You'd have to be living under a rock to have not seen any advertisements for Lineage 2: Revolution. It received a huge advertising push when it was launched late last year, including a series of ads featuring late night funny man Conan O'Brien that delivered some good laughs, but offered scant details about the game itself. I've previously written about the troubling state of advertising in mobile games and it's fair to say that big-budget ads like this should be a red flag for any critical gamer:
So what is the deal with Lineage 2: Revolution? If you were as wary as I was of the manufactured hype surrounding this game, I'm happy to report that your instincts are on point. Lineage 2: Revolution is a mobile spin-off of Lineage 2, an MMORPG for Windows. Revolution markets itself as a mobile version of Lineage 2, with a sprawling campaign with a massive world to explore, epic dungeons to battle through with friends, and a PvP arena to show off your skills — an intriguing concept to be sure.
You'd be a sucker to actually control your character through the majority of Lineage 2: Revolution because the game will auto-play itself excellently.
But before you can get to any of that fun stuff, you must endure the worst grinding that I have ever experienced. Period. The first chapter of the game takes place on "East Talking Island" and takes several hours to complete. The first chapter essentially acts as a tutorial, teaching you how to navigate the various menus, how to level up your character and upgrade your equipment, and it drags on for what feels like an eternity.
Every ad mentions how "groundbreaking" and "epic" this game is, with a massive world for you to explore — and that would be great if the core gameplay wasn't so unbelievably boring. MMORPG quests are notoriously repetitive and boring, but my God does Lineage 2: Revolution ever push things to new levels of monotony.
I don't mean that in a snarky way — Lineage 2: Revolution literally lets you automate questing, which is the core mechanic in the game and essentially the only thing you'll actually do in the first 5 hours you play the game as you level up your character. "Auto-questing" is one of the very first features introduced in the game and makes you realize:
- This game is a brutal, never-ending grind.
- You need to continually level up your character to unlock more interesting modes like PvP battles and Dungeon raids.
- The game will essentially play itself with features that include "Auto-Questing" and "Auto-Equiping".
Essentially, you'd be a sucker to actually control your character, because the game auto-plays itself excellently, automatically using all of your character's skills and potions as needed to keep your warrior in the fight. Of course, you have the option to take over controls whenever you please, but why would you? The only way you'd lose playing Lineage 2: Revolution is due to human error, so it's much more efficient to let the game auto-quest while you fix yourself a sandwich, do those chores around the house you've been putting off, or file your taxes.
Part of the fun here is supposed to be teaming up with friends in a party or clan and questing together — but that doesn't negate the fact that the game is still 100% about grinding by completing repetitive quests and slowly upgrading your character. They call it an MMORPG, but it feels more like a clicker game where you occasionally tap the screen to make things happen and then wait for the loot to roll in.
And yet again, the advertising hype would have you believe that this is the most exciting game you'll ever play! Just check out these glowing sentence fragment reviews in this ad featuring streamers at TwitchCon 2017:
I'd like to think that the quote from the woman who says "I really could see people playing this for a long time" was actually just part of a longer statement. Something like:
"Given the protracted tutorial and limitless grinding that this game starts out with, I really could see people playing this for a long time before they get to anything that would be considered 'redeeming gameplay'."
But of course, that's just my opinion of this game, and to be fair there is a ton of content included in Lineage 2: Revolution. The world does appear to be quite massive, the graphics are really impressive for mobile, and I'm sure there might be a ton of cool stuff to enjoy as you progress through the game and max out your character's level — all without spending money on the available in-app purchases — but to what end?
Maybe I'm just cynical towards the MMORPG genre in general because a lot of what's included here with Lineage 2: Revolution will be familiar to fans of other popular titles in the genre. And there's a story being told here about good vs. evil and with a great variety of cool-looking monsters to kill. But even the boss battles in the single-player campaign can be auto-battled, and all the shitty sides of online gaming are represented here, including a useless chat box that gets filled with garbage from immature trolls.
Listen, if you're addicted to games that force you to constantly grind towards a never-ending journey to upgrade your character and gear then Lineage 2: Revolution might be well worth wasting your time with. But I would feel like a real jerk recommending any of my friends come join me in playing this game. How would that conversation even go?
"Hey, so you should definitely play this game Lineage 2: Revolution. It only takes about 6 hours to get through the tutorial stuff, but don't worry — the game will play itself. Then, once you reach a high enough level we can join a party together and auto-grind through this game together!"