It’s never a good sign when you start a new game and immediately draw comparisons to another – particularly when said game is part of a genre as tired as the mobile MMORPG. But that was exactly our reaction when we started AxE: Alliance vs Empire.
Launching this week, AxE is Nexon’s stab at bringing a mobile MMORPG to market, and it’s an incredibly cynical effort. This is Lineage 2: Revolution in all but name, which wouldn’t be a huge problem if Nexon had at least tried to shake up the formula.
You’ll pick a faction between Alliance and Empire, which is basically the good guys and bad guys. Each faction has three different classes associated with it, so your decision is largely made for you depending on the type of character you want to play.
We opted for a greatsword-wielding warrior, messed around with his face and hair a bit (there’s no option to change genre), then moved into the game proper. The term ‘game’ is used as liberally as possible though, as you’ll spend your time “playing it” by watching your character move from A to B as they automatically complete quest after quest.
AxE: Alliance vs Empire is a mobile MMORPG in a similar vein to Lineage 2: Revolution
There is a story, which we completely ignored after the first few cutscenes. It’s typically nonsense stuff, which adds nothing of value to the experience. If there was an option to turn it off altogether, we’d take it.
As we progressed we slowly unlocked more stuff to do, and none of it surprised us. We watched our character battle through a dungeon, take on opposing players in PvP. We also joined a clan and levelled up our gear. It was very clear that the latter activity will require a ton of IAPs to make any real progress with, even at this early stage of the game.
If we were to give AxE any credit, it would be in its world and character designs. Make no mistake, this is a gorgeous game that we genuinely enjoyed looking at. If it wasn’t for that, we would have been tempted to delete it immediately and look for something more interesting to review this week.
But good looks will only get you so far, and we did ultimately cave in with AxE. A few years ago, when MU Origin and Lineage 2 first arrived, we might have had more time for it. But we’re well over these types of experiences on mobile now. There’s just no genuine gameplay, and it feels more like an exercise in spending money.
Ultimately, it brings absolutely nothing new to the table
The most criminal element of AxE though is in its lack of effort to innovate in any department. It’s just a less polished version of Lineage 2, so even if you do enjoy these games that play themselves we’d just advise you to play that instead.
So save your time. AxE is nothing more than a dull, cynical, and lifeless cash grab. If you really love MMORPGs that play themselves, check out Lineage 2 instead. If not, there’s always Old School RuneScape.
MMORPG? More like LESSRPG!
AxE: Alliance vs Empire might be pretty, but scratch just beneath the surface and this copycat MMORPG is a dull and lifeless cash grab.