Dragon Saga is a 2.5D side-scroller. This gives it a gameplay style similar to other side-scrollers such as LaTale, WonderKing, and MapleStory. However, it differs from traditional side-scrollers by being an arcade-style mission based MMO, much like Lunia, Grand Chase, and Dungeon Fighter. The gameplay is fun and can keep one entertained for quite some time, especially if you like mission based MMOs. Dragon Saga contains numerous quests and instances to keep you moving through the game as well as plenty of bosses for your characters to face head-on.
Additionally, Dragon Saga boasts a 95% mouse-free gameplay. When you first enter the tutorial, one of the first things that game says is to put away the mouse. This is very true. Much of Dragon Saga can be played without a mouse, with the mouse primarily being used to add skill points and the inventory interface.
Though the gameplay is innovative for its genre (side-scrollers) it unfortunately inherits some of the downsides of a side-scoller. The gameplay of Dragon Saga eventually becomes heinously repetitive falling into a never ending cycle of F6s and F7s ("unique" levels of dungeons) to gain EXP.
Overall, due to its fresh take on side-scrolling MMOs I give it a solid B. It would've been an A if gameplay didn't get stale past level 40 (level cap is 70).
The entrance of a typical mission in Dragon Saga. Dragon Saga features a wide variety of missions for players to participate in. All with a moderately challenging boss at the end.
Graphics and Music
The graphics for Dragon Saga are absolutely amazing. Even on low graphic settings the game is a beauty. It features a highly anime/manga inspired design that is evident in both the graphics and skills used by characters, which can range from transforming your head, to shooting a bear out of your sword, to summoning a "barbarian" (who's really just a flasher). The types of scenery can get boring, especially for towns as many of them are port towns with some type of variation among them. However, outside of towns it is very interesting. One minute you can be in the middle of a field and the next minute you can be high in the minutes and then later on a sunny beach.
The music for Dragon Saga is well composed and it does fit the game very well. I do find myself turning off the music for boss fights largely because I don't like the boss fight music (nor the boss sounds), however aside from boss fights I keep music on. There is a degree of repetitiveness as most areas share the same theme, however I do enjoy most of the themes in the game and feel that they suit their regions appropriately.
The anime/manga inspiration is visible in not only the environmental graphics, but the graphics in skills, such as the transformation of heads into animal heads.
Dragon Saga's Cash Shop, or Item Mall as it is actually known as, features typical MMO Cash Shop features. There are some unique hairstyles, some unique eyes, some unique hair and eye colors, and fashion, along with your typical Gachapon/Gacha system and EXP-Boosting potions. Aside from items obtained from their Gachapon, the "Big Wheel," no Item Mall items have stats on them. Though, unfortunately the stats on the Big Wheel items are definitely superior to in-game items. They are balanced out however by being a cover of in-game items meaning that players still have to obtain in-game gear as opposed to using solely Big Wheel equips (unlike in Trickster Online).
An example of items that are able to be obtained from the game's Gacha (known as the Big Wheel) game.
Overall, Dragon Saga's new approach to a side-scrolling MMO is an exciting and unique experience that not only features interesting and hands-on gameplay that takes a while to get stale. The graphics are unique and cute while still being in a useable range for most computers. And while some Cash Shop items are a bit imbalanced, the gameplay makes up for it anyway.