Sword 2, formerly known as Sword of the New World: Granado Espada, is a 3D MMORPG developed by Hanbitsoft and published in North America by GamersFirst and in SEA by IAHgames. At first glance Sword 2 seems to be like any other run-of-the-mill 3D point-and-clicks, but the incorporation of unique gameplay elements such as the multi-control character system, NPC recruitment system, and auto-defense system makes it a gem in the rough.
After logging in, you're given three different servers to choose from: Orpesia, Bristia, and Illier. The former two are recommended for NA players while Illier is mainly for EU players. Bristia and Illier are PVP/PK servers, meaning player-kill is open in all maps except towns.
Once your pick your server, one of the aforementioned features immediately come into play when you're prompted to create your first three characters, or your 'family'. You have a choice between five different classes: Fighter, Elementalist, Wizard, Musketeer, or Scout. Basic character appearances are pretty much locked except for the two-option face type and gender. Hairstyles can be bought from the player market and equipped. Each class specializes in different skills and uses different weapons depending on which stances, or skill sets, are learned. Once your three characters are created, you're able to take control of all three when you start the tutorial. You can switch between team control and individual control depending on your play-style, and if you want, you can even go back to the quarters (character selection screen) and re-create your party with only one or two individuals.
After going through the tutorial and learning the basics of UI, combat, and NPC interaction, pretty soon you will have the ability to recruit your first NPC. What do I mean by recruit? Well, certain NPCs will give you their character card once you've completed a certain number of tasks, and by going back to the quarters and creating a new character you will have the opportunity to recruit that NPC into your family and use them in combat. Essentially all NPCs file into the basic 5 classes, but some tend to be stronger than their stock (basic) character counterparts and have the ability to use unique weapons that are exclusive to their character. With over 30 recruitable NPCs to choose from, there are plenty of ways to arrange your 3-member party!
Another feature that you will probably use extensively during your time in Sword 2 is the auto-defense system, or as I like to call it, 'AFK-training'. Yes, you heard me. This feature is completely legal and can be activated by simply pressing the spacebar in an open field. Your entire team will become stationary and set in an auto-defense mode; they will attack all enemies that approach their target range while you lie back and sip your ice tea. However, this feature can be both a boon and a bane – strong mini-bosses are present in every field map and can easily take your party down while you're AFK training. Granted, your characters are able to automatically revive until level 51, but being present every 5 minutes to check on your characters is recommended for training in this manner. If you're playing in Bristia or Illier, you also risk having your characters PK'd if you're level 51 or higher.
Besides the gameplay, a few other features of Sword 2 that I'd like to point out are the amazing graphics and the spectacular soundtrack. For a F2P game, the graphics are simply breathtaking (in high settings) – from Coimbra to Auch, the many details rendered into the buildings and fields make every map worth exploring. Heck, I spent the first 15 minutes of the game walking around the first city and admiring the beautiful graphics. The soundtrack that accommodates every map is also not something to be ignored; each map has its own set of background music – ranging from opera to techno to hard rock. Composers like SoundTEMP and S.F.A. make the OST definitely worth downloading.
Sword 2 does have a cash shop, but I don't think it's necessary to purchase anything to level yourself to level 100/Veteran if you know where to train (besides, AFK training already makes this game pretty easy to level). It only becomes necessary when you participate in daily server events (usually some sort of mini-raid or TvT) or the weekly faction wars. However, most cash shop items and costumes can be purchase through the Feso shop (the currency is bought from cash shop but can be traded with other players with gold) or the player market.
Overall Sword 2 is a refreshing game that minimizes grinding and is perfect for casual gamers who are looking for something unique to try. Of course, you might wonder what else is there to do besides AFK training – there are many NPC quests to try and mini-missions to complete; you can even go to the beach and launch yourself from a Daemon to your hearts content!
System: 5/10 (one of the few cons; the minimum requirements are pretty demanding)