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The peak number of Steam online players exceeded 34 million, and Simplified Chinese became the most commonly used language on the platform After “Phantom Parlu”, the second unexpected hit in 2024 is coming
【Game-Time News】

As a unique theme in our country, martial arts has long been sought after by the majority of players. Judging from the version numbers issued since last year, the subsequent new martial arts products have once again crowded this track. At the same time, we have also observed an obvious trend – players and the market are calling for iterations of the martial arts game framework.

The multiplayer online mode that continues from the era of PC games focuses too much on dungeons, social interactions, battles and other gameplay, and it is difficult to carry the current players’ imaginations about wandering in the world, practicing martial arts, and feeling about their family and country. Therefore, all major manufacturers are currently thinking about how to explore the presentation methods of martial arts themes, hoping to find new forms to usher in the next era.

Among them, NetEase, as a representative manufacturer that has been deeply involved in martial arts themes for a long time, naturally has its own unique insights into category innovation.

For example, “The Condor”, which has just recently completed testing and opened pre-orders on the App Store, and will be officially tested in the first half of this year, once again shows us the room for expansion of the martial arts game experience. This is a large-scale production that took 6 years and invested 1 billion by the Fantasy Division War Soul Studio. Although there is still multiplayer online gameplay, it is more inclined to a refined “stand-alone experience”. You can still complete tasks and complete dungeons. , but the game packages all gameplay interactions into an immersive unified package.

According to official data, this martial arts masterpiece, which was the first to try a “world-first server”, has already broken multiple NetEase internal records during testing.

According to statistics, during the test period, 2,219 players had a “life-and-death friendship” with Huang Rong, and 1,182 players had a “life-and-death friendship” with Guo Jing. A total of 14,957 players have owned their own properties, and 1,859 of them have opened shops, creating several commercial streets of different styles around Wudingfang. Three days after the beta started, players and NPCs built a city together, and their enthusiasm for playing was already evident.

For me, “The Condor Shooting” easily broke my previous stereotypes of multiplayer martial arts RPGs:This is a martial arts product that is eager to push category specifications to a new dimension and try to redefine the category.

Breaking stereotyped expectations: focusing on narrative, exploration, and immersion

As a remnant of the old era who is familiar with “Jin Gu Huang Liang Wen”, my dissatisfaction with the framework of past multiplayer martial arts games mainly lies in the “drama”. Since the gameplay focuses on experiencing various large dungeons, or joining a gang to explore social fun, after the initial novelty wears off, people tend to become addicted to pure gameplay content such as numerical enhancement, equipment brushing, team fighting, etc. The martial arts skin is instead used Leave it behind.

In contrast, “The Condor Trilogy” is dominated by immersion and the experience is introduced starting from the story. The game’s faithful restoration and moderate expansion of the “Condor Trilogy” has allowed me, an original novelist, to quickly get involved in the play.

After a short opening, we were able to meet the main characters such as Guo Jing and Huang Rong, thus starting the main plot of “The Legend of the Condor Heroes”. Famous scenes such as the martial arts competition between Yang Kang and Mu Nianci, and Wang Chuyi’s battle with the masters in the palace, etc., are all performed in the game with exciting cutscenes. This is undoubtedly the key to quickly building an authentic martial arts flavor in “The Condor”.

In addition, for me, the creation of the characters is also quite attractive. The game accurately identifies the appearance characteristics of each character in the original novel, and then uses gorgeous and detailed picture texture and character modeling to polish the early stage BOSSes such as the Four Ghosts of the Yellow River to be quite recognizable, making people feel both familiar and unexpected. There is even a special “identification” step for each new character’s appearance, which is also intentional.

What a handsome Ouyang Ke, what an outrageous choice

More importantly, the player in the story is not a “camera” witnessing the story, but a main character who is deeply involved in the major events of the original work. The game does not copy and paste from the original work, but uses the plot line retracement function commonly seen in text adventure games to allow players to freely experience the direction of the story.

