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LONG BLOG

Closers Review (PC) - Updated 12/28

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It says its Closed Beta, but it isn't. They already have regular updates and are basically trying to profit off of a few people before it official goes free to play in a few days. Amazon/Twitch Prime is giving away keys. If you really want to play this game, I suggest you head over to Code Closers instead. They sadly have at least consistent translations across their game. My keyboard requires me to hold down the FN key in order to take screenshots so I have a really hard time getting combat ones.

Just an FYI, but the Founder's Pack only gives you costumes for ONE character, not five like the picture shows. Just a warning in case you are thinking about spending the money on the pack.

EDIT: Added some notes on end game activities

Story:

The story is rather fragmented. You are one of the Closer Agents who are trying to deal with the Interdimensional Breaches. You travel through the areas and face different enemies, some of which want the breaches to remain open and others to exploit for their own purposes. And that's basically it. There's no deeper story. Every section of the game has its main villain and often introduces the villain of the next section in it as well. There are hints of another organization, but that leads nowhere. The game currently ends at the International Airport where the twins story line leads nowhere and the boss you constantly fight at the International Airport just literally flies away after every fight and that's it. That's how it ends.

Graphics:

The game uses cell shading to give that cartoon look to the characters. If you do not like it, then it is going to be rough as everything looks like that. Every region of the game has its own enemy type, but there is very little variety in them. There are about three types and then the rest are boss monsters and some boss monsters will appear as normal enemies later on. The skill effects are plain, but it works because it prevents your screen from getting filled with so much stuff that you have no idea what is going on. It can still be a problem if you are playing with a group though, so be careful about that. It is just less cloggy than a game like Dungeon Fighter Online.

Gameplay:

The game is basically a Dungeon Fighter Online with updated graphics. You fight from left to right across a few sections in each stage. You can move in any of the eight directions, but you can only attack left and right. It makes it difficult to hit enemies above and below you, especially since you cannot walk through them. Hit detection is okay, but there is a lag between when you attack and when the damage actually registers on the enemy HP bar. I found this to be a annoying, but you will get used to it after a while. Other than that, the controls are pretty solid with a simple yet great combo system.

Each stage is fairly short. They are divided into sections with most maps only having two and some having three. They also reuse a lot of assets so you may see two different stages being very similar and only changing it up towards the end. One stage was literally just the other stage with rain instead of sun. On average, most stages will be finished in under 2 minutes and thirty seconds with the exception of the 4th difficulty that is available starting from the third area in the game. Those can be finished in just under 3 minutes.

In order to unlock content, you have to complete the story quests. There are side quests, but they can be completed with the main quests at the same time. They will make you run through every stage on every difficulty, so it can get repetitive. Towards the end game, expect to run each stage 7 or more times to complete the quests. What changes between difficulties is the strength and number of enemies you have to fight. In higher difficulties, more enemies will have special attributes as well that makes them take longer to kill. It does not actually make the fight harder though as enemies are weak. The biggest problem is that the super armor gets harder and harder to break and once they get past Super Armor 6, bosses just have ridiculous damage reduction and it becomes basically impossible to combo them.

Each character unlocks skills as they obtain levels and a higher rank of Closer Agent. The first one is around level 20 while the second one is just over 40. Each one comes with additional skills and this is where the game does some of its best and some of its worst. You have skill points to level up skills and at certain levels, the skills gain additional effects, such as additional hits or having a second cast effect. These skills are generally much stronger and you can even get some mods to install onto the skills to increase their power further. The problem is that you do not have a skill tree to see what is available. Skills just appear when you level up. Crowd control skills completely break the game as they cancel everything that enemies do. The only enemies who are immune to crowd control abilities are the special solo only bosses that you fight as part of the story. They reappear in the special grinding areas and are immune there as well.

