Knight’s Fable is a new browser-based MMORPG from YOUZU Games, the maker behind League of Angels or Angel Alliance. The game lets you choose one of four classes – Knight, Magi, Fighter, Spiritus – to embark on a fantasy world where you fight against evils, do jobs, participate in various events like Battle Shrine, Escort, Fishing and more.
GTArcade is one of those publishers that puts out tons of browser-based MMORPGs. All of these complex browser MMOs kind of blend together, featuring similar gameplay, features, and art styles. Even so, most of them manage to add one or two interesting new ideas to the table. GTArcade’s latest MMORPG is Knight’s Fable. It’s story is dead simple — you’re a powerful hero fighting off the invading forces of Hell and helping restore the holy ruins around the world.
When you sign in to the game for the first time, you’ll choose a name and class for your character. The Knight and the Warrior are males while the Magi and Spiritus are females. The game opens with your character hanging out with an angelic friend in some unnamed city. It’s not long before a few hellish demons attack. Your friend annihilates them in combat, but that doesn’t stop her from opening up a timeshift portal to send you to a safer place.
Suddenly, you find yourself standing next to Chet, who looks undeniably like Moses cosplaying Gandalf. He’s a timid old man who regularly reminds you that “studying is such hard work”. All the same, he’s the dude giving you quests, so you’ll wind up spending a long time speaking to him and running all kinds of errands on his behalf. The story slowly develops, and you’ll save a few friends from succubi, witches, and demons. As you progress through the chain of quests, more and more friends will join you and Chet at the holy ruins you woke up in.
Knight’s Fable plays like a mash-up of all the free-to-play browser MMORPGs published by companies like GTArcade, R2Games, and Game321. Sure enough, the worst part of these games made it over to Knight’s Fable: completely automated combat. There is nothing you can do once a battle starts to affect its outcome. Movement and quest completion is automated too, but there’s something especially unsatisfying about an RPG that strips away almost every semblance of decision-making.
Party customization is the highlight of Knight’s Fable. You’ve got your character, heroes you can hire in taverns, and beasts you can find by exploring dragon caves. Your character, each hero, and each beast level up separately and have a unique skill set. The actual processes of finding new heroes and beasts aren’t nearly as exciting as they sound — it’s just navigating some menus and spending some in-game currency — but once you’ve got a small collection of each, it’s sort of fun to choose which ones you actually want to take into combat.
The game’s art is pretty great for a browser game. The backgrounds and character portraits are nicely illustrated and feature great colors. The theme is high fantasy, and the character designs fit somewhere between typical fantasy fare and the crazy costumes and hair of Final Fantasy characters. Save Chet (bless his heart), the characters are all pretty, male or female. The costumes are over-the-top and every last lady is ridiculously endowed. Some people call this “fan service”, but it’s just tedious when the game beats you over the head with it. Angels, demons, prophets, magi, witches, elves, and succubi are all afflicted and the end result is nothing short of tacky.
Before I move beyond the presentation, I do want to call out the music. For whatever reason, GTArcade saw fit to load Knight’s Fable with some of the best music I’ve ever heard in one of these browser MMOs. It’s an admittedly low bar, but the music is (by comparison) exciting, emotional, rich, and often lovely. Many of these games suffer from short music loops that get repetitive quickly, but I didn’t notice that happening while I was playing Knight’s Fable.
Like most of these MMOs, Knight’s Fable is monetized through the sale of premium currency. Many in-game items that normally cost silver add a gold price as they get rarer and more powerful. More important though is spending gold to “charge” or increase your VIP level. Knight’s Fable has 10 different VIP levels, each of which provide you with a grab-bag of exclusive bonuses. These run the gamut from the ability to create your own alliance to boosting the rate that you learn skills. A lot of the goodies are rewards you’ll receive daily, like free fishing trips and free stamina recovery.
All in all, Knight’s Fable is pretty standard among the massive lineup of similar games. The party system is cool in concept, but it’s almost meaningless because combat is so inconsequential. The battles are determined before they begin — by the time you reach level 18 you can literally press an “Insta-Finish” button to skip straight to the combat results. By level 25 (several hours in), I still had not been in a single battle that seriously threatened my character. It’s pretty unsatisfying that I put in so little work to get this far. My character is kind of a badass, but it just doesn’t feel very rewarding when it was so easy to get to this point. It’s a punch in the gut when you realize that literally every single other player who is around your level has followed a nearly identical path through the game. I’m not sure why I should play a game that’s so eager to play itself for me. I’d be willing to bend if there was exciting dialogue to at least deliver a great story, but the dialogue is terrible. The characters are boring, predictable, and say goofy lines straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon on a regular basis.
If you’re already into these free-to-play browser MMOs, Knight’s Fable has a healthy blend of RPG systems that you will eat up as well as a handful of casual mini-games. If it’s not your thing though, I don’t think Knight’s Fable can be the game that converts you. There’s a ton of content, but without a good game core to back it up, content just isn’t that valuable.
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