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Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Fetching quest

Product: Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story | Developer: Gamevil | Publisher: Gamevil | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story iPhone, thumbnail 1
The Korean-made Zenonia series no longer has the luxury of being the only decent role-playing game for iPhone and iPod touch.

It might have had the monopoly on fantasy hack 'n' slash romps when the first game hit two years ago, but it's now just another hard-to-pronounce name in a sea of Inotias, Fargoals, and Aragons.

It means that Zenonia 3, the latest game in this burgeoning series, has even bigger shoes to fill than either of its predecessors. Not only must it excel ahead of its younger prequels, but it's vying for your attention among a veritable ocean of multi-hour, sophisticated experiences.

Bigger numbers, better games?

If raw numbers meant anything, the game's list of features would qualify it as king: a staggering 136 quests, multiple locations, hundreds of items, weapons and other equipment, and a near limitless number of wardrobe combinations.

But the series has never really been about counting quests or enumerating arsenals of swords. Zenonia 3 is, just like its predecessors, about fast-paced, manic button-mashing combat with a hefty backbone of statistics, buffs, nerfs, and items.

Its about balancing your melee attacks with powerful magic spells and constantly keeping one eye on your health bar. It's utterly compulsive dungeon crawling, but with smarts.

Strides as big as its swords

To that end, Zenonia 3 is just as exciting and satisfying as the other games in the series, and developer Gamevil has made great strides to make the game more streamlined and accessible than ever. The clunky day-night cycle is less pronounced, and annoying mechanics like hunger and weight have been chucked entirely.

The inventory and menu system has been overhauled to make the game's endless statistics, numbers, items, status changes, and bars more understandable. It's deeper than Zenonia 2, but the improved layout makes it easy to tell your shield durability from your fairy sync, and exactly where you need to complete your current quests.

Zenonia 3 also packs beautiful visuals in its bright, bold, and colourful backdrops and delicious pixel-art nasties, plus a cute soundtrack and some smart online ideas.

Connect to the network and you can try random battles against other players, asynchronous co-op dungeons, stat-swapping, and check out what Game Center achievements you've earned.

Fetch me 15 boring RPG quests

Not every element has been improved or streamlined, though. The time-wasting errands that help make up the game's hundred-odd quests are still repetitive and lacking in creativity.

You spend much of the story darting between locations in rote fetch quests or pummeling the same group of stock enemies until they arbitrarily drop enough items to satisfy some quest-giver's greedy desire.

Zenonia 3 still has a cumbersome virtual stick, which combines a strictly four-directional hero with an unresponsive D-pad. Fortunately, you can go through menus and inventories with the whole touchscreen and there are options to customise the interface.

The adventure also features the same mushy fantasy story with endless reams of po-faced dialogue, boring lore, and mumbo-jumbo backstory. The self-referential humour and fourth-wall breaking gags generally fall a little flat, too. To be fair, it's no worse than any of the previous games.

It's still compulsive hack 'n' slash fun with a sophisticated backbone. If you're not sick of the formula yet, Zenonia 3 proves just enough of an evolution to pull out your comically over-sized sword and start wailing on hapless slimes for the third time.
Zenonia 3: The Midgard Story
Reviewer photo
Mark Brown | 27 April 2011
Zenonia 3 is fast and frenetic role-playing that fixes some of its predecessor's largest flaws, despite the continued reliance on rote fetch quests and cheesy writing
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