E3 2012: Core Blaze Hands-On

Core Blaze was relatively unheard of in the United States until Taiwanese-developer Gamania announced it in a big way at E3. Not only did their penthouse event feature the playable debut, but its logo was emblemized on pretty much everything (including shuttles around the convention center). With a massive amount of fanfare, the question on everyone’s mind was “What is Core Blaze?”

Well, it’s an MMORPG. Thankfully, however, this isn’t just another World of Warcraft clone. One of the biggest draws is that players aren’t stuck to a single class and can swap via equipping weapons. Four weapons have been shown off so far including a Long Bow, Great Sword, Dual Blade and a Sword/Shield combo. You can equip any of these before battles to play as a different class. For instance, if you want to deal the most damage and don’t care about defense, the Dual Blade would be the best choice. Conversely, if you want to attack at long range, the Long Bow would be used. It’s an interesting dynamic that lets you experience everything with one character.

Proving this is a weapons-based game, there are no levels in Core Blaze. Instead, you have a “rank” which grows along gameplay to enable more powerful equipment to be unlocked. Combat is entirely real time — attacks are executed by hitting one of two attack buttons. There are multiple spells and items that can be used anytime. In the demo we played, these were brought up by holding down the shoulder button and  using face buttons to select what to use. The game has been designed to play on the 360 gamepad — a rarity for MMOs.

There will be a main plot behind Core Blaze, though the game itself will never “end”. The story will be expanded upon via subquests. There will be four worlds to traverse, each with 3-4 instances. The worlds are large and have plenty of exploration opportunities.

The demo we played was a lot of fun, focusing more on combat than role-playing. Teamwork was key, with players casting spells to support their comrades in battle. Core Blaze is far from perfect, though. There were some annoying things like loading times when going into new areas and confusing instructions. Hopefully these are smoothed out as the game gets closer to launch.

Core Blaze is said to be a retail title with free-to-play gameplay. If this is the case and micro-transactions are avoided, it could end up being a fun diversion in the vein of Phantasy Star Online. If you’re cringing at the thought of playing another MMO though, well, at least this one’s free.