"...a disparate parallel universe where dinosaurs still rule the world. Welcome to Durango."
The train is moving along at a steady pace. Passengers are scattered throughout the car seats, biding their time on the long commute. You tap on one of the civilians and a tidy menu pops up explaining their background and unique character class. Should you choose to accept one of these bystanders, you will soon find yourself in a disparate parallel universe where dinosaurs still rule the world. Welcome to Durango.
Durango is an upcoming free-to-play Massively Multiplayer Online RPG for iOS and Android being published by Nexon, and we were fortunate to get a hands-on demo of the sandbox RPG’s opening. Played from a top down isometric perspective, the game begins right after selecting your character of choice. Tap and hold down on the screen and your character follows, walking in that direction. Tapping on an interactive object or NPC will activate a radial dial menu showing the options of interaction that are available. It is very straightforward and wonderfully easy to navigate.
After what appears to be a dimensional rift derails the train, Durango introduces you to your first taste of combat. While a velociraptor sized carnivore is munching on one of your fellow passengers, the game prompts you to tap on the enemy to engage. Again, a radial menu appears around the enemy combatant, presenting your various attack options. While you rack your brain deciding how to go about the fight, your character will do their basic attack at a steady pace. If you want to do an ability to help finish the creature or activate a buff to maximize damage output, go ahead! Otherwise, your ongoing basic attack will often suffice. This allows for a very fluid and streamlined combat experience that avoids the frantic screen tapping of so many other touch screen games. The fight finished, our hero gets sent from our world to a parallel dimension teeming with Jurassic life. Following a stellar cutscene, an in-depth character customization suite pops up. Here you can tweak a slew of sliders and visual details to make your dinosaur-conquering hero exactly how you want before exploring the unknown in this strange new land.
While our demo ended there, the staff was able to give us a bit more information about the game world at large. Killing dinosaurs may at times be your only option, but Durango is more about cohabitation, as players will be able to feed, ride, and even befriend the creatures they encounter. Resources must be scavenged throughout the procedurally generated world to survive, taking you to new islands to explore along the way. Each landmass has its own environment and supplies, with the more unstable zones having the rarest resources. To aid in your survival while traversing Durango’s Jurassic jungle world, players will have access to a highly customizable skill-based progression system (which we did not get a chance to see), allowing them to approach the game with a variety of different play styles.
Nexon has a very intriguing game with Durango. Thanks to an interesting world and the game’s intuitive touch screen mechanics (not to mention details like feedback vibration that coincide with your footsteps, providing a nice tactile addition to exploration), Durango appears to have a tremendous amount of depth. When Durango releases sometime in Q4 of this year, Nexon believes they have something that will stand out above the rest of the mobile free-to-play crowd. And if what we saw was a good indication of the final product, I would have to agree.