Vindictus: Defying Fate is worth trying for free on Steam this week


Although I enjoy a wide variety of games from different genres, there are still parts of the video game zeitgeist I have little knowledge of. One of those blind spots is Korean MMOs like Nexon’s Vindictus, which attracts lots of players in Asia, but has made less of an impact in the U.S. Thankfully, my lack of familiarity with that space didn’t make the playtest for Vindictus: Defying Fate any less enjoyable.

Rather than being yet another massive MMO, Vindictus: Defying Fate is a tough Dark Souls-inspired action RPG. I’m typically a fan of when game studios take their popular franchises and diversify them to appeal to different types of players, and I think Defying Fate has a good chance of making Vindictus more relevant to unaware Western gamers. Fluid combat and gorgeous visuals make this an action game to watch and try out for free during its playtest, which is now running on Steam.

No Vindictus background required

The Vindictus: Defying Fate playtest emphasizes gameplay over story. There are two playable characters: the longsword and shield-wielding Fiona and a character from Vindictus names Lann, who dual-wields swords and can aggressively dash around during combat. First, I tried out Fiona and slowly inched my way through Vindictus: Defying Fate’s first few combat encounters. Anyone who has played a game from FromSoftware or any Soulslike will instantly recognize the formula.

Fiona approaches enemies in the Vindictus: Defying Fate playtest.

Enemies are formidable, and properly dodging and blocking attacks at key times is just as critical to success as attacking is. Soulslike games are hit-or-miss for me, but I got into a groove with Vindictus: Defying Fate because it controls more similarly to action games like Devil May Cry and Soulstice than Dark Souls. It uses controller buttons for combat, rather than triggers, and features deep skill and combo systems that give each character plenty of varied utility in a fight. It’s still quite difficult, especially during boss fights, but attacking feels a lot more exhilarating from moment to moment than in most Soulslikes.

Fiona is a much more defensive character, which isn’t typically the kind I like using in Soulslike games when I play them. The more timid playstyle she encourages did help me get used to the basics of Vindictus: Defying Fate and overcome the first boss encounter. The enemies in the demo are a lycanthropic warrior race that brutally murders any human soldiers they come across.

While my unfamiliarity with Vindictus means I have little idea of what’s going on narratively in this demo, I still appreciated that they were unique enemies that were thrilling to take down. Vindictus: Defying Fate is a gorgeous-looking game in general, even at this early development stage. I’m hoping that the original MMO gave Nexon more than enough material to work with for the action game. I’m already excited to see what other creative ideas the full game adopts.

A lycan enemy in Vindictus: Defying Fate.

Vindictus: Defying Fate continued to shine when I tried out Lann. He’s a character who requires much more aggressive play than Fiona, which fits right into my action game preferences. It’s extremely satisfying to pull off Lann’s Fury skill and deal massive damage to a group of enemies with a powerful slash attack. Although features like items and character stat growth were missing from this demo, Nexon has an extremely solid base on which to build a widely appealing action game.

The playtest build of Vindictus: Defying Fate that I tried is now available to try for free on Steam. It’s available for download on the game’s Steam page and is accessible between now and 1 a.m. PT on March 18. Even if you’re as unfamiliar with Vindictus as I was, those who enjoy intense action RPGs that riff on the formula FromSoftware established will want to check Defying Fate out during this free trial period.

The full version of the game does not yet have a release window, with Nexon simply confirming that Vindictus: Defying Fate is in “an early development phase” for PC and console and will adapt based on feedback from this playtest.

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