Lost Ark Review – An Exceedingly Mediocre MMO

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Lost Ark Review

  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

While Lost Ark has a lot going for it in terms of pure gameplay, the narrative is just okay and the visuals leave something to be desired.

  • Developer: Tripod Studio, Smilegate
  • Publisher: Amazon Games, KOR: Smilegate
  • Release Date: February 11, 2022
  • Platforms: PC

Pros

  • Free-To-Play
  • Great Combat
  • Build Diversity
  • Rest Bonus

Cons

  • Bad Character Writing
  • Clunky Animations

Lost Ark is a well-known Isometric MMORPG that was co-developed by Tripod and Smilegate Studios. The studio initially released it in South Korea, where it won six awards at the Korean Game Awards in 2019. And then in 2022, Amazon Games brought it to the West.

With several elements inspired by games like Diablo and Path of Exile, Lost Ark presents an intriguing fantasy world, and our review will cover everything you need to know about the game so you can decide for yourself if it’s still a worthy MMO in 2023. 

Story And Setting

Lost Ark Review - Still A Worthy MMO
Story.

When it comes to MMOs, the plot is almost never the major focus, but Lost Ark is a little bit different in that regard.

Arkesia was a world of tranquility, but everything changed when the Ark, a powerful object that held the light of order, was divided among seven gods. As a result, chaos and darkness began to spread throughout the land. To restore peace and order, players must take on the role of adventurers who must collect those artifacts to restore the Ark once more. 

The game’s story is divided into several chapters, each with a unique setting and characters. In each chapter, players will explore different locations and meet inhabitants, as they engage in large-scale battles against hordes of enemies. 

At times, the characters seem disconnected from their surroundings, and the dialogue can be very bland.

Lost Ark boasts almost 100 islands, each with its own self-contained story, none of which are too long to be fair. Most of them are undoubtedly enjoyable, and some are simply breathtaking. However, despite all of this, there are still some cringe-worthy aspects, such as the writing. At times, the characters seem disconnected from their surroundings, and the dialogue can be very bland.

Quests in the game also go beyond the main quests. There are also world quests, chain quests, dungeon quests, quests from NPCs, dailies, and event quests. By completing the main quests, players will unlock world quests, and Chain quests are interconnected side quests that lead to interesting rewards. Dungeon quests challenge players with difficult enemies and puzzles, while Daily quests refresh every 24 hours, allowing players to earn consistent rewards. 

Gameplay

Lost Ark Review - Still A Worthy MMO
Gameplay.

Lost Ark, an MMORPG, draws inspiration from popular titles like Diablo and Path of Exile, imbuing it with some elements of APRGs. Its greatest strength lies in its combat, which boasts a fluidity that’s both visually and mechanically satisfying. With enemies swarming in large numbers, players must rely on spectacular abilities to cleave through the hordes with ease, keeping standard attacks to a mere afterthought for finishing off the stragglers.

Gameplay is based on a point-and-click system, and there are plenty of hotkeys to mash on for consumables, items, mounts, and so on. It may seem difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it, the fights will be satisfying and worth the effort.

Lost Ark offers a diverse selection of six different character classes to choose from. Whether you prefer to get up close and personal with the Warrior’s melee-focused abilities or keep your distance as a Gunner, there’s a class to suit every play style. And each class has advanced subclasses that offer even more unique abilities. Unfortunately, the gender-locked classes may come as a disappointment to some players. For example, if you were hoping to play as a male mage, you’re out of luck in the current version of Lost Ark. But don’t let that deter you from trying out the other classes, as each one offers its own set of strengths and abilities.

Grinding in Lost Ark is a major issue as most players will find themselves investing hours upon hours, farming in-game currency and materials to upgrade their gear

After completing the tutorial, the first few hours of the game are just linear main story quests. It may seem a bit boring at first, but this all changes when players are given their ship and start exploring the world. The most exciting and thrilling part of Lost Ark is the end-game phase. It’s where players experience massive battles and have the freedom to choose how they want to play the game.

But to unlock this phase, players must first reach level 50. This opens up the gear-honing system, chaos dungeons, and guardian raids. This is a time when players can fully immerse themselves in the game’s vast world, engaging in a variety of challenging battles. Even with all this, however, the game is mostly about grinding.

Strongholds are also a thing in Lost Ark – a private customizable Island for players to own. Unlocked at level 25, this customizable island offers players a chance to craft, earn silver, and complete daily quests. The best part? Once unlocked, it’s available to all of your characters. But that’s not all, the Stronghold is also a hub for leveling up your low-level characters, making it an essential feature for anyone looking to progress quickly.

But the benefits of Stronghold don’t stop there. There are various facilities available, including a pet ranch, character training, and even a station for your very own ship. Granted, not all of these facilities are available right away, but as you level up your base, new options become available to you.

Grinding in Lost Ark is a major issue as most players will find themselves investing hours upon hours, farming in-game currency and materials to upgrade their gear. However, once a certain level has been reached, honing gear further becomes increasingly difficult. The failure becomes more frequent, and currency and materials are also lost in the process. This leads to a situation where players are forced to pay for upgrades, creating a pay-to-win environment where those who dish out cash progress faster than those who don’t. For players who want to invest months or even years in the game, paying will be their roadmap. It’s a shame though, as there is much to enjoy in the game, but this issue may cause some players to move on and explore other titles.

Lost Ark also features a Rest Bonus that rewards players for missed days. It doubles the 50% unused rewards from Chaos Dungeons, Guardian Raids, and Daily Quests. It’s a welcoming addition for players who can’t play frequently, but there is a catch. The maximum days you can skip are five, after which, you’ll miss out on your dailies. Even if you use your full Rest Bonus, you’ll still lag behind other players who play daily, usually by one or two dungeon runs.

Visuals And Performance

Lost Ark Review - Still A Worthy MMO
Visuals.

Lost Ark offers a visually pleasing experience with its realistic anime-like graphics, vibrant environments, and rich landscapes. The art style is colorful and eye-catching, but unfortunately, that’s where the visual appeal seems to end. While the game tries to provide good action animations, most of them still feel clunky and outdated, particularly the walk cycles, which are particularly bad for female characters.

As for the soundtrack, it’s difficult to provide a solid opinion on it, as it often fades into the background. While it may not be particularly great or epic, it’s still acceptable. However, the voice acting for the characters is simply not up to par. Coupled with the bland dialogues, it can be a turn-off for some players, especially those who value good storytelling and immersion in their games.

In terms of optimization, Lost Ark performed well during my playthroughs. I didn’t encounter any major issues, and the game ran smoothly for the most part. However, I did notice some minor frame rate drops during intense on-screen action, but these were not significant enough to affect gameplay. If you’re looking to maximize your FPS in Lost Ark, be sure to check out our guide on the Lost Ark Best Settings For High FPS & Performance.

Verdict

Lost Ark Review - Still A Worthy MMO
Verdict.

Lost Ark offers a well-balanced and immersive gameplay experience full of exciting features. The inclusion of various character classes, each with their unique skill sets, adds an extra layer of diversity to the game.

And despite the lackluster character writing, Lost Ark’s gameplay is incredibly engaging and makes up for any shortcomings in the story. Although there are some minor issues with optimization and the animations of the characters, they are not significant enough to deter players from the overall experience.

This has been our Lost Ark Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

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