Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story for iPhone and iPod touch review

Sections: iDevice Apps, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Reviews

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Category: Action RPG
Requirements: iOS 3.0 or later
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
File Size: 17MB
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Price: $0.99
Age Rating: 9+ (infrequent/mild cartoon or fantasy violence)

My enthusiasm for the Zenonia games has tempered a bit, and I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. After playing my way through the original Zenonia, I felt it was one of the iPhone’s largest, most satisfying games…and I was playing it a year late just to prepare myself for Zenonia 2. That one led me to say, “Once you get past the disbelief that a game this robust is on the iPhone, Zenonia 2 remains good enough to consume your gaming hours; only the hope of a larger version will be enough for you to put it aside.”

And that’s part of the problem. We’re now up to Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story, and there’s still no iPad or universal version. We’re stuck with this big game on this tiny screen, and that’s frustrating. It’s also frustrating that Zenonia 3 is pretty much the same experience as the previous two, just longer.

Zenonia 3

But is it fair to criticize a game for being stuck on a single platform and for being essentially what it is? Zenonia 3 is still a wonderfully deep RPG adventure that not only harkens back to the halcyon days of the GameBoy Legend of Zelda games, but that builds on them to take advantage of the more modern gaming systems. You can lose dozens of hours in these games, and that still seems an impressive feat to me when I consider I’m playing them on a phone.

Yet, I couldn’t help but feel when playing through Zenonia 3 that retro is starting to feel a bit stale.

Zenonia 3

In The Midgard Story, you play as Chael, who, along with his fairy friend Runa, is sucked through a portal and into a war between heaven and hell, more or less. Sounds big, yeah, but by this point in the series, the melodramatic storytelling is starting to lose its throwback charm. That, then, leaves you with the action and RPG elements.

As before, you’ll control your character with the virtual d-pad on the bottom left, and attack with a button on the bottom right. It’s easy enough to control on the iPhone, but it can become tedious because enemies are constantly respawning, and because you’ll need to engage in plenty of level grinding in order to progress.

Zenonia 3

Again, is it fair to criticize Zenonia 3 for being what it is? That’s what RPGs require of you, after all. Explore vast worlds, fight a lot, level up, solve some puzzles, and fight some more. There are plenty of quests to keep you busy, some of which are required to advance, most of which are not. They’ll yield rewards or cash for building your inventory and customizing your character (and his fairy), and that does bring a nice personal touch to the game. If you’re having trouble levelling up quickly enough (or just want to avoid it), an in-app purchasing system allowa you to more quickly get that which you need to advance.

In addition, the inventory system has been enhanced for smoother use (although it’s still to elaborate to easily manage on the tiny iPhone screen) and Gamevil has done away with the weight and hunger system of the previous games. How you feel about will depending upon how hard core you are, but I certainly didn’t miss it.

All this adds up to what is essentially an outstanding RPG for the iPhone and iPod touch. Oddly, though, it’ll likely be more enjoyable if you haven’t played the first two. It does tie into the previous games, but not in a way that hurts the story if you’re entering it here.

Zenonia 3

If you’ve played the first two, Zenonia 3 will work for you if you’re not seeking anything new. A couple of tweaks make it a bit better, but it’s largely the exact same experience. There are some decent multiplayer elements, like co-op dungeons to explore, but that’s not why we play RPGs. We play them to get lost in vast and interesting worlds. The worlds are still vast, but they’re a bit less interesting. I enjoyed the time I spent exploring Zenonia for the third time, but I just don’t know how many more times I’ll be willing to go back.

Until they put the game on the iPad, of course.

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Zenonia 3 review

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