What We Found Out Playing Solo Leveling:ARISE

Solo Leveling:Arise is Netmarble’s mobile and PC take on Solo Leveling, a massively popular digital comic, webtoon, and anime series.

Published in South Korea with Japanese and English translations, the Solo Leveling webtoon alone has racked up more than 14 billion views in the last years or so—which makes it all the more incredible that we hadn’t heard of it before yesterday.

We’re here to tell you what we’ve learned about this vastly promising game in our first couple of hours of gameplay.

Starting with the backstory. 

Solo Leveling is set in a universe where deadly monsters keep arriving through mysterious portals called “gates”, and an elite force of supernaturally “awakened” humans keeps showing up at these gates to confront the demonic interlopers. 

The protagonist is a famously wimpy E-Rank hunter Sung Jinwoo, whose nickname is simply “Weakest Hunter of All Mankind”. 

While cruel, this epithet turns out to be accurate, as Jinwoo is dispatched by a monster in the opening moments of the story.

Except not quite. As luck would have it, Jinwoo survives his ordeal and is chosen by the System to receive a second awakening, giving him the unique ability to level-up infinitely.

In the same moment, he also gains the ability to recruit the shadows of his fallen foes to fight alongside him with the rallying cry “arise!”

After that, there’s no stopping him. Jinwoo—ably voice-acted, like all of the characters—starts off a pathetic runt but quickly becomes a confident, powerful, and attractive figure (if mildly confused). 

The basic mechanics underlying the Solo Leveling narrative are essentially ripped from RPGs, so its transition into the realm of interactive entertainment has been unsurprisingly smooth. 

In fact, there’s some clever interplay going on between the two media. After receiving his new in-game powers, Sung Jinwoo is able to perceive a floating HUD, and this is the same HUD that you can see while playing.

With neat little touches like this, Solo Leveling:Arise attempts to make itself as absorbing to new players as it is to longtime fans of the series.

Developer Netmarble Neo has clearly thrown everything at this game, combining stylish webcomic story sequences with slick 3D in-game visuals and 2D animations. Solo Leveling: Arise has all the hallmarks of a big budget cross-platform release.

It’s also surprisingly graphic. Moments after booting the game up for the first time you’ll witness a series of anime horrors involving severed limbs, gouts of blood, and general carnage.

In terms of animated gore, it’s not quite Invincible or Attack on Titan—but it’s in the same blood-spattered ballpark. 

Gameplay-wise, Solo Leveling:Arise will be familiar to anybody who has played a gacha-RPG in the last few years. The action is split up into different modes, all accessible from a futuristic atrium (or a quick menu, if you’re in a hurry). 

In this area you’ll find a Gate Station Board, a leaderboard, a place to draw, a management section, an information desk, and so on, while the exit takes you to the campaign, which is broken up into chapters and missions. 

As you progress through the story you’ll add new Hunters to your team, all of them based on characters from the series, with their own baggage and backstories. You can deploy these in battle to receive various different effects, such as healing and extra firepower.

Plus, they’re entertaining in cut-scenes. 

We’ve only scratched the surface of Solo Leveling:Arise, but so far it seems to have all the ingredients of a hit. 

Storytelling and characterization are the game’s standout features, but Netmarble Neo seems to have converted the source material into a solid, compelling, and innovative mobile and PC RPG.  

We’d get ready for the game now if we were you, by going to its official websiteGoogle Play, the App Store, or the Netmarble Launcher

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