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Aion Preview PC Review - -

Distributor: QVS
Review Date:
July 2009
Andrew Bistak



Although the world of online gaming has truly become an international phenomenon, trying to gain a foothold in this overly flooded market is the difficulty for the new kids on the block.

However, with the popularity of games such as Everquest and World of Warcraft, it's always good to see other developers attempt to gain dominance of this realm in order to keep competition healthy and ensuring that all developers keep on giving gamers a unique experience.

The latest game to hit the Western shores is AION that was developed by NCsoft, a Seoul development company and although it already boasts thousands of Asian players, it's about to opened for a whole new market. Although Australian users will not have access to their own servers, they will have access to North American Servers and thankful internet speed in Australia is relatively fast.

So what exactly is AION? Set in a world of magic, more specifically the planet of Atreia, dragons and other wondrous creatures roam the lands with this planet being broken asunder by two warring factions, "Asmodians" and the "Elyos".

To compound a situation, a gateway into the abyss has been breached which threatens to wake an ancient dragon and both factions are now in danger which is where the players comes into the story. Thankfully Impulse Gamer was given an exclusive invite into the BETA testing of the servers and on the 18th of July 2009, it was time to venture into the world of AION.

The first thing you will notice about AION is the graphics which are visually quite impressive and the attention to details is quite surreal. Using the Crytec game engine (Farcry), the minimum specifications include the following, although we would highly recommend something slightly more powerful to play the game in full detail and resolution which I must admit is a amazing graphical experience. All the characters in the game are very well modeled with some high resolution texture details, hence the reason for a high-end system. 

Minimum System Requirements:
Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2
2.8GHz CPU or equivalent
NVIDIA® 5900 Ultra with 128MB RAM / ATI Radeon? x700 with 128MB RAM or higher
15GB hard disk space
DVD-ROM drive
DirectX® 9.0c (6/2008 update)
Sound device
Broadband Internet connection
Recommended System Requirements:
Microsoft® Windows® XP SP2/ Vista
Dual Core CPU 2.0GHz or equivalent
2GB RAM NVIDIA® 6800 with 256MB RAM / ATI Radeon? x800 with 256MB or higher
15GB hard disk space
DVD-ROM drive
DirectX® 9.0c (6/2008 update)
Sound device
Broadband Internet connection

There are a variety of impressive effects in the game from spells to realistic weather effects and even the small touches in the game such as a mage creating a giant leaf from thin air in order to use as an umbrella makes the experience quite magical.

AION allows you to explore this giant gaming world, however where the title does shine is through the ability of flight which allows gamers to fly through the clouds and reach difficult to reach areas in the game.

However, before walking through the world of AION, players must create their Avatars and needless to say, the game boasts one of the best customizations around that is only limited by the players imagination.


  • The Thrill of Flight
    Soar to great heights and battle in the open skies of Aion. Flying in Aion is not just a way to travel-- it is a strategic and integral part of the game adding a fresh dynamic to all aspects of the genre, including combat, quests and exploration.

  • Stunning World
    Discover a meticulously crafted fantasy world brimming with otherworldly inhabitants, mysterious enemies and ancient secrets.

  • Epic Adventure
    Experience captivating and story-driven quests as you play a critical role in a celestial civil war that has raged for hundreds of years.

  • Intense Visceral Combat
    Engage in a spectacular and evolving combat system utilizing combos, skill chains, counter-attacks and spectacular aerial combat. Plan and execute raids against rival factions, earn special ranks and rewards through victory.

  • Unprecedented Customization
    Take individuality to a new level through an incredibly in-depth character creation tool, advanced crafting systems, and extensive item customization.

  • In-Depth Crafting
    Created potent tools of war and defense through a highly flexible crafting system that extends to hundreds of items, weapons and abilities.

  • Innovative PvPvE
    Aion introduces a new dynamic to MMOs by combining both PvP and PvE gameplay into an exciting new style. As player factions fight amongst themselves and with the AI controlled Balaur, enemies can become allies in a desperate fight for survival. Join thousands in the relentless war for dominance of the pivotal Abyss!

  • Unmatched Visuals
    Explore one of the most amazingly beautiful and detailed MMORPGs ever as you fight to save a vibrant world, all brought to life by the powerful Crytek engine.

The game two factions that include "The Asmodians", a strong race who have become twisted and scarred from the cataclysm that split the world. Even though once human-like in appearance, their disassociation with the world have caused them to evolve into something "cursed".

The "Elyos" on the other hand have transformed into something uniquely different from The Asmodians and have become creatures of light who still believe that they are blessed by the Creator God, Aion, however their burden has become their forced superiority.

Apart from these two races, The Balaur are a threat to everything decent in this universe and were the creatures responsible for this  breach to occur. Even though they were sealed in the Abyss for their actions, some have managed to escape and once again threaten the very fabric of reality. 

Once you have chosen your race and one of the classes to play which include Warrior, Scout, Mage and Priest, you then have the option of selecting a character from either the Asmodians or the Elyos, thus giving you access to plethora of customization options from facial appearance, hair, voice etc, giving you ownership of the character. Of course, the classes represent the standard Sword and Sorcery archetype characters.

For the BETA tested, we played A Warrior, Scout and the Mage. Of course each class has their pros and cons, however our favourite was the Mage who really had some power behind his spells, albeit his hit points were of course rather low. 

Thankfully once you reach level 10, you can then customise your classes, giving the player even more choices in this MMO. When you do reach level 10, you also get your "wings" which allows you fly in the world of Atreia, although unfortunately we could not test this feature as our humble Mage Kalthanan was only up to level 8 by the time we finished playing this BETA testing weekend. It should be noted that flying has a time limit and is restricted to certain areas due to key elements in the story. This keeps things fair as well.

Once in the world with no manual or instructions, we were a little lost and most testers were in the same boat as us. We of course started attacking the local creatures in the game to boost up our experience points.

Eventually our experience points started going up and upon visiting the local town, we discovered a mage who assisted us with new spells and spell books. Back hunting for more monsters and our experience points soon started an upward spiral.

In the mean time, we chatted to other BETA testers who were thoroughly enjoying this experience and some of the entertaining emoticons were quite cool. The battle system was quite easy to navigate, simply right click on your enemy and viola, it's fight time.

Mages have access to different spells that in relation to warriors, they have access to different equipment. Some of the spells lead onto other spells such as the fire spell which opens up another spell that is timed and is a great for a final attack.

The menu system in AION is a little confusing, however after a day of playing, we finally figured out where most of the information lived. The game is dubbed as a PvPvE game which allows players to battle monsters and of course each other.

Thankfully there are safe zones for players to venture into and you can challenge players politely as well. Of course the main crux of the game is to join a group and travel to distant lands in search of fortune and glory plus a healthy dose of experience points.

Until the release date, we're still locked by a set number of weekend closed beta dates and until then, we really cannot comment on the final product, however from what we have seen, the results have left us quite impressed. From the highly detailed and amazing, almost stylised graphics to the fun gameplay, we'll definitely be keeping an eye on AION.        


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