Lost Ark is a bizarro action-RPG married to a trad MMO

Seven years ago I sat through an eight-minute trailer for a Korean game I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to play. Its centrepiece was a wildly escalating demonstration of each class’s attacks. An oversized sword exploded into burning chains, then the burning chains themselves exploded. Monsters were frozen, then shattered by a giant magic foot. There was gun-fu flipping, dragon-riding, and then the damn mech showed up with machineguns for arms. The first time I saw a monk in Diablo 3 materialize a church bell out of the sky then drop it on someone I laughed with glee. Lost Ark promised something like that would be happening once a minute.

Now it’s finally coming out in English, and I’m playing a gunslinger in the closed beta. I can throw a spare pistol onto the ground where it flips around in a circle shooting everyone’s feet like this is a saloon and I’m hollering at them to dance. Then I pull out a rifle, an anachronistic red-dot sight appearing before it obliterates everything in a straight line from here to the edge of the screen, leaving behind a strip of molten ground like a bowling lane from Hell.

(Image credit: Amazon Games)

This is why I’m playing Lost Ark, an action-RPG that redefines over-the-top. Every time I fast-travel I pull out an electric guitar and play a sweet lick and I still don’t know why. When I hop on my mount I have a choice between a horse and a cloud that can put on a fireworks display. Where Path of Exile looks like it’s been cursed by a witch to look drab so a prince won’t fall in love with it, everything about Lost Ark is garish, cartoonish, and glorious.

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