Ecol Tactics Online
the aesthetics | lots of options for customization | interesting history | deep turn based combats.
Slow progression and rather slow battles | somewhat redundant conversations | no video or sound options | it is necessary to spend money to improve the companions
Recently our team had the opportunity to participate in the beta of Ecol Tactics Online, the new tactical browser MMO developed by Gamepot, in which you can lead a band of mercenaries and face your enemies in turn-based combat.
Just entering the game, we created our character, and we saw that the customization parameters are somewhat limited, since we can only choose sex, hair color and skin color.
After creating our character we started the history as a vulnerable kid with no special skills who is attacked by a monster and saved by a band of powerful mercenaries, which we can control on a tutorial (We felt somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of spells and abilities that the high level mercenaries had), in which we will learn the basics of combat.
The first impression that the game gave us is that the combat system is very similar to classic turn-based games like Final Fantasy Tactics, to name one. The characters have different abilities, for damage, heal, or weakening enemies. The key to success is to combine the skills of the different classes, which are typical of this kind of game, the warrior who stands out for its strength and resistance, the archer, which is capable of eliminating enemies from a distance without too many problems, the magician able to cast devastating AoE spells and the priest responsible for healing and keeping the team maintained.
After finishing the tutorial, 10 years have passed since the incident, so our character grew and became a novel mercenary in search of adventures, and the story plot began through a few sequences, which we won’t reveal but we can say that it focuses on a missing Queen. Our character arrived at the main town of the game, with the goal of becoming a mercenary, and the game guides us through the city with simple missions that presented us some different vendors in which we can buy equipment, buffs or aesthetic objects (ranging from cat ears, dresses or cute and furry animals that can be used as a hat), artisans who will allow us to create or improve our gear, a bank, where you can put your items and an auction where you can put on sale items that you don't need.
Once completed these introductory missions, we were invited to join the Mercenaries Guild, where we can recruit companions who will join us on our adventures. At this point we found several things that we didn’t like, because to recruit mercenaries you have to spend a lot gold coins or tickets that are bought with real money, which would not be too upsetting, if it wasn't for the fact that the level, class and abilities of the available mercenaries are random. So to recruit useful companions requires a great deal of patience and money. Another detail is that the recruited mercenaries doesn’t rise in level with us, if you want to level the up you must give them an item that is purchased with real money, also the mercenaries only stay with us for a limited time but by buying them another item that is purchased with real money we could make them our permanent partners.
After several attempts, we finally got a companion that fulfilled our needs, and after that we decided to start our adventure. The fights are very entertaining and require some strategy and tactics to win them; the positioning, the correct use of the character skills and knowing how to combine these skills is very important. A detail that we weren’t sure about is that the rounds of the fights don’t have time limits, so you can take your time planning each movement, but this does make the action quite more slow, to the point that can become tedious.
As you defeat enemies, you can loot several items, which you can use to create gear or potions that you can use, skill stones which give you skills that you can use in combat or will improve your statistics, but you can only give equipment or skills to your main character because you cannot gear up your teammates. On the other hand, the descriptions of skills are somewhat vague and can be confusing, so we believe that this aspect should be more polished.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The game features very cheerful and colorful retro graphics. The characters and monsters are well made and are fun to see and the animations of the characters moving and attacking are very detailed, and you can see how the characters attack with a sword, shoot arrows or cast spells.
The music and the sound are well made, but even that can be a bit repetitive, however the music is cheerful and expressive and gets you fully into the game. On the other hand the sound effects are very good, because you can hear perfectly each attack, explosion or groan of pain that you see on the battlefield.
However, there are some things to fix, for example, when the game is played in full screen mode, it all looks very pixelated, or to modulate the volume of the game (which is fairly high) there is only the option shut it off, without any chance to raise or lower it.
We also find that the game has no option for zoom, which can be quite annoying, because many times when the menus open up it makes it difficult to select our enemies in combat.
THE ONLINE STORE
In the game store, you can purchase with real money all kinds of items ranging from buffs which temporarily improve your abilities, or increase obtained experience and gold and lots aesthetic items and fashionable costumes, typical of this type of game.
On the other hand we have the thing that we like least of the game: all the options to level up, upgrade, hire mercenaries with interesting statistics and abilities, or convert them into permanent companions require spending real money, something that is almost mandatory if you want to advance in the game
Ecol Tactics Online is an enjoyable tactical game which reminds us of games like Final Fantasy Tactics. The game can be played from any browser, and has retro style graphics which will delight all fans of the genre. On the other hand the game has some nasty things because to be able to play well is necessary to spend real money, because the recruitment and management of the mercenaries is something basic to advance in the game. Even so, if you don't mind to spend a little money, you can enjoy a game that will provide you with many hours of fun!