Zone 4: Fight District Review
Do you have an itch to pummel someone's face? Zone 4: Fight District might be the game you have searching far and wide for. Utilizing the beat 'em up formula, Z4 brings it all into a persistent online world.
After a very brief and lackluster character customization, you are allowed to select from six characters that include but aren't limited to Street Fighter or a Rush Fighter. Street Fighters focus on crush attacks, which are combo-based attacks. They lay on damage by repeated punches and kicks. Rush Fighters on the other hand focus on holds, more akin to a wrestler. Their attacks do more damage when grappling an enemy. At level 10, you can then advance each style further into one out of three sub-styles. Street Fighters are allowed to advance onto Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai or Boxing, while Rush Fighters can focus on Judo, Wrestling, and Hapkido.
Though initial character customization is limited, equipment and costumes offer a chance for each character stand out further in the game, and what kind of free MMO would be complete without an in-game store to make it all possible earlier by spending real money. Everything from clothes, to hair and even facial expressions is available to purchase for a day, a week or a month.
The in-game store is also the place to buy and learn new skills, which luckily only costs ZEN, which is in-game money. Feeling like fighting for money isn’t your thing, purchase a drill or a pick axe and “mine” for it. This form of resource gathering is a welcome addition to the otherwise strictly combat based game, and is a nice way to make some extra cash.
The controls are what separate Zone 4 from a title such as Dungeon Fighter Online. Unlike DFO, which allowed command inputs to execute moves, Z4 is a straight up button-masher. Different moves are executed by holding a certain arrow key in conjunction with the attack button, but it doesn’t provide the interactivity that DFO has. The attacks also aren’t as responsive, and have a slight lag which makes the game frustrating at key moments.
Aside from standard attacks, your character can also perform holds and throws. Holds are good to immobilize the target, and transition into double-takedowns when surrounded by two enemies. If a partner is near, holds can turn into team attacks, where one person holds the enemy, while the other takes them down. The Q W and E keys are the designated Special Attack keys, with Q being a mild special and E being the strongest. The F key lets you pick up objects, such as hammers or street signs and use them as weapons.
The structure in how Zone 4 sessions are played is similar to Dungeon Fighter Online. Find an appropriate lobby, either alone or with a formed party, and go duke it out with a bunch of NPC’s. The streamlined nature of matches works without any downtime, or aimless walking around.
Beginnings will spend most of their time in Hunting Zones. Representing the starter areas that can be tackled without a party, the Hunting Zones serve the purpose of gaining experience and money in a short time. The mission objectives for Hunting Zones include finding three keys or eliminating a specific amount of enemies to clear the level. Once you’re ready, (or feel like you’re ready) you can bump fists in the PVP Arena, Fight Club style, which will earn you Arcade Tokens, that in-turn grant you access to the many Arcades scattered around each map.
Arcade Zones are themed instances (after a hotel, a city district or a park just to name a few) that are tougher to play through and have a wanted poster attached to them, which give you a sneak preview of the upcoming boss battle. Forming a party to tackle them is recommended, as you will find that enemies are significantly tougher, and travel in greater numbers. This is where the majority of high level loot can be found, and is worth playing through each Arcade multiple times assuming you have the appropriate amount of Arcade Tokens.
This rinse and repeat formula is what drags the game down. Hunting Zones are required to raise your level to be able to compete in PVP arenas, which is the only place to acquire Arcade Tokens, that are the only way to access Arcade Zones. Once you run out of Arcade Tokens, its back to the Hunting Zones and PVP arena.
While not perfect, Zone 4: Fight District manages to stay mildly entertaining. If you’re looking to relieve your stress by button-mashing someone’s face in, then perhaps Zone 4 is right up your alley. However, its somewhat laggy input response, and non-engaging combat, damper the overall experience.