Dungeon Fighter Online is back, people! Get the hype train rollin’ and prepare for the beatdown! You’re just a download away from the best beat’em up since Final Fight! If you’re wondering what Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO) is, Extra Credits best describes it as “Streets of Rage: The MMO; set in a fantasy universe with all of your fighting game controls, straight down to the cancels. Also; it’s free. You’re welcome.” Starting a review with undiluted praise isn’t typical for me, but Dungeon Fighter Online deserves it and then some.
The reason DFO works so well is that it takes a solid idea and polishes it until it shines. Wailin’ on a bunch of sprites is just so viscerally fun. Want to make it more fun? Add a bunch of fighting moves in for more options and control. Can’t quarter circle back to save your life? No worries! You can map special moves to a single button press! Honestly, that’s a lifesaver for people like me who are bad in those control schemes. While we’re at it, let’s add RPG elements because RPG elements are the ranch dressing of games today!
They also made some slight tweaks to the crafting system to make it easier to advance in, which is a nice touch. Don’t forget a story about saving the land from the terrors that haunt it. It seems that some great disaster happened, in which Deux Ex Machina destroyed some of the old areas to make room for better ones. I’m not exactly looking for Angel Beats here. All that customization and other stuff isn’t the point. Those things are really just the pit stops you take in between dungeon dives. Get yourself some gear and some pretense and you’re ready to go!
Dungeon Fighter Online was first published by Nexon in the U.S., but they shut the game down for “reasons”. The general consensus on its forums was that Nexon neglected and screwed it up, but you have to take forum complaints with a large grain of salt. Still, one has to wonder how you can mess up running a great game that is more or less already made. Neople, the game developers of DFO, must have wondered that, too.
Turns out, if you want something done right, you got to do it yourself. Neople then decided to publish an English version themselves. They are currently in phase two of open beta testing and things are looking good. So good, in fact, I wonder why they bother with calling it beta. If they launched the game as is, I wouldn’t complain. All the game content is there and nothing seems to be broken so far. There may be minor bugs but I haven’t noticed. I guess Neople just want to take it slow and steady so that they can put the proper care into it.
That included not opening the cash shop yet. DFO is a “free to play” game in that playing is free but you can pay money to get various benefits. While I know many games abuse the free to play model, DFO is not one of them. All the classes, areas, and content are available to everyone, regardless of amount paid. That said, money can help as it can get you more inventory space, a helpful familiar, revives in case you die, and the obligatory parade of cosmetic items. I would place all those things not as “need to win” but “convenient” and “nice to have.” If Neople really just wanted a quick buck, they would have opened the cash shop now and start pushing out deals; but they haven’t. I would have kicked some dough in if I could but I can’t. Neople are sowing a loyal fanbase that will support them for the long-term, not swiping cash like a fly by operation.
For transparency sake, I do only have a level thirty-three fighter so far. To my surprise, some people have hit the level cap already. Maybe they’re bots or gold farmers? Neople has been trying hard to crack down on them, or least talk about how much they suck. I did get a thief up to level 50th or so back when Nexon ran the show. I haven’t even touched the end game or the dozen or so other classes with their own unique spin. I’ll do more research on it and report it to you later if any interesting developments come up. What I can say for certain now is that Dungeon Fighter Online is highly recommended if you ever wanted a super sized beat’em up. If you don’t, well, who wouldn’t? Play it!