature of the series that could not miss even in this new evolved version of the NCsoft game for smartphones.

With the series having been a mass phenomenon in Korea for years now, this 2M represents a project designed specifically for the mobile market and therefore focuses on certain choices made for the best possible enjoyment in this context, particularly in terms of interface, controls and graphics.

It remains a brick of considerable proportions, let’s be clear: starting from the installation that requires almost 10 GB of space to have the full content available, Lineage 2M just reiterates how the traditional MMORPG is a genre technically difficult to transfer to mobile platforms, as intrinsically heavy in terms of technical and quantity of content.

If this seems to be absolutely no problem in its country of origin, in the West where people often look for lighter and more dynamic experiences on smartphones this considerable weight of the game can be quite a deterrent, given also the huge amount of resources required to make it work at its best, in terms of hardware, display and battery consumption. In any case, those who want an MMORPG experience rather full and close to the origins, at least as atmospheres, can find some satisfaction in Lineage 2M: already the attack is simply epic, with an opening sequence that illustrates a great siege with lots of dragons and the appearance of the super villain, stuffed with CGI cutscenes and dramatic fights.

Mobile MMORPG between evolution and classicism

In Linage 2M characters are linked by appearance to race and class

The setting is very classic starting from the story, which stages the usual quest of the elected (“Inheritor” in this case) that, once awakened its special power, must launch into the fight against the evil Etis, through different environments and completing a huge amount of missions, including elements PvE and PvP.

Respecting the classic features of the genre is a bit ‘the main element of all Lineage 2M to tell the truth, starting from the same concept of the game: the idea of Ncsoft is to bring the MMORPG from standard PC on mobile platforms and, to do so, even in this case has followed the same approach already used by Lineage 2: Revolution at the time (here our review) and several other similar titles, transferring as much as possible en bloc the standard features of the genre from computers to mobile devices. This in itself involves various problems due to the different screen sizes, hardware and interface peculiarities, things that have led to adopt the autoplay solution to streamline the inevitable cumbersomeness, but introducing, in this way, a system even more tedious because it is based simply on a linear progression and merely “numerical” with regard to the evolution of the character.

This new chapter improves something in this sense: the interface has been designed from scratch to work better on smartphones and is therefore much clearer and more practical than that of the original Lineage 2: Revolution, as well as the combat system is streamlined and more dynamic, with a technical construct also with regard to the graphics that is much better suited to mobile hardware while maintaining a remarkable richness, scaling resolution and performance when necessary in a convincing way.

Lineage 2M, a boss fight

On the other hand, there are still some problems and in some ways there are also some strange steps backwards compared to current standards: the customization is penalized by the absence of a real editor, which is strange considering what they offer competitors, as well as classes and races can be a bit ‘reduced to the bone. There are five races (human, elf, dark elf, orc, dwarf), each linked to a single variant as the sex of the character and which in turn have virtually the same types of fighter (knight, warrior, mage, archer, cleric). A choice, this one, which recalls the origins of the classic MMORPG but may be a bit ‘limiting compared to the systems of customization, progression and specialization seen elsewhere.

Some good idea emerges in the combat system, which allows the use of a considerable amount of special skills also spectacular, but the main problem remains the gameplay: the structure is based on fetch quests and fights definitely repetitive, while the control system with the typical uncomfortable touch screen inevitably pushes towards the autoplay. You can detect, at least, an attempt made by the developers to limit this mechanic, which becomes compulsive with the need for grinding: in the most advanced levels becomes clear the need to explore more deeply the environments, going in search of Codex and other items needed to unlock more special skills. This further exploration, in some cases, cannot be done automatically, thus pushing the direct control of the characters, but these are mainly secondary quests, while the main parts of the game can be easily automated.

Comment

There are several good things and several problems to be noted in Lineage 2M but what mainly emerges, in the end, is that it seems a game a bit ‘out of time: while the world runs after Genshin Impact, which despite its free-to-play distortions represents a dynamic and fresh evolution of the mobile MMORPG, NCsoft basically proposes the old vision linked to autoplay and graphic opulence. It is an interpretation perhaps more faithful to the PC tradition, but still fails to translate optimally on this type of device, for intrinsic technical limitations and mode of use, so the adaptation is always forced and not very enjoyable. Basically, it’s the same problematic situation we saw with the old Lineage 2 mobile, only with some improvements in terms of graphics and interface that doesn’t hurt but ultimately doesn’t change the cumbersome and unfun nature of this type of games on smartphones.

PRO

  • Spectacular graphics and classic MMORPG atmosphere
  • Notice the effort to improve interface and control system
  • Some game phases prompt you to turn off autoplay
  • Grinding and repetitiveness remain key elements, compounded by autoplay
  • Less deep than others in terms of progression and customization
  • Very heavy on space consumption and hardware resources required
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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