For example, at the beginning of the chapter, you can choose to take the Guo Jing route or the Yang Kang route to experience the mighty hero or the scheming world. Then, various new plots can be unlocked based on the players’ key choices at different points, thereby complementing the original content from multiple perspectives and renovating our perception of the classic martial arts story.

This kind of entry point, which is rooted in Jin Yong’s original work but also unique, combined with the dazzling performances and voices, gives “The Condor” a stand-alone RPG-like plot experience – it can also be used as a means of reviewing the original work.

While focusing on narrative, “The Condor” also renovates the completely mission-driven design of common martial arts games, and instead uses the “big world” framework that has become popular in recent years to guide players to experience life in the world through exploration.

After all, playing games is not about reading novels. Rather than reading the story chapter by chapter, it is more in line with players’ expectations to transport players back to the Southern Song Dynasty, experience the cultural scene at that time, visit famous mountains and rivers, and leave their own heroic reputation. Therefore, “The Condor” no longer has the anxiety of constantly clicking on tasks and automatically finding paths to push the main line. Instead, it allows players to gradually unlock many surprises buried in the big world.

As players light up the silver toad lanterns, they will find that the map of the game is quite vast, basically covering all the well-known areas in the original work, and truly bringing the entire Condor River and Lake into view. At the same time, the game attaches great importance to guidance. In addition to narrative, it is also driven by visual spectacle and various bonus content, striving to prevent players from returning empty-handed after going up the mountain and crossing the sea.

Specifically, the game creates a vivid sense of the world with almost full interactive content.When walking on the road, you will find that there are always collectible props on the roadside, which fully satisfies the hamster party who likes to hoard things. Use Qinggong to climb to the roof, and you will find an outsider who can challenge you. When you climb the mountain, you will find a treasure chest in the cave…Similar small interactions are everywhere, not to mention decryption, battles, side events, etc. More intuitive gameplay content.

In conjunction with the real-time passage of time and the large framework of millions of people serving in the same world,“The Condor” refocuses players’ attention and core drive on “immersive exploration of the world”.Instead of pushing the speed to become stronger mechanically, pursuing what “full level is the beginning”, eagerly start grinding. This “sinking down” experience can be described as the biggest subversion of the traditional multiplayer RPG model in the past.

What also impressed me deeply was the depiction of humanistic details in “The Condor”. You must know that martial arts is not only about martial arts duels and the love between children. The description of food, clothing, housing and transportation is also the key to whether the player is involved in the play. Just like the Twenty-Four Bridges on the Moonlit Night made by Huang Rong for Hong Qigong in the original work, this is often the most revealing part of kung fu. place.

“The Condor” pays great attention to daily shaping, and tries to implement the so-called “immersion” by showing the unexplored dimensions of the story background. For example, the food, clothing, weapons and other content of the Song Dynasty are meticulously restored, and many allusions and popular science are interspersed in the plot. When I walk into a village or a restaurant, watching children playing and listening to singers singing, the feeling is very real – this is not a role-playing that is about numerical values, but a world of fireworks.

Perhaps the most outstanding multiplayer RPG with a “martial arts flavor”?

In addition to the “xia” part, how to present the “martial arts” part is also a very important part. Although some past products also had martial arts-flavored settings such as sect secrets, Qinggong acupoints, etc., the final presentation was still the “tactics, animal husbandry, and basics”, which was nothing more than changing the subject matter and losing light and polluting skills.

As for the proposition of “presenting a martial arts flavor through gameplay”, “The Condor Shooting” can be said to have given a new answer that has not been seen for a long time.

The game boldly downplays the traditional structure that focuses on professions and sects, but instead deeply draws on the martial arts settings from Jin Yong’s martial arts novels, focusing on“Travel around the world to collect martial arts and gradually form your own school.”This main axis allows players to feel the excitement of the martial arts protagonist who integrates the strengths of hundreds of schools of thought.

It is true that “The Condor” still has sects such as Peach Blossom Island and Quanzhen Sect, as well as roles such as output, defense, and assistance, but the game is packaged with weapons and mental methods that can be freely selected, which makes it very charming. For example, different weapons such as heavy swords, light swords, gauntlets, and sticks correspond to different schools of output, control, and assistance. Mental skills are also divided into internal and external skills with different effects. All “character builds” will implement the concept of martial arts cultivation. superior.

