Shaiya is a free-to-play MMORPG game set in a mythical world full of humans, elves and other unworldly creatures. It's a classic story between the forces of Good vs. Evil and you have the choice at the beginning of the game to play as either side.
Much like most other games from its genre, before you venture off on your epic quest, you're required to create the look of your main character. You have the choice to create either a human or elf main character. The create options are pretty limited but at least you're able to change the hair style, skin tone and gender for your chosen main character.
As with most other RPG games, there are different classes to choose from that specialize in specific areas of combat. You have the option to choose classes that are experts in magic, archery and swords just to name a few. Once you've done all that, you are now ready to enter the world of Shaiya.
Despite the game world being rendered in full 3D, I was surprised (and delighted) to know that the loading times weren't that long. The last time I played a game like this on my PC was called Combat Arms. That game took several minutes just to load one map.
Once the game loads, you're immediately thrust into this fantasy world. The tutorial is pretty simple to get through as the controls are easy to master. I love the way you can control the camera using the mouse and then using your keyboard to navigate your character. Other PC games I've played had all the controls mapped on the keyboard which made it hard on my fingers.
It's great to know that you are in complete control with your character at all times in Shaiya. The game plays similarly to other RPG games like Final Fantasy XII and even the mighty World of Warcraft. This is because all the enemies are loaded onto the game map itself and you can choose whether or not to confront them. All you have to do is highlight the chosen enemy, click on the right mouse button and your character will immediately start fighting them. It's always nice to see the game actually animate combat – I've played too many games recently where the combat is simulated and all you see is a boring stats screen…
Not only is combat simplistic, but you can evade attacks by jumping or walking to the side. I prefer this style of fighting unlike in turn-based systems where you're forced to get hit all the time. The other helpful thing in this game, is that your health bar automatically recovers after each battle. This makes the game a lot less frustrating to play and you're not forced to use your hard-earned money purchasing health potions all the time.
The game world is animated beautifully for a free-to-play title. It's fairly large and players will be sure to get a little overwhelmed by its share size. Thankfully, there's a map you can always refer back to and a very helpful chat system on the bottom left of your screen to ask for any help if you ever get stuck. There's even a weather system in this title. One time you might be seeing the lovely sun while other times it could be pouring with rain.
Accepting quests is the main bulk of the gameplay in Shaiya. Most of the tasks require you to defeat certain monsters. You can opt to do this all by yourself or you can meet other players and do quests as a party. It's pretty cool how you can see other players walking around the game world as you play and you can choose to trade equipment with them too. You can even challenge other players in a duel – if you're feeling up to it. It's advisable to do this to prepare yourself with the many hard tasks that will await you in Shaiya.
The other great thing about Shaiya is that you can set the difficulty the game. If you've never played a MMORPG game before, you can play the game with relative ease at your own pace on the Easy mode. However if you're a veteran player, there's the Ultimate mode which allows you access to all the skills and items in the entire game. You're only able to play this mode if you're at a very high level in the game!
Characters progression and leveling-up is the keys to success in Shaiya. If you want to get hours of enjoyable gameplay, it's best if you accept and complete as many quests as possible, and buy all the latest weapons, skills and equipment. Failure to do so will make your character very weak and insignificant.
Shaiya is an amazing free-to-play MMO RPG game. The graphics are great and the gameplay was easy enough to learn. Shaiya is even better than games you will have to pay full price for. If you're a fan of games like Final Fantasy XII or World of Warcraft, then Shaiya is definitely a game you should check out.