What ultimately hurts this game is poor design in many areas. The strongest bosses in the game are the story bosses, which they force you to fight alone with an invisible health bar for the most of it. They use a fatigue system, but make you rerun stages at least three times for progress. Crowd control skills is overpowered due to strong enemies having armor that prevents them from flinching and crowd control being able to ignore it. Solo quests screw up playing with friends and forces everyone to play separately for that stage. Public groups are bad because you can queue only for 1 minute and if no one joins, the queue is automatically cancelled (I've only seen 2 other players in game at the moment). Eventually, the end game just boils down to grind to get materials to get the key so that you can grind for epic gear, resulting in a double fatigue system. This where you have to grind other content to acquire keys to grind for what you really need.

Level 55+ is where this starts to rear its ugly head. The end game here is unlocked in the form of Dimensional Rifts at the Planar Gate. Here, you unlock something called PNA, which has node like upgrades. You're going to spend about 8 million coins (you should have close to 11 million if you didn't buy random things) to unlock the nodes. Then you have to grind in order to level it up to use the better ones. The main story also unlocks a "Receiver" type item, which is just an extra equipment slot. You essentially have to grind in limited dungeons to collect items needed to craft the end game gear and use spare coins you have to buy, dismantle, and upgrade various PNA items. It takes dozens of dismantles and around a million coin for a single upgrade so you are better off just grinding higher Dimensional Rifts for them. Sadly, the rarest item you need basically only drops if you have Platinum Premium. You also get a lot more of the second rarest, which can be crafted into the rarest ones you need, making it a heavy grind that will take you a month just to craft the first epic tier weapon. Premium here is essentially the equivalent of having 50% more energy to spend than non-payers in addition to guaranteed drops. Another problem is that you only get PNA experience while grinding in the Planar Gates and nowhere else. Oh and make sure you don't play the newest character, Levia because for some stupid reason her level cap is 60 instead of 65, making her unable to use any of the end game items or farm any of the highest difficulty end game dungeons (those require a minimum level of 61, 62 in some cases).

You can tell that people just got lazy on working on the game. In terms of stage design, there are tons of repeats. Once you get to the Gangnum Evac Center, you will start noticing tons of repeats. Some are literally the old stages with rain or backwards. Others are the same stage in a slightly darker shade. At some point, it feels like they just gave up. Things get better once you reach the Planar Gates, but even lots of bosses there are just reskins of old enemies, including about half the bosses. There is also a big problem with scene transitions. Some stages are broken into segments, but you basically have to sit through load screens, jumping animations, and sometimes even dialogue in the middle of combat, which makes it frustrating considering how short the stages are. Because of this, it feels like there are lots of breaks and pauses in combat, which can get annoying.

In terms of gameplay, Mistletein's skills frequently get normal enemies frozen and stuck, basically allowing to free shot them until they die. Some bosses make use of this mechanic on you though, causing you to get stuck in mid air for 5 or 6 seconds straight unless you have your skill ready to break out of it. Keep in mind that against the raid bosses, this is pretty much instant death and you will be using your ressurection capsules for every mistake because they are pretty much one hit kills. The poor controls with keyboard makes it even more frustrating as you have to basically stop entirely before you can change directions on most keyboards due to the limitations of the arrow keys. In another, they have numerous spelling inconsistencies, such as references to an Annhilation (Hard) mode, which does not exist in the NA version because that one has become Skirmish. In some cases, they could not bother to change Garden of Alraune to Alraune's Garden like they do everywhere else. Crew List does not work unless you sort by Arena Tokens (which should be translated as Clan Tokens, but someone goofed up there). There's level 70 gear in a game where the level cap is 65 (I assume this is to sell the item mall item that decreases level requirements by 5 for a week).

While people will try to argue that the game is not pay to win, the ultimate costume sets cannot be fully acquired through free to play means and premium. You can only acquire a 6 piece set, which gives you the standard 3* set bonus, but for any of the damage or special effects require more than 6 pieces, ensuring that either you or someone else has to spend that money to make it possible to create them. This is not counting that the premium players have two additional drop slots that often contain the best items or the fact that they get extra fatigue (normally a weekend bonus, but that was removed in this version of the game), bonus drop rates, and daily mail with more free items inside. 

