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Both Dungeon Hunter and Zenonia have been the staple RPG franchises in iOS gaming for the last couple years, and like Dungeon Hunter 3, Gamevil’s latest entry in the franchise has gone freemium. Don’t despair though! Zenonia 4 doesn’t make the same mistakes Dungeon Hunter 3 did, remaining pretty much the exact same game with slightly tweaked design and better graphics than ever.
The story this time around is harder to follow than ever before, but is pretty much the same in terms of pacing and presentation. It moves along a bit too slowly and there are plenty of confusing translation errors to overcome. I’ve never finished any of the previous games, but this one is already much more confusing and nonsensical. That isn’t necessarily a negative criticism, but you’ll probably be much more engrossed if you’re already a fan.
The gameplay is the same as ever. The same awkward controls triumphantly return, right alongside all the fairies, titles, skill trees, equipment repairing/upgrading, and whatever else Gamevil has taken three entries to polish to a shine. Quests are mostly of the “fetch” variety, as usual. The only way the freemium model really affects the game is through a lone title screen advertisement and an increased difficulty. The game has more grinding than the previous entries in an attempt to persuade you with in-app purchases. You can purchase gold or zen points to boost your stats and get ahead, and penalty free revives will also lighten your wallet. You can still get through all featured content entirely for free with no limitations on play, which is fine by me.
A new addition to the series is online player versus player combat. You can easily drop in and out of online matches, either one on one or alongside a team of players. You can also compete in daily in the online Abyss mode for the chance to find epic loot. Both are nice little distractions that you can access any time from the pause menu.
This is by far the best looking entry in the series. The art assets are more detailed and the colors are more vibrant than ever thanks to the inclusion of Retina display graphics. The production values are as high quality as ever, and this is a solid title overall. I prefer some of the previous Zenonia games myself, and I’m sure this game will alienate at least some of the older fans. Luckily, you have nothing to lose by downloading and giving it a try.