MapleStory 2

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
MapleStory 2 Game Poster Image
Tons of fun, free role-playing in redesigned adventure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players work together help a world suffering in the aftermath of a feud between two goddesses. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players get to build their own heroes - all with noble intent. 

Ease of Play

There's a lot to learn, but the game does a great job of guiding new players and teaching new concepts in small, digestible chunks. 

Violence & Scariness

Combat's a big part of the game, but it's cartoonish and non-bloody. Players use swords, magic, and other weapons against monsters.

Language

Unmoderated chat could expose players to inappropriate content.

Consumerism

It's easy to play for free, but a store full of fun vanity items and power-ups is a big temptation. Latest installment in the Maplestory franchise.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that MapleStory 2 is a free-to-play downloadable massively multiplayer online role-playing game  (MMORPG) for Windows PCs based on the popular MapleStory series. The anime-style fantasy game takes place entirely online, and contains unmoderated player chat, friending, clubs, and in-game guilds. Some busty female characters wear sexy outfits. Players must create a Nexon account in order to play, and though it's possible to play for free, a robust in-game shop tempts players with a host of colorful vanity items and powerups. An in-game clothing design system lets players create their own logos and publisher Nexon is working to screen the ones made with offensive imagery. While combat's a large focus of the gameplay, with players using swords, spears, and magic to eliminate monsters, the cartoonish, non-bloody visuals limits the impact of fighting.

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What's it about?

MAPLESTORY 2 is an online role-playing game (RPG) with anime-style graphics that lets players customize their own heroes and explore a range of themed fantasy territories alone or with friends. Players start by choosing a class (such as Knight, Priest, or new class, Runeblade) then gain experience by fighting and exploring terrain. Experience grants players skill points they can spend to increase their attributes, and questing provides useful items, mounts, and in-game currency. In addition to completing quests to progress the overall story, players can develop a wide range of “life skills” like fishing, smithing, ranching,  mining, and more. Dungeons let players band together to defeat powerful bosses and earn special rewards. Special holiday-themed events give players another way to earn unique, exclusive items, and home ownership lets them create custom locations friends and other players can visit.

Is it any good?

This role-playing game (RPG) sequel marks a massive step forward for the fourteen-year-old MMO. Not only do the 3D graphics of MapleStory 2 give the game a much richer look, its many new activities gives players lots more to do. Many of the old limits have been removed, such as eliminating the original game's “pay-to-win” reputation. Unless you're constantly playing the game (not a healthy routine, to be sure), there's enough free content to keep you busy for months. Loads of places to explore, items to craft, and houses to build and decorate. If you're more combat focused, PvP (player versus player) and themed dungeons provide fun opportunities to test your skills. And if all this isn't enough, there's the silly, randomly-announced mini-games that pit you against a crowd of other players in good-natured party activities. MapleStory 2's main strength is how it trains new players. With all there is to do, there's lots to absorb, but it's done in a way that's entertaining. The new 3D graphics are so dang cute, and the custom mini-movies, animations, and semi-hidden details make it fun just to run around.

The one issue MapleStory 2 needs to work on is performance. In highly-populated fights, frame rate can drop, making the game stutter and slow down. Other concerns are more content-related: parents should be aware that player chat can contain inappropriate language and subject-matter, and provides opportunities for cyber-bullying. Also, some busty female characters in the game wear revealing outfits, and Nexon's currently working to screen out items made with the game's built-in clothing customization function (that lets players design their own in-game clothing) that contain politically-offensive imagery. Still, even with these technical and content-related issues, MapleStory 2 is a rare example of online RPG excellence and a fantastic free-to-play game for kids over ten.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games? Is the impact of the violence in MapleStory 2 affected by the cartoonish visuals? Would the violence be intensified if you were fighting monsters with more realistic imagery?

  • Has your family set limits for hours of gameplay and dollars spent? Why would that be important for games like MapleStory 2?

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