Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Silkroad Online


In the past, the Silk Road was a major trade route that extended from Asia Minor all the way to Europe and the Roman Empire. Merchants and Bandits stalked these routes amassing and loosing fortunes in the process. It’s around this concept that Korean developer Joymax bases its free MMORPG, Silkroad Online (SRO).

His concept is really all Silkroad has in terms of a story. You play as an adventurer, choosing several pre-made males, females and demons hoping to make their fortune on the aforementioned silk road. That is the extent of the story in Silkroad Online with the idea being that you have no pre-set destiny and are instead allowed to choose your own path on the road of riches. In doing this, SRO avoids many of the typical cliché RPG stories such as being the chosen one and/or saving the world, but foregoing a story altogether is not a proper substitute.

What it lacks in story though, Silkroad makes up for in graphical presentation. Simply put, the graphics are amazing, considering the fact that this game is free. The world is completely 3D with a graphical style reminiscent of that found in Guild Wars. Character models are also excellent and feature small, clearly visible details in armour, weapons and skin.

The monsters are no slouches either, being drawn from Oriental mythology, ranging from tigers and bandits to Straw men and Demon Horses. It would have been nice if there was a similar range in terms of character models as you only have around ten to fifteen models to choose from.

As for the environments, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The cities, though there are only three, are beautifully detailed with each possessing a unique design.

From the traditional Chinese City of Jangan to the marble and jewel-encrusted Arabian City of Hotan, the cities are truly something to admire. The wilderness by contrast, is somewhat stale, with bland and repeating textures making for rather dull adventuring. Ever so often though, you come across an ornate landmark that shows that the developers put at least some effort into the aesthetics of the environment.

This all comes at a cost as the graphics will bring even some high end PCs to their knees; particularly when in the heavily populated cities. That’s not to say though, that by running the game on low graphics you will abolish lag. Lag in this will game be an ever-present problem with periodic spikes at random intervals and often at the most inopportune times as well as a spike whenever you enter cities. A lot of this lag has to do with the amount of players on your server.


Post a Comment