Elona RPG Review

My character with red bandanna. Female companion to the left and a shopkeeper to the right. Garbage under me :(.
My character with red bandanna. Female companion to the left and a shopkeeper to the right. Garbage under me :(.

Sorry for the absence. I’ve recently bought Valkyria Chronicle used from Gamestop for 15 bucks and have been playing it non-stop for the past two days. Such a good game, I wish it got more publicity because it really deserved it. Today we are taking a break from current games and guides and moving into one of the most brutal and unforgiving roguelike RPG no one has ever heard of, Elona… Actually, many people who play online flash games know of its spin off game: Elona Shooter.

I’m not sure why, but I enjoy brutally difficult games like Elona, Nethack, and Etrian Odyssey. I find it hard to compare Nethack and Elona because, although both are roguelike, both games are “difficult” for different reasons. Nethack focuses on the developers thinking of everything and all possible outcomes for the player whereas Elona puts you at the total mercy of the game.

As for being a “true roguelike” there is argument that Elona is not a roguelike. Nethack is a true roguelike because once you die, it is game over… But in Elona when you die, you suffer a penalty which can be paid off (with an absurd amount of gold). Despite this difference on the definition of roguelike, Elona still resides in the high difficulty category of a roguelike, also keeps the roguelike feel of there being no retries or redo’s, everything that happens is saved and you cannot go back on that character.

Elona starts out like the typical roguelike RPG. Pick you gender, pick your race, pick your class, roll your stats(better be good at this…), pick your feats and traits, pick an alias, edit your appearance, and roll your final percentages and starting equipment. Man that’s a lot. Let’s break this down.

Character Creation

Gender, Race, and Class: Here are the meat and bones of your character. Gender…Is just picking your gender, moving on. You can pick from a variety of races and classes, some useful, some specializing in something, and some specializing in nothing. You have your general magic race, your strength race and classes that utilize them… And then you have the worthless race of Snail(I’m not joking)which is bad at everything and gets two of the more useless beginning feats. An interesting race is the Mutant, which gets better the more mutations you gain… Which is almost the complete opposite of any other race(Sans positive mutations.)

For classes you have your general fighters which start out awesome but trail at the end when some characters can kick your ass from afar and move faster than you(there are ways to avoid this) and Wizards which start out weaker but end up blowing up the smack out of everything late game. There is the Warmage class that is the middle ground of fighter and wizard, and usually comes out as the strongest class of all (way late in the game). Other classes include Thief, Cleric, Archer, Farmer, Pianist… WAIT A MOMENT…Farmer? Pianist?… Farmer and Pianists are total opposites in that Farmer has all of the basic gathering skills and some combat skills where Pianists have all of the production skills and no combat skills whatsoever $6. And then there is the challenge class called the Tourist that has the unique skill of Traveling which grants you exp for moving on the main map, also has no combat skills.

Stats, Skills, Feats, and Traits: Stats consist of the usual Str, Dex, Con, but with a few self explanatory ones like perception and will. Some non explanatory ones are the Magic stat (only affects your Maximum MP and some skills) and the learning stat. Learning affects the rate at which you learn skills, so the higher this skill is, the better your chance of gaining skill levels for your feats.

Skills are lifeblood of your character. There is a skill for everything and along with that skill is the current level you have it at. The only ways to raise a skill are to keep using that skill (which I found really neat) or reading about it if you happen to be lucky enough to find a skill book lying around. (INN + ETHERWIND COUGH COUGH)

Feats and traits are similar except that feats are selectable and traits are randomly acquired unless its through a feat(Ie. Lucky trait/feat). Some feats are your standard +Str, +Dex, +Speed, some are your non standard +ability to breathe fire, +passive to prevent the escape of enemies, and +ability to poison. There are some detrimental traits for the really hardcore like Dimensional Move… Also known as “TELEPORT RANDOMLY WHENEVER THE GAME FEELS LIKE.” Probably the most annoying feat/trait of them all.(Cursed equipment also gives you this.) Traits are simply bonuses or negatives you gain as the game progresses. You might gain a third arm, Take less damage from mana reaction(Racial trait), gain the trait of super muscles or the trait of increased brain power… There are also negative versions of these traits along with negative stat gains.

There isn’t much else to say about the character creation progress. You put together the graphics for the character, if you want more you can download the graphic pack. Your starting equipment isn’t that important later but getting the right weapon to train the right skill(longsword, staff, polearm, heavy armor…) can be vital to start sometimes.

