Lost to the Internet: Astonishia Online

Korea seems perpetually locked in MMO fever, turning even the most unlikely titles into fully-fledged online worlds (remember Langrisser Schwarz and Ys Online?) so it should be no surprise that one of their home grown RPG series, Astonishia Story, got the same treatment with the imaginatively titled Astonishia Online: Return of the Legend (어니스토니시아 온라인).

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Looking at the news section of the official site is appears that the game was only available for play in 2010, and even then only as a closed beta test. From the (auto-translated) blogs I’ve read about it players weren’t particularly enamoured with the game, citing poor character customisation, really quite shocking bugs and a lack of balance as some of the reasons for their frustration.

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Even so, as an outsider it looks quite pretty and the battle system is intriguing – battles took place on grids and were split into distinct “Tactics” and “Action” phases. From what I can gather from the description on the official website the “Tactics” phase was where you decided your party’s formation on a 3x2 grid (with the expected attack boost for front row characters and defense boost for the obligatory back row mages and other ranged attackers) and then play switched to the “Action” phase which appears play out rather like a more traditional JRPG.

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Sonnori, owners and creators of the Astonishia series, appear to have closed their company website in 2012 and their Facebook/Linked In pages are equally bare so it’s unknown whether the lack of any open beta or full release of Astonishia Online is due to Sonnori’s apparent closure or down to fundamental problems with the game itself that simply weren’t worth fixing.

(Screenshots and artwork were all pillaged from various Korean blogs and websites found through Google image searches, sorry for the lack of individual credit)