I have to say up front, here and now, that Action RPGs are not my favorite. While I can appreciate fluid combat and a break from the normal MMORPG, they just never appeal to me in the same way as a more traditional MMO does. Going into the C9: Continent of the Ninth Seal VVIP Test I was excited in one respect but still hesitant in another. I’ve seen all the same YouTube movies you have, I’ve read the often hyperbolic press, and I know the game has been out over seas for quite some time, but I still didn’t look forward to the event as much as some others did.

After doing even more research into C9, I found myself wondering what this North American release actually had to offer. Was this the first multiplayer action game to hit our shores? Of course not. Vindictus has been out in the United States for awhile already and a plethora of other games in this genre have struggled to find a player base to support them. Did C9 advertise any particular feature that was so unique I felt like I MUST play it? Again the answer is no. That is not to say that Webzen didn’t do a great job splicing together some beautiful game trailers. In fact, they did create some visual stunners. In the end though when I went to sleep the night before the Press Test was to start I did not have dreams of C9 dancing in my head.

After 5 hours of gameplay on day one though, I did go to sleep with what felt like pixels burned into my retinas. I was enthralled. Besides the visual splendor we had already seen, C9 was, quite simply, a ton of fun. Sadly, there are many games today in the free to play market that fail to meet this oh so obvious objective. Getting into the game was a breeze through a fun but typical tutorial phase. Learning basic controls was made easy through the usual on screen tooltips and within 30 minutes I was already experimenting with abilities to find the best combinations for not only efficiency but also grading. C9 follows a format typical to the game’s genre. A few small massively multiplayer social hubs that provide shopping, gearing, an auction house, and quests. These quests in turn lead to the game’s instances where players will find themselves hacking, slashing, casting, and sometimes dying long into the night.

While quests themselves are typical, (gather x of these, kill y of these, kill z boss) each repeated run through of instances I had already cleared did provide additional routes I could take or even more area to cover as my story progressed. These instances also have numerous difficulty modes each unlocked by completing the previous difficulty setting. This aspect alone will have many gamers, including myself, running instances they have no quests for simply to unlock the next difficulty setting in an attempt to get better loot drops.

Boss fights are abundant and usually beautiful. Fighting enemies that are huge as well as detailed often involved dissecting a strategy and sticking to it. While the initial bosses are of the basic hack and slash variety, later bosses did require thought and often a death or two before a solid strategy was designed.

From a multiplayer standpoint, I only found myself grouping when I wanted to do so. I never had a requirement to do so. While some gamers may not like this aspect, I actually found it worked well for me. I was able to do just about everything I wanted to do to progress alone, but could group up if I wanted to do things faster or just with some company. While my quests didn’t push me into the extreme difficulty settings before they had already pushed me to a new instance, I can tell you that often times Master mode will require either a party or you being at a higher level than the instance to solo.

The three archetypes available to us, Fighter, Hunter, and Shaman, were enough to pretty much flesh out all party roles but the game really starts at level 20 when you pick which advanced class you actually want. Each of the three basic archetypes has 3 advanced types to select from and these advancements come with new skills and abilities to start trying to combo together all over again. Just like most other players that were in game, I could not wait to hit this advancement point and was not disappointed in the new animations and damage I was able to dish out.

While the VVIP test did also come with a Stamina system that actually limited the amount of progression you could make in one day, it is unsure if this system will make it to launch day. GMs representing Webzen in game have stated that it is still a topic of discussion internally.

The number one thing about C9, at least from the testing phase, was the community and the GMs in game. I hope for all the players that are eargly awaiting this title that this type of interaction continues after game launch. GMs were interactive, helpful, and above all KNEW THE GAME. This is another thing, sadly, that can’t be said about all games. Guidance, question answering, and even just general small talk were all handled by the GMs in a professional way. The community was all about helping each other and I saw little to no “trolling” in the test phase. I cannot stress enough to both Webzen and the C9 community how much I hope this level of courtesy and community stays in the game through launch. The communication between the gamer and the developer is probably the most important aspect of gaming and as of right now, Webzen has this nailed down in game.

Overall I enjoyed a great deal about C9: Continent of the Ninth Seal. The story didn’t have me captivated but at no point did I feel like I needed motivation to step into that instance for the third time. I did it because I wanted to, because I needed to or I would risk not getting that next epic drop. Visually stunning, a lot of fun, and a solid community make me hopeful that Webzen will keep their high standards and implement a profitable but logical cash shop, alter or remove the Stamina system, and provide the updates the game will probably need due to a rather fast leveling pace. All in all, C9 left me wanting to play more every time I logged off and my initial hesitation could not have been more unjustly placed. Well done Webzen and I look forward to killing your C9 monsters for quite some time.