On top of the character building with a martial arts flavor, there is also a diverse move system. In addition to active skills and unique ultimate moves, “The Condor” further refines the concept of combos, allowing players to freely combine them in combo routines after collecting different moves. Then you only need to press the corresponding buttons in sequence to perform moves or change moves. If set properly, additional effects can be triggered. It can be said that it is a design that takes into account both strategic thinking and on-the-spot operation. It is quite similar to the “any move of Dugu Nine Swords” in “The Swordsman”. “Use whatever you want” has the beauty of winning without any tricks.

In order to support this gameplay structure, the game has added a large number of martial arts that are rare in similar products. There are many ways to collect these martial arts. You can follow the process to gradually extract and unlock them, or you can ask martial arts heroes for advice and learn the famous stunts of each character.

You can even learn Dugu Nine Swords

“The Condor Shooting” resolutely overturns the mature development system of the past. There is no mechanical skill unlocking, and everything requires players to travel and practice in the world to find their own opportunities. This design, in which the entire process from learning moves to forming a genre is transformed into a unique form of martial arts, may be a bit complicated, but the improvement in playability is also visible to the naked eye.

If such a martial arts system is enough to form a distinction, thenThe “Martial Arts Realm” system’s organic integration of the game’s many complex contents can be regarded as the finishing touch in my opinion.

The realm system not only connects most of the content in the game, allowing the experience of each dimension to become part of the character’s improvement, it is also a very martial arts packaging, just like every plant, tree, brick and stone in life. All artifact collections and interpersonal relationships can become opportunities for us to break through obstacles and take further steps. Just like the protagonists in martial arts novels, they constantly circulate the heavens and sink the energy in the Dantian, and finally open up the Ren and Du channels through enlightenment again and again.

With the rich content, the battle itself in “The Condor Shooting” is naturally not bad either.

The free combo system, character positioning and martial arts collection give players a lot of room to play. The operation is not complicated, but there is a certain amount of room for research on the cooperation between teammates, the mechanism and interaction of BOSS, and as a real-time combat game, “The Condor” has obviously also been polished in terms of move design and strike feedback. . The gorgeous effects of the Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms, One Yang Finger and other unique skills must be the core driving force for many players.

It is particularly worth mentioning that although “The Condor” has complete multiplayer content, the game leaves enough room for martial arts fans who only like to play solo. The valet system covering many original characters allows players to play dungeons with NPC teammates with different styles. How to cultivate and match these characters is another major gameplay focus of this game.

The threshold for martial arts experience is about to be raised again

If you want to say the biggest feeling after playing “The Condor Shooting”, it may be that similar products may not have an easy time in the future.

If you compare the graphics, combat, music, etc., you may not be able to feel the difference of “The Condor” at the first time. But after actually experiencing most of the gameplay features, what I see is how it is quickly establishing a new moat for the martial arts genre. Its large-scale reorganization of the martial arts system and its considerable long-term playability are all the result of the heavy investment of established studios. It is difficult to catch up quickly.

Traveling in the world is a complex science

Especially the attitude of “The Condor” in depicting Jianghu in every detail, I think it opened up the situation for subsequent product forms. As a multiplayer online game, it has made an unusual in-depth exploration of the role-playing part. It not only includes “martial arts” and “xiaxia”, but also the atmosphere of life from reciting poems and composing poems to fishing and cooking, covering style, cultivation, The character composition of characters such as courage. The substantial and free RPG elements coupled with the essence of Jin Yong’s dramas have a good chance of raising the player’s experience threshold for martial arts games to a higher level.

Of course, for such a large-scale product, you definitely need more in-depth experience to understand all aspects of it. Whether there are many sufficiently innovative gameplay designs that can be effective and truly make players feel fun depends on the ideas and practices of official operations. I’m very happy to continue to observe whether “The Condor” can allow players to no longer be “deeply obsessed with krypton” and instead simply pay for the content, thereby creating some new trends for martial arts RPGs.

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