Lucent Heart is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) that blends generous amounts of Anime visuals with a social theme. Most people who play an MMO are used to games heavily focused on combat, being the biggest and most powerful Hero and collecting the rarest and strongest weapons and items. Lucent Heart seeks to change that formula and turn it on its head by bringing love to the table as a major game mechanic, while also rewarding players for more social endeavors.
Can this cute Japanese Anime-style MMO win over hearts with promises of love, or will Cupid’s arrow simply miss? Read on to find out…
When you begin the game you are singled out as someone who will have a glorious future, and Lucent Heart uses a strange but unique mechanic of using the stars and astrology to gauge what will await you. Lucent Heart asks for a few personal details during the character creation and this will have a lot of impact later on in the game, such as affecting the romantic storylines available to your character. This is one of my favorite things about the game, as it’s such an usual approach to customizing your character and storyline in an online game.
Choosing your starting class of either Mage or Warrior will grant you access to class specific quests. Eventually you will be able to unlock other classes after leveling your starting class a little, but unlike some other MMOs (such as Final Fantasy 11 and 14), you won’t be able to change classes freely.
Lucent Heart plays a lot like many other MMOs available. It employs an action bar across the bottom of the screen that is used for combat, actions, abilities, and a great deal more. The bar is customizable, with the player being able to place their most used abilities and actions where they wish, and this will in turn assign a hotkey to that ability/action. Quite simple stuff, and if you’ve played games such as World of Warcraft then you’ll be familiar with it from the start.
Combat with monsters is usually quick, with boss battles keeping in tune with that same quick pace. I found the UI (User Interface) to be a little bit dated, but for the most part its functional and easy enough to use.
There are a whole range of NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) in the game that you can converse with, and they will give you quests to do with the promise of rewards if you complete them.
MMOs are known for their quests and Lucent Heart has these in abundance. They are stacked on the right side of the screen and you can work through them one at a time, or work on many and then turn in multiple quests at the same time, gaining a lot of EXP (Experience Points) when you do.
Playing the game can sometimes feel like an steep grind with the EXP (Experience Points) on offer from killing monsters being very small. Once the early levels fly by, you’ll soon notice the leveling grind becomes more and more steep at the later levels.
Thankfully, in order to go from quest to quest there is an auto-run feature that makes journeys in the game a little less tiresome. Using it will take you directly to your next quest so you can spend more time questing and less time aimlessly running around the world between key locations.
There are plenty of monsters available to kill and dungeons to explore within the game. The dungeons break apart the quest grind with the ability to customize the terrain, monsters, and possible loot drops that you’ll find inside of them. I really like this feature as it means you can know what to expect before heading in alone or with your allies and gives you more control over what you’ll encounter inside a dungeon.
What Lucent Heart does do very well is everything that is social in nature, from meeting with friends to just hanging out in the city or even taking part in epic dance battles that’ll remind you of being at your local arcade playing Dance Dance Revolution. You can even craft your own routines to the in-game play list of songs and then battle it out with a rival guild. Dance battles are about as competitive as the game gets though due to a rather underwhelming and sparsely populated PvP arena (Player versus Player).
GRAPHICS & SOUND
Lucent Heart wasn’t made to dazzle with amazing graphics, clearly. It’s focus is more on having been created to allow access to as many players as possible. The frame rate looks laggy sometimes because the game lacks a lot of more detailed animation sprites, but this doesn’t deteriorate from the overall gameplay. Lucent Heart was released quite some time ago, so the graphics can be forgiven a little.
I did like the cute Anime aesthetic the game had to offer and despite being dated, everything functioned as it should do with no apparent glitches. There are moments within the game that show a little more promise such as large events, and pets that are so adorable that I wanted to own them all.
Towns, cities, and the world’s landscapes are brightly colored, vibrant with NPCs, monsters, and other moving objects dotted around. As well as having a theme that revolves around love and horoscopes, the game adds in Greek mythology and its gods. The game had me running errands for Hermes, Hercules, and Venus in the opening few quests. I really liked their addition to the game, as a big fan of Greek mythology myself.
The sounds suffer the same judgment as the graphics, unfortunately, and again it is because they are quite dated.
I also noticed that from time to time the sound effects would dip in and out from the scenery around me, which was odd. For example, I would be going about my quests in town and the sound effect for a nearby stream would randomly cut in and out of the gameplay, and it wasn’t due to an interruption from another sound effect. This is a minor occurrence and otherwise the game has suitably crafted sounds and music to add to the atmosphere while you’re playing the game.
The music out in the main environments of the game world is pleasant enough, but I found myself decreasing its volume in favor of the sound effects as it can get somewhat repetitive. I found it to be a much more immersive experience when all I could hear was the world’s atmospheric sounds all around me.
There are quite a number of excellent little features that you’ll want to check out in Lucent Heart. My favorite was the crafting system, and just like the main game you can level your proficiency in your chosen craft as you wish.
The great thing about crafting is that it is nowhere near as much of a grind as leveling your character. There are several crafts to choose from, and just like your class, you can’t advance more than one at a time. When you choose your first craft you’ll want it to be able to help your chosen class. A great example of this would be to choose Alchemy in order to support your Mage class.
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Being a free-to-play game you can expect a high number of in-game purchases from the shop. These can range from outfits for your character to items to put in your home. My favorite thing in the shop however is the overwhelmingly adorable pets that can be mounted to lessen the load on your weary feet, helping you to travel faster from location to location.
There are mailboxes for sending and receiving gifts, Guilds to join and take part in, and even your daily Horoscope to add to the tally of features you can play around with. I would like to go into greater detail about some of these, but as they are only relevant to you once you are in-game and playing with them, it would be boring to read about them instead of experiencing them so I encourage you to download the game and see them for yourself.
Lucent Heart is a great place to start with MMORPGs if you don’t want to invest too heavily. Its casual, laid-back system along with it being totally accessible to new players makes it a prime candidate as a first MMO to play. It is also just as appropriate for someone with a little more experience or for a player seeking a more social online game with features designed around social elements and people rather than number-crunching in combat.
The graphics and sound samples are dated, yes, but this is to be expected of a game that is coming up to nearly 10 years of age. It doesn’t fare well against newer glitzier fantasy MMO games like Final Fantasy 14 or World or Warcraft, but does make up for this by being incredibly cute and leaning on the Anime subculture to appeal to a particular kind of player.
The grind in the game can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle to make it to the maximum level, but you can enjoy yourself on the way there with all the other features the game has to offer. Crafting, quests, pets, hanging out with your Guild mates and even the impromptu DDR… erm, I mean dance battles, will induce a little more joy into the whole experience. Definitely check this MMORPG out if the visual style or gameplay mechanics appeal to you.
Lucent Heart is free to play.