By Mike Byrne (aka Magicman)

18 Readers Commented

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  1. Narutoboy on February 23, 2012

    I just played a bit of this game on closed beta and I have to say:
    The gameplay is so jerky!! I’m liking Vindictus(mabinogi heroes) much better so far.. and it’s been around longer than C9.

  2. ohhho on February 21, 2012

    Nice review, nice game, more one to the list.

  3. Seethius on February 20, 2012

    I enjoyed your review magicman thanks 🙂 i did enjoy Vindictus so thanks for the comment to Rinor, I think I’m gonna try this one out, hope its good
    Thanks

  4. Thisgame on February 13, 2012

    Played the VIP test, for about 10 minutes, everything about this game is out dated, it’s a remake of an old asian game guys, it’s nothing new and it’s absolutely terrible. Gender locked classes, graphics are dated, combat is buggy, english translations are horrible.

    • Kixvee20 on February 15, 2012

      All of that doesn’t change the final game, the gender-lock is present in both dragon nest and vindictus graphics aren’t bad if you have a good system and the combat is buggy because it’s still in beta or rather pre-beta same goes for the translations so give it time before you judge an unfinished product

  5. heman on February 13, 2012

    this game will be one more pay to win 😀 #fail

  6. SnowBros on February 12, 2012

    Is there any games out there with a similar battle style as Vindictus, and possibly the visual graphics of C9? I played Vindictus for a while, but the servers are terribly bugged and laggy, so I am looking for other games.

  7. Tapolo on February 10, 2012

    if you had to compare this with dragon nest and vindictus which one do you think is better?

    • Magicman on February 12, 2012

      Currently I would say C9 in my own personal opinion but I reserve the right to change my mind back to Vindictus if the C9 cash shop turns out to be pay-to-win. Fair enough? 🙂
      -Magicman

      • Tapolo on February 15, 2012

        nice decision i agree with mmos turning p2w and ruining the overall experience hopefully c9 would only sell cosmetics for its cash shop

  8. Ero-Shinigami on February 10, 2012

    When C9 was coming to the west I was happy but afraid of wich company was about to take it. Nexon whould be the worst possibility, but with vindictus already, I was sure it whouldnt happen. And whouldnt like Perfect World Entertainment either, coz they dont have very good servers and are too mercenary. I think Webzen was the perfect possibility. Their servers are good, with a huge international scale, and really few “paid bonus”. C9 was just awesome, really fun, was everything I expected, or even more. I hope they keep the good work.

    • TheGamer on February 10, 2012

      Yeah, among the West publishers/developers, webzen is one of the best, their servers are good and their games is good also, Perfect World is the Mercenary-King and Nexon is the Super-Mercenary-God xP, sad, but true.

  9. Badumtss on February 9, 2012

    can’t wait for open beta for ultimate nolifing

  10. TheGamer on February 9, 2012

    Well, iam playing the vip test, i must say that i played dragon nest and vindictus, and c9 is a mix of then, you got the graphics of vindictus with the skills animation of dragon nest, plus loads of fun.This was the only game that i found myself playing a instance lots of times, since the higher difficult, the more paths the instance will have, something like on easy you reach a local with 3 doors, and only 1 is open, in master, in this same place, you gonna have pass all the 3 doors to kill the boss, so its like the instance have changed, and the combos is something awesome to look, like see you char jumping and slashing and grabing and throw at the same time.I only hope the cash shop is gonna be balanced, the rest is just fine, and is true what Magicman says, everyday there is a GM online and lots of newbies asking questions, and the GM explain everthing.
    I really dont like action rpgs, but this one got my attention.

    Waiting PvP lolz

  11. Rinor Your Happy Kosovan on February 9, 2012

    Is this game worth trying out when it comes out i see it looks nice but in all fairness alot of good games are coming out should this be one of those to look out for? or should i look at other games for my entertainment?

    • Magicman on February 10, 2012

      Hello again Rinor!
      If you are a fan of action games then this is a must try hands down. If you sank time into titles like Vindictus then you will sink time here as well. If you are more a traditional MMORPG fan (like me) then you will still keep this around to break up what you are playing.
      Thanks for watching!
      -Magicman

  12. James on February 9, 2012

    c9 looks amazing and im the same im not a big Action mmo playing but this looks amazing xD cant wait to tryi it

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