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ZENONIA® 4 Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on December 28, 2011


ZENONIA® 4
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Sharp, high definition artwork; easy to follow action no matter how crazy it gets.
  • Engaging story for returning fans; newcomers not left behind.
  • Easy to drop in to PvP; take the fight online for additional rewards.

CONS

  • Experience and item drops tweaked to force 'out-leveling' encounters; can also be 'out-skilled', but only by hardcore players.
  • Usual concerns regarding less than stellar translation and controls.
  • Character classes lack creativity; retread of previous roles.

VERDICT

Zenonia 4 doesn't necessarily build upon its previous titles so much as it leans on them to create a summary of their mechanics and storylines, bolstered only by a sharper presentation; still a great pick-up for returning fans - just beware the frequent progression blocks to justify its price tag.


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For those who have followed the Zenonia series from GAMEVIL, the best that could be said of each one is that they have learned from their previous iterations, tweaking and adding tiny features to remain competitive in the KRPG scene. Zenonia 4 represents a shift from this trend as it feels more like a broad summary of the previous titles while taking the game in a new direction by handing out the game for free.

With this price-point comes some obvious changes, the largest being the scale of difficulty compared to the experience and gear earned. Like so many Action-RPG games, there's an element of grinding as you relentlessly beat down enemies as either a melee or a ranged character, unleashing powerful skills to clear the screen and harvesting items left behind to potentially upgrade your gear.

Sadly the gear earned and the experience metered out (even when taking in to account all available side-quests) doesn't add up and mini-boss or boss encounters become a true nightmare, sapping experience, gold and durability (which translates to more gold lost) when you die. This can be ignored if you put down some cash and purchase premium items to ignore these penalties, but the challenge of the encounter remains. The arbitrary inclusion of pace-halting encounters simply forces players to either grind to out-level an encounter or drop cash on various items (equipment, boosts, and so on) to side-step these requirements.

It's an utter shame as the game is otherwise one of the best KRPGs the developer has put out on the App Store, boasting an engaging story that brings together all of their previous titles while also featuring the sharpest graphics for the series to date. The usual concerns with regards to the controls being insufficient remain, but returning fans will feel at home and unless you regularly engage in online PvP (a fun and easy to take part in distraction) you'll not have to worry about occasionally pressing the wrong button.

Messing with the leveling and difficulty curve in such a way as to force grinding is a near unforgivable sin when it comes to an RPG. It kills smooth story progression and reduces Zenonia 4's gameplay to one of pure numbers and bars that keep going up. If you're thinking of picking up this game, the old adage applies here - nothing in life is truly free.

Screenshots

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