South-Korean outfit KOG Studio is hard at work on its new game, and it is shaping up to be quite a thrill for action fans. Mostly known as the makers of 2D platform brawler Elsword and Grand Chase, this studio is now shifting gears towards a third-person anime brawler. Let’s learn more about the Kurtzpel gameplay and combat, among other details.
Kurtzpel looks like the bastard child of Elsword and Dragon Nest. It’s impossible to escape these inspirations, as they just seem to scream at your face whenever you look at the game. There is a clearly talented art team behind Kurtzpel, drawing inspiration left and right to come up with a mash-up of styles that will leave you scratching your head, thinking ‘where have I seen this before?’, while still managing to be its own game, to have its own style.
Kurtzpel has bright, cheerful colors everywhere you look. No more of those muted, bland palettes that you are used to see in tons of other anime shows and games; instead, we are given a vivid, inviting world to step in and spend some time punching and kicking other players. If we are going to devote a long time to a game world, this is the least that you can do to keep players coming back for more. A little bit of eye-candy never hurt anyone, right?
But this is a pure action game, and the Kurtzpel gameplay and combat is what we are going to focus on. There is no way that we can describe this game without making some comparisons to other free-to-play brawlers already available, as this is always a good starting point, a good way to give you a reliable mental picture if this is the first time that you are reading about Kurtzpel. SoulWorker immediately comes into mind, with its dazzling effects and cute character models. There is also Kritika Online, an older game that is a bit rough around the edges for today’s standards, but the template seems to be similar.
These assessments aren’t only concerning the aesthetic, of course. The aforementioned games clearly share the fast-paced combat and special skills, as well as the dungeons and bosses that await you. However, the Kurtzpel gameplay and combat seems to hint at a more tactical, thought-out approach, one that hopefully will truly symbolize the concept of skill-based battles. We have heard this so many times before, but free-to-play online games have rarely been able to introduce an in-depth, clever and gratifying system that rewards practice, inventiveness and intelligence. Could Kurtzpel be that game?
So, what makes the Kurtzpel gameplay and combat different from the rest of the pack? To begin with, the dual-weapon system. Your character isn’t bound to a single weapon (or ‘Karma’, as they are called here), being able to switch on-the-fly between two weapons. These work as character classes, while Karma Shards are akin to skills. You can earn Karma Shards, weapons and costumes by improving your relationship with the NPC that holds them. So far, we know that there are four different weapons to pick from, with some fancy names to boot: the bow is Dance of Wind, a greatsword is called Sword of Talaimh, the staff has the catchy Diabolic Witch moniker, and the dual swords go for the simpler Dual Soul.
The Diabolic Witch is the only magic-based weapon and can deal severe damage to the other three Karmas, as they have very weak magical defense; Dance of Wind is obviously the archer class of the bunch, a long-range weapon; the Sword of Talaimh is sturdy and perfect for defending, capable of disrupting enemy action for quite some time; finally, the Dual Soul is a good offensive weapon that can dish out a lot of damage in a short time.
It may seem like a slim choice at first, but it soon becomes apparent that juggling these four weapons is more than enough to provide a vast array of attacks. The balance between melee and ranged combat is a delicate one and shouldn’t be over-complicated, and I’m also hoping that the previous experience of KOG Studio with fighting games such as Grand Chase and Elsword will mean the world to players.
With all the normal action combinations and special skills, the arsenal of Kurtzpel will take quite some time to learn and, above all, to master. There are combos galore to learn, including air combos, and a masterful, dedicated player will instantly have the upper hand.
This is unabashedly a game for the PvP crowd. There is no denying that the Kurtzpel gameplay and combat is fast-paced and intricate to provide as much depth as possible outside of the usual PvE side. But don’t fret, as KOG Studio isn’t running away from a story mode. However, this one won’t be as layered and traditional as in similar titles, instead offering a more straightforward approach, focusing on battles. We are yet to see a dungeon run or even AI-controlled enemies that aren’t huge bosses, so we are led to believe that the most of the PvE side of Kurtzpel will involve boss battles, chatting with NPCs and expanding your character skillset. Rinse, repeat.
I wouldn’t mind – in fact, I would kill for it – to have the opportunity to go with a group of friends through the odd dungeon, mowing down mobs while getting stronger, ready to take on the boss. Perhaps this turns out to be the case, as Kurtzpel is still in active development, with PvP as the priority of the team. For now, it looks like you can fight in these PvE battles with one friend, so it’s pretty much a co-op experience that may be limited to two players.
Every path in Kurtzpel starts with the character creation, which is looking interesting enough, capable of delivering the most fearsome warrior or the perfect waifu. You start by choosing a character type, giving you some preset options, but then you are free to change everything significant, from body weight to height, breast size (of course), hair style and color, and you can even consider getting highlights. So far, the choice is limited to human male and female, but KOG Studio has mentioned having further races at launch.
Launch? Now that I talk about it, when is that supposed to happen? Apparently, even KOG Studio seems unsure about it, although the team has mentioned that they would like for players to try Kurtzpel in some form during 2018. Not too long to go, guys, so get that build ready for us!