Maplestory 2 Review – A More Than Worthy Sequel

    Title: MapleStory 2
    Developer: NSquare
    Release Date: October 10, 2018
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Nexon
    Genre: MMORPG

The original MapleStory has taken up a lot of my time, some might say too much. The game’s adorable art style and flashy action combat made it very enticing. So it came naturally that my friends and I had hours of fun running around in the 2D world fighting mushrooms, pigs, and slimes.

When MapleStory 2 was first revealed, you could say I had my doubts, but I felt like keeping an open mind about the sequel and what the developers were capable of.  Bringing the world to 3D and offering tons of extra content just seemed too ambitious in concept. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After playing MapleStory 2, I can honestly say that this is a worthy successor to an already great game.

MapleStory 2 begins with the character creator, which sees a huge improvement over the first MapleStory. It allows for greater customization of your character to add a bit of extra personality and flair.

While the number of options included is still way fewer than most MMORPGs, it has just enough to have you actually be invested in your character’s starting look and definitely will make F2P players happy that they can wear cooler clothes than a white t-shirt and blue shorts with sandals. The starting clothes are also cosmetic items that go over your actual gear so you won’t have to choose between your gear and your outfit and can rock your look all the way up to level cap if you so choose.

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MapleStory 2 can be played with three different control schemes. After trying all three I know for sure that I can’t recommend the mouse and keyboard controls, this ended up just feeling wonky. The original keyboard controls on the other hand offered a recognizable layout for a seasoned Maplestory fan to enjoy. However, in the end, I found that I preferred the controller support controls best and due to the game’s 3D nature, I felt like this might be a no-brainer.

Questing is the same as it was in the first MapleStory. You talk to an NPC and they send you somewhere to do various things such as talking to another NPC, delivering an item, defeating enemies, etc. While overall its fairly straightforward, there is humor to the dialogue and situations your character faces.

One such side mission had me deliver pizza to construction workers at the top of a construction site but you have to occasionally put down your box of pizzas to fight off hungry animals trying to stop you. There isn’t really much to say here other than that it is classic MapleStory questing with the story that can be both humorous and overly dramatic. Cinematic cutscenes can also be found in the main story which add to the feel of the overall production value of the game.

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Those that are worried that MapleStory 2 would be a grind to level up a character can put those worries to rest. I found a ton of ways to get exp in the game without you having to grind the same monsters over and over again.

There are minigames that pop up which award you exp for participating and doing well in, there are objectives on each map that give you exp for completing them, there are life skills like cooking, farming, fishing that give you exp. I never felt like I actively had to try to level up but instead was awarded levels by just exploring the game and participating in the various things it has to offer.

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I have mixed feelings about the skills in MapleStory 2. There doesn’t seem to be that many for you to unlock and level up, and they don’t seem to be as flashy as those in the previous entry. However, the fact that you can reset your skill points whenever you want is great. It gives players room to explore what they like and how they want their character to play.

So say if they put points into a skill and find that they don’t care for it, they can always change it and put those points into something else. You will, however, have to eventually get 1 skill point in everything because some skills require you to level previous skills in order to unlock them. As of writing this, I am currently almost level 40 (current level cap is 60) and have unlocked almost all of the skills available to my class. I may update my opinion once I see what the higher level skills do, but for now, I am partially underwhelmed.

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I like what MapleStory 2 has done with items. The addition of resistances and bonus stats to items adds additional excitement when finding a new item drop since you aren’t just seeing if the weapon or armor has a higher attack/defense number. Some items also give you bonus effects when on the minigame maps which is a cool thing to see.

Giving players mounts (especially F2P players) is great because it lets all players have increased mobility while still allowing cash shop players to flex their swanky stuff. Each mount also has a unique animation/quirk when you hold down the button that makes your mount go faster, and it is always amusing to see what each one does. My personal favorite is the giant duck that quacks obnoxiously.

The addition of creating custom cash shop items and selling them to other players is very interesting and fun. It is cool seeing what you can make as well as what other players are making and encourages people to design better items in order for them to get a return on the paid currency they spend to make the item. It makes me feel like the items I create are worth the money because I made it specific for me.

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MapleStory 2 is an impressive sequel and I am very surprised with just how good it is. The game is full of content and there is a lot the game has to offer even to the F2P players. It has improved on almost every aspect of the original and I can see myself playing it for quite some time.

The game is casual, fun, and relaxing to play and offers a little something for everyone. You can do the usual fighting mobs and completing quest, but you can also participate in fun social minigames, play the custom item market, explore the various interesting locations, or even just sim it up with some house decorating and life skill training. There is even more content that I was unable to dive into for the review, and the game also has more stuff along the way. I for one am excited to see what is added in the future and plan to continue playing for the foreseeable future .

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Brian Lee

Production Editor and Co-host of the Noisy Pixel Podcast - Professional goof and overall video game junkie. Brian [at] noisypixel [dot] net