This is the whole screen. As you can see from the patches of blood on the ground, some bunnies disagreed with my want to not die so it was either them or me. Looks like someone in japan died from a putit in his own home.
This is the whole screen. As you can see from the patches of blood on the ground, some bunnies disagreed with my want to not die so it was either them or me. Looks like someone in japan died from a putit in his own home.

I had stated earlier that in Elona, you are pretty much at the mercy of the game itself. There is always a chance of something random occurring whenever you move like finding a body or a random assassination in town. Whenever you sleep you have a chance of good things like stat gains, or bad things like nightmares. The weather changes at random without player discretion and monster encounters range from easy-peasy to your-head-asplode. While are a few quests set in stone, you will mostly be looking at the quest board in the various towns so you can gain platinum coins, karma and gold. Platinum coins are used at skill trainers to teach you new skills. It is possible to learn ALL skills, but that would take forever… And unfortunately you start that skill at level 1 and probably low potential(chance of gaining another skill level) so it’s pretty much useless unless you dedicate some training to it. Karma is unforgiving as well, if you fail a quest, you lose karma, if you do bad deeds, you lose karma. At – 10 Karma you become attacked by all guards and might get thrown in jail.

The quest board mentioned above includes a few of the same quests that require a certain amount of skill to succeed with the exception of the escort and fetch quests. Escort quests are basically, get my friend from point A to Point B without dying… I suggest you do these after you know you can hold your own because some random encounters will destroy you. The Fetch quests are totally random, could be a low reward quest looking for an epic level item or an epic reward quest looking for a mundane common item like a rock or a barrel; gotta pay attention to the EXACT wording on the item because many items have different qualities.

Speaking of items having different qualities… Nearly all items have two sets of randomly generated qualities, one being the material it is made of and the other is the quality. A Godly Platinumwork dagger is much better than a stupid(actual word) woodwork dagger. On top of that it could be a +# dagger or it could even come with other hidden enhancements like +lightning damage or +confusion on strike. There are some stupid enhancements like “Spawns another enemy on critical hit” and things like that.

The game is mostly paying attention, learning and dying. You will die, and die, and die, and die again followed by more dying. Even if you are level 10 billion, you can die. I find Elona to be a more of a learning experience than a game, knowing what works, what doesn’t, and then trying over again not making that same mistake again. Either way, what game allows you to die from an alien impregnating you and having its spawn burst out of your chest causing you to bleed to death while you strangle it with your bare hands? (I’m dead serious…)

Some things I really liked about the game are just how random it is, Player Housing, Moongates, the Alias system, “Elochat”, and how the games feel connected to other players. Like I said, the game is totally random, the only things the same are the shape of some of the set dungeons; however the monsters inside them are not the same(With the exception of story bosses). Each player has ownership of a house (later could get farm, ranch, and museum), based on the items you have in your house, your rank may go up or down. Higher ranks mean you get paid a better "salary" at the end of the ingame-week but also have higher "taxes" at the end of the ingame-month(fun complications). Moongates are random gates that appear in towns and allow a player to teleport to a random player’s house(usually high level).

The alias system is basically a randomly generated “nickname” that goes in front of your character’s name, these nicknames have two words and can be re-rolled until you get a name you want to use. And finally we are down to “Elochat” you can either open the program included in the game folder or just pay attention in game. Contrary to the name, you can’t really chat with players. Elochat will randomly display other players deaths(and their death message) and wishes, both up to date and recent. There is a way to chat using it but it’s very annoying and non-intuitive…Not what it was meant to be used for.

All in all the whole game feels like an MMO, but it isn’t. Some things that are currently being tested: it is possible to find the corpse of someone else’s character in the game and pick up items the dropped on death and if the random deaths of townspeople are due to other characters killing them? Like I said, the game feels like its connected to other games, every 10 or so minutes you are given a message stating who died and how and what were his last words or what someone wished for and what they got. Kinda feels like an MMO or an MMORPG. Maybe feels like a Browser MMORPG, its hard to pinpoint the feeling.

One final thing, oddly enough, although it seems childish graphically, the game has some subjects that might put it in the teen to 18+ region. Don’t worry too much, Elona is all about having fun, and exploiting some of the teen to 18+ subjects or viewing them still feels refreshing like reading a fun and colorful children’s book; they will most likely make you laugh with a feeling of “I can’t believe I just did this” or “I can’t believe he/she said that” rather than offend you.

Overall, I recommend Elona to anyone whom hasn’t tried it.

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