Order & Chaos II: Redemption is a remarkable achievement in mobile gaming. It is a fully functional MMORPG for portable devices, and succeeds at being an ambitious, stunningly large and beautiful game. Best of all, it’s free.
If you have played an MMORPG before such as World of Warcraft or Guild Wars you know what to expect. You are a player in a massive world, free to explore and complete missions for experience and items. The social aspect is what sets it apart from other open world games; there are hundreds of other players you can interact with. You can talk to them, join their parties and adventure together, or engage in player vs. player which is my personal favorite. There is something very satisfying about shooting someone named noobs_sux in the face with an arrow.
The truth is, I am not a huge fan of socializing in games. “Why play an MMORPG then?” you might be asking, and I’ll tell you. I love open world games, and MMORPGs tend to be some of the biggest. In the past I have been hesitant to fully engage because of the way they sometimes force you to work with other people, but I have not found that to be the case here. I have played by myself for the entirety of my experience, and have yet to run into any problems. Gameloft has achieved the delicate balance of allowing solitary players such as myself progress while also encouraging more social people to work together.
The graphics are excellent. The draw distance is surprisingly good even on lower powered devices, and the colorful, diverse world really captures your attention. I recommend playing on a tablet if at possible, it serves the purpose of seeing more of the world, and also helps with the interface. Every area is distinct, and varies from sprawling capital cities to beautiful verdant forests. I really can’t stress enough how large, pretty, and diverse the world is. I’m consistently impressed.
The gameplay itself is standard fare, though well done for the most part. You receive quests, usually collecting six of this, or killing six of that. The combat is very much like World of Warcraft, you have set abilities you can use that have cooldown times, and you basically tap until the thing is dead. The higher level you are, the more attack options you get. The combat is not difficult, and although there are some frustrating quests, for the most part it’s a manageable challenge.
There are also optional tournaments and “Dream Dungeons,” special challenges and levels that are timed. These provide a fun distraction from the main game, and it always seems like there are more to explore. With the inclusion of leaderboards, side quests and tournaments, it’s hard to imagine ever getting bored.
The interface is one of the game’s only weaknesses. While Gameloft did an admirable job replicating the inventory system of games that have an entire keyboard to work with, it still falls short. Menus are hidden, the interface is confusing, and especially when playing on a phone, it can be very difficult to access all of the features. Things like selling items to merchants can be a real chore due to some poor design decisions.
It is occasionally glitchy as well. It’ s difficult to make this criticism as the game is so ambitious, but there were a few times that I could not connect, or that I would be stuck in level geometry and had to force quit. Given the scale of the world and the fact you free to roam it this is forgivable, but nonetheless frustrating when it occurs.
Many people don’t care about the story in an MMORPG, but I do. I like to have a purpose when murdering thousands of virtual monsters, and a good narrative backdrop can make a big difference. Order & Chaos II: Redemption starts off with pretty generic fantasy trappings; I was rolling my eyes at the ridiculously dramatic intro. But as I played further, I began to notice something: the writing was funny. Consistently funny, in a very tongue in cheek way that I was not expecting. The game doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and I really admire that in a marketplace flooded with grim tales of death and apocalypse. The story itself is somewhat forgettable, I’m not sure I could even tell you what it is about (something about a big ass hammer), but the individual interactions are very memorable, and I do enjoy the informal writing style a great deal.
What I can’t stress enough is just how much content Gameloft is giving away for free. You can have two characters (and can pay for more) with whom you can play through the entire game. And the game is huge. I have been playing dozens of hours, and feel like I have only seen a little of what Order & Chaos II: Redemption has to offer. My first character was a ranger, the second a mage. Though the gameplay is similar, combat is a very different experience playing with a different class.
The fact that the game is free is extraordinary. There are prompts when you login to buy jewels or whatever so you can purchase in game fairy wings or a new jacket, and there are plenty of ways you could spend money if you were so inclined. But so many games give you sparse content and force you to buy the rest; in this one the paywall is entirely optional. I have spent almost nothing, and have never once felt that I was being deprived of anything substantial.
In short, recommending Order & Chaos II: Redemption is easy. The amount of content being given away for free is staggering, and I commend Gameloft for creating such a quality game and keeping the paywall so reasonable. This is how it should be done ladies and gentlemen. Despite a huge install size, occasional glitches, and a frustrating menu interface, Order & Chaos II: Redemption might be the most fun I’ve had with a MMORPG, certainly on a mobile device. I hope to be playing it for a very long time.
Also, noobs_sux, if you’re reading, I’m sorry I shot you in the face with an arrow. But you started it. ;D