Fatigue is the one that ruins much of the game. Unlike other games, fatigue does not completely reset at dayroll. Instead, you only regain your initial value (something like 170) upon each dayroll. After a week, your fatigue will cap out at 1190. To make matters worse, this only applies during the first week you make a character. After the first week, your fatigue only resets during weekly maintenance up to your cap of 1190. For reference, if you want to do all the dailies on Planar Gate, you're going to need 280/day and you're only given 170. If you have premium, you get a mail for an additional 60 fatigue if you are Elite and 100 if you are Platinum, which is still only 230 for Elite and 270 for Platinum, which is not enough to do all the dailies.

Closers is the only game I have known that boasts what I call a triple fatigue system. This means there are three things in your way that prevents you from making progress. The first is character fatigue. This increases with each day after character creation for the first week, but only resets once a week. The second is in the form of entrance limits and keys needed to enter certain dungeons (most of which also require fatigue). The third is in the form of account wide fatigue that does not even add up to the total fatigue of all your characters. If you are playing high level content, you will only be able to play two of your characters before you cap on on account fatigue meaning that alts are pretty much useless as well. If you do play this game you should only have 1 character per account if you want to get the most out of the game and completely disregard the minor syngery bonuses because it will only feel more restrictive. While normally this is not a problem, each stage is about three minutes in length (most are much shorter, but I'm being nice here by rounding it up), half the length of most other side scrolling games.

For a game that wants you to grind multiple characters to promote synergy between your characters, it just seems anti-intuitive. With that much fatigue, you'll be lucky to get more than an hour worth of play each day and you basically have to play daily. They screw you over with the second class change quest as well as you are forced to basically grind the same dungeons over and over again because they say so. It's okay once in a while, but it feels more tedious than fun as they make you navigate a randomized labyrinth that really does very little in the grand scheme of things.

To top it off, the end game basically turns you into a gold farmer. In order to upgrade your PNAs past Epic into Epic (Transcendent), you need over 3 million gold and some other items from dismantling other PNA Genes. With 30 slots, it means you have to get over 90 million gold, enough gold to obtain at least 3 pieces of 3* item mall clothing at this point. While this is a good gold sink, it is also another way the game seems to be unable to decide between wanting you to grind and not wanting you to grind.

Ironically, the market has a minimum and maximum price for a lot of items (which can only be accessed at the lowest level area instead of say through an NPC in each zone or a menu option). Funnily enough, some of the items have a maximum price of 0, meaning that you can only give it away for free.

Overall: 5/10

Closers feels like a glorified mobile game. It is just Dungeon Fighter Online with updated graphics and account wide fatigue in addition to character fatigue, but has extremely short stages that last about two minutes each. For a game that tries to promote synergy between characters, the account wide fatigue just seems to go against it. Skills with crowd control kill any almost all the difficulty of the game with the exception of story only bosses, which are not only the most difficult, but solo only. Enemies lack diversity with each area being focused on one type of enemies that come in maybe three varieties. The end game is similar, but with one type of enemy and two different mini bosses in the middle. The +1 daily entrances to end game dungeons along with the rare drops only being a high probability in Platinum rewards upon completion makes the game heavily advantageous towards payers while forcing people who did not pay for it to rely on terrible luck from both salvaging and drops. In the end, it does not even feel like an action MMO. It feels like a mobile game that was abandoned and then someone salvaged it as an MMO for the PC.

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About Blanchimontone of us since 10:18 PM on 09.14.2008

I studied to be a teacher, but I only have a tutoring job right now that has very few hours. When I'm not busy, I'm trying out random games that get my interest and writing reviews about them. Keep in mind that these reviews are based on my own opinion and what I think about the game. I generally dislike F2P features that exclude players by making the top items only obtainable with real money or are absurdly expensive and P2P games that limit a player's ability to play with something like fatigue or stamina systems. I also tend to be late with reviews as I only purchase games when I have the time to actually play them.