Cabal Online, brought into the South-East Asia region by AsiaSoft. This is the third MMORPG that got me addicted enough to train a character above the average level and left me playing more than... 3 months! (Yes, MMOs don't last me longer than 3 weeks usually...); Made alot of great friends and as usual, cross alot of b@5t@rds as well. It has really nice graphic and special effects, and typical with any MMO I like - its FREE!
Graphics - 3.5/5
It should came to be unsurprising that MMOs nowadays spot great graphics. Just look at the newer games on the shelves, from the likes of World of Warcraft, to Guild Wars, to Granado Espada, and to some-not-so-famous MMOs as well. Comparing to those, I wouldn't say that Cabal offers exceptional graphics but still it pleasants the eye, scores a mark above the average MMOs you find on the net. Coupled with special effects such as lightings, shadows, water effects, spell effects, distortions, it really pulls off to be quite a fluent flow of graphic. There really isn't anything not to like in it.
Music - 4/5
The other element that caught my attention was the music playing in the background. Browsing through the game's forum, it was said that the music was taken from songs and modified into the game. But anyway, its one of those elements that you take note of, and wouldn't trade it away for your personal Windows Media Player (Ok, atleast before you got bored of listening to the music over and over and over and over again).
Sound effect wise, its pretty cool, not anything unbearable except for certain mobs (ok, I lied.. most mobs!) which makes you feel like stop hitting them (I was in Ruina Station hitting buffaloes, that I thought my speakers was gonna burst due to the high squeaking noise made by them every time I hit them!). However, the sound effects from spells are cool!
Special Effects - 4/5
They make really nice skill effects for every class. One of the reasons you are grinding so hard is really just to see that skill in action - albeit it wouldn't be a useful skill (in particular, classes like Force Blader and Force Archer).
Gameplay - 4/5
I remembered when I invited my friend to join me in Cabal, he said he didn't want to and only wished me "Good Luck in leveling". Well, Cabal is one of those games where you wouldn't need to spend hours of grinding on mobs and yet you don't see any progress. I would say Cabal is one of the easiest MMO around to train a high leveled character. Nonetheless, Cabal is not really a system of Level, but that of Skill Level. Grinding on Skill Level... is a different story all together.
The other interesting element of Cabal is the slightly out of ordinary quest system. You still go by killing X amount of monsters, or collecting X amount of items, but mixed in are quests that requires interactions with NPCs and place explorations. The quests are nicely fit in for first timers to learn enough about the monsters, environment and sufficient exploration into the area to recognize it. (However, the second time doing it, might be boring but lucky enough, certain quests can be skipped)
Oh did I forget to mention an interesting element in this game? Its the Combo Mode not seen in any other MMOs before. It is pretty much like some dancing/music games, where a meter bar will come out, starts filling up to a certain point and you need to hit the skill. This shortens cast times, enabling you to cast more skills/spells and guarantees 100% hit. Definitely a system more fun than just standing there keep hitting the same skills all the time with no excitement added to it.
Story - 4/5
Who would talk about a storyline in MMOs. Cabal is the first MMO ever that I take note of the story line. You learn about the storyline when doing compulsary quests. Yes, some do put you through alot of texts and dialogues but eventually you do take note of what is happening instead of just clicking "next". In the course of time you get to be fond of NPCs by their names... and dramatic when some of them dies near the end of the story. They even have ending scrolls/credits when you finish certain chapters of the story. Nonetheless, the story does end (quite short actually) and you'd be asking for more. Not the most epic/dramatic story, but the 4/5 score is for MMO, not the typical platform RPGs.
Latency - 4.5/5
As with all the MMOs that I'm fond of, is the idea of zero lag!! Yes, its a server based in Singapore, for the SEA region. With 3 servers and 32 Channels around, you don't see overcrowded places (except for Trade Channels) and definitely negligible lag and delays.
Conclusion - 3.5/5
This is one of those MMOs that I'd stick by and play for a long time (3 months is definitely long for me). However a huge drawback with the game is the really small world/places it has. After playing for 3 months at level 130+ (currently capped at lvl 170), you'll only be frequenting that same 5 places you started the game with.
A great experience nonetheless. Go try it!!
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