This article is sponsored by UNDECEMBER.
There have already been a number of ARPG games released throughout the past few years. In a genre that existed for decades, one could be forgiven for wondering how a game outside of the established giants in the industry could make something gamers will want to try out. However, the Korean video game publisher LINE Games’ UNDECEMBER accomplishes just that, making for a new and exciting addition to the genre.
On the surface, it might be difficult to understand how UNDECEMBER stands out amongst a crowded field of games. At first glance, it looks like your typical modern top-down hack-and-slash journey (although the graphics and art style will no doubt be a plus from the beginning). However, once the adventure begins, gamers will soon realize why UNDECEMBER is one of the freshest hardcore ARPG games in a long time.
What makes UNDECEMBER stand out from other games is its dedication to customization and in-game freedom. The greater RPG genre — everything from the ARPG to the MMORPG — is known for having strict class systems. Players choose a class, which in many cases can smooth out a lot of the personality and charm of the game’s adventure. Everything can go on a linear path, making the player feel like their character is being put together on an assembly line after a while. UNDECEMBER goes against this traditional formula, opting for a free-form character class system.
By free-form, we’re talking John Coltrane wanting to shake things up during a jazz performance. The amount of customization and control the game offers to players is very impressive, allowing players to build out their character in a way perfectly suited to their play style. Started out the game with a sword, but you want to cast magic? You can do it. Decided to choose a magic wand, but want to give enemy poison ailments? No problem, go for it. Have a bow and arrow, but feel the need to summon some minions just for the heck of it? Easy, it’s already done. In UNDECEMBER, the only limits to your characters and how you build them out is your own imagination.
How this works in line with the Gear system is with the Zodiac system. Strength, Intelligence, and Dexterity are the three base stats that may all be upgraded for each character. You will receive points to allocate into one (up to three) of those three categories as you gain levels. When reaching level 10, the Zodiac system expands to show additional specialized talents.
In addition to this, there is also the skill system referred to as Runes. Players will gather Runes that allow them to use various methods rather than unlocking particular attacks at predetermined times. You may equip them at any moment using a hexagonal grid system, even though some of these will require certain weapons to use.
If that was the only positive attribute of UNDECEMBER, it would make for an already very enjoyable game. However, it’s clear that LINE Games wanted to make a memorable experience and did everything in their power to do so. Many of the other facets of UNDECEMBER — visuals, content, accessibility — are very well done.
Something that will hook gamers into enjoying the game for a long time is the impressive amount of content available to play. Not only is the story detailed and immersive, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg in the world of UNDECEMBER. After the initial 10 Acts in the main story mode, players can spend time facing various challenge dungeons, work with friends in co-op raids, and face off against others in PvP. All of these additional game elements are well put together, and paired with the game’s superior combat system, it makes for an experience that gamers won’t want to put down for quite some time.
The visual in UNDECEMBER are eye candy, pure and simple. Everything has a strong level of polish that makes for an immersive and interesting world to explore. The flashiness and fast-paced animations make the combat more satisfying and engaging, and the detailed artwork of the Rune and Zodiac system are as good as any game out there.
However, it’s not always only about what you can play in a game, but how you can play it. In this regard, UNDECEMBER offers a strong amount of customization (similar to in-game). The game offers many different ways of experiencing the fun: mouse and keyboard, touchpad, etc. While many games offer these options, many times the controls on some of the adaptations can feel uncomfortable and unnatural. With UNDECEMBER, though, everything from playing with a touchpad to a gamepad controls like a dream. More than that, the cross-play opportunities allow for people to play any way they want, without sacrificing the ability to enjoy the game with other players.
Overall, hardcore ARPG fans have a lot to be excited about with UNDECEMBER. The game perfects the qualities that make hack-and-slash games fun while also introducing new elements to give players something new. The customization, accessibility, and personalization make for a game that anyone can enjoy.