Sword of The New World: Granado Espada
Reviewed: 09/20/2007

Sword of The New World: Granado Espada (SNW:GE) is the recent attempt by IMC Games, published in the US by K2 Network, to inject fresh blood into the MMO veins. It originates in Korea, and Korean MMOs have historically been known as the generic knock-offs of the MMO world. Generally plagued with bare-bones content accompanied by gameplay and a level curve that can only be described as masochistic. SNW:GE was initially an attempt to change this perception and be among the first Korean RPGs to find a meaningful market share in North America. Released in early July, SNW:GE became a free to play MMO soon thereafter, opting for a cash shop where players can purchase unique items for their account.

The features in Sword of The New World designed to differentiate it become apparent as early as character creation. Unlike more traditional MMOs, players in SNW will begin by creating their family instead of individual characters. Throughout the players’ time within this game, they will be fighting, questing, and leveling for the honor and glory of their family.

Player advancement in Granado Espada is your standard treadmill affair. Players receive a variety of generic quests or go out into the wilderness to kill endless supplies of quickly respawning mobs. At any time players, can control up to three active characters in their party. SNW:GE‘s multiple character control system has created a system that allows for players to successfully jump in and create a playable party, alleviating the need and time spent locating other players to form a successful gaming party.

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Oh Mr. Butler, I do Declare!

Characters created in SNW:GE are assigned a job class. This class effects all aspects of that character’s development from the equipment they can wear to the skills they can learn. At the start of the game players’ families will have access to characters from five job classes, from standard wizards and fighters to more uncommon classes such as the Musketeer, a class the relies heavily on rifles, muskets and pistols; or the Scout class, notable as the primary healer and buffing job. Many new jobs may be acquired throughout the course of gameplay in the form of UPCs (Unique Player Character). UPCs are acquired through the use of RNPC (Recruitable NPC) cards. RNPC cards may be acquired as quest rewards, from trades with other players, and various other ways. UPC jobs vary from hybrid classes to highly specialized classes able to wield advanced weapons like a shotgun or siege cannon.

Battles within Granado Espada are alien from traditional MMOs. In order to simultaneously control three separate characters, the devs created a system similar to action titles such as Diablo or Dungeon Siege that uses a combination of hotkeys and AI. Players will select a place to move, a monster to attack, or something to collect for either individual party members or the entire group. Each character class has different stances available to them, depending on the weapon(s) equipped, and these are the heart and soul of character development. Stances may be leveled up, similarly to characters, and are the foundation of a character’s AI. This allows variances between characters of the same job class based upon the focus of stances players choose to develop and provides a much needed sense of individuality that is lacking elsewhere in the game.

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Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

One cannot claim that SNW:GE is an ugly game–far from it. Bright, colorful, androgynous, its Asian artistic influences are quite apparent. Musically, players will be hard pressed to find a more delightful, well produced soundtrack in an MMO game. The intro music alone is worth the game download, representing one of the best introduction songs since Chrono Cross‘s “Time’s Scar.”

Sword of the New World: Granado Espada has certainly taken a different route in its development than most in the genre, and for a genre as stagnant as MMOs have been in recent years, new ideas should be seen as welcome commodities. These ideas work more often than not and add a sense that players are experiencing something fresh. Coupled with the enhanced ability to easily create an autonomous party and the low (no) cost of admittance, there is little to no risk in prescribing Sword of the New World to gaming and MMO lists.

-Michael Wayland

Score Breakdown
Very Good
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Average
Graphics Good
Sound/Music Excellent
Replay Value Great
The Verdict: 7