Solo Leveling ARISE Review: A Tribute to the Cult Favorite Series

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    Solo Leveling: ARISE is an ARPG gacha game based on the beloved Solo Leveling manhwa. With a legacy to live up to, does the game move away from the typical cash-in model and offer a much more compelling experience reminiscent of the source material? Here is my response after weeks of playing.

    History

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    The prologue chapter of the Solo Leveling manhwa was one of the most mortifying, yet memorable, moments in the history of the manhwa, and was also the beginning of many fans’ immersion into Sung Jinwoo’s journey to becoming the world’s strongest hunter. .

    Solo Leveling: ARISE embraces the essence of the Solo Leveling franchise, faithfully retelling the progression of events chapter by chapter from the perspectives of multiple hunters, spread across multiple game modes. In addition to the manhwa content, you can also enjoy a little more history about the Hunters. However, I was disappointed because there are very few Hunter stories available on the Hunter Archive.

    The story uses a combination of actual manhwa panels and dialogue segments between characters, but is quite sparse when it comes to incorporating scenes. These were usually reserved for short displays at the end of major boss battles, which I found a bit disappointing.

    Score: 4/5 stars

    Gameplay and progression

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    Solo Leveling: ARISE offers a host of game modes outside of the main story, but the latter acts as a progression checkpoint. It’s important to know that progression has a time limit, as you can’t progress in the main story unless Sung Jinwoo has reached certain levels, but you can’t level him up without the EXP gained from clearing Gates. These use an energy system that requires time or money to replenish.

    The gameplay is varied and strikes a fair balance between providing opportunities for Jinwoo and other Hunters to show off their skills. As long as Jinwoo is the leader, other hunters can only be used as support, but in hunter-specific game modes, you have the opportunity to play with them in rotating compositions (similar to Genshin Impact).

    While there are a ton of game modes, they are quite similar to each other. Instance Dungeon, Battlefield of Trials, Battlefield of Time, and Power of Destructions are just a series of dungeon crawls and boss battles with different combat requirements and enemy difficulty levels. I don’t see this as a particular disadvantage, as Solo Leveling: ARISE is a combat game through and through.

    Score: 4/5 stars

    Upgrade system

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    Solo Leveling’s upgrade system is frustrating because everything has a time limit. First, you need to level up Sung Jinwoo since the Hunters’ max level is based on their max level. Next, you need to farm artifacts, either by clearing doors or additional quests. You only get three free Encore mission keys per day, and events are not generous in giving you more, limiting your farming ability as a free player.

    Upgrade materials can be obtained from Gates, but it involves a frustrating RNG process. You can upgrade Gates every five minutes, of which you only have a small chance of getting purple Gates that drop materials. If you are in a hurry, you have to shell out premium currency for unlimited upgrades.

    Among modern gacha games, I find Solo Leveling: ARISE’s upgrade system to be one of the most unforgiving. The good thing is that you can activate the automatic battle, which is a great relief to disconnect from the background agricultural hell.

    Score: 2/5 stars

    Combat

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    Solo Leveling: ARISE’s combat is a little clunky, but it’s surprisingly well done for a spin-off game – territory marred by low-effort cash grabs. Sung Jinwoo’s combat capabilities reflect the original manhwa, so I had fun testing out all of his beloved skills against familiar bosses. Hunters also gain a wide range of abilities and have a chance to shine in hunter-specific challenges, and it’s a lot of fun to try out synergies between characters. Auto battle is available in most game modes.

    However, I ran into some issues with the combat system. First, I found the camera extremely difficult to work with, as it often made sudden changes to a different angle. As a result, I get very dizzy even with manual camera mode. Secondly, it took quite a while to get used to aiming at the enemy. I often found myself attacking in the wrong direction when fighting a small enemy. The problem can be solved by using characters or weapons with a larger hitbox, but it takes some progression to get to a comfortable point.

    Score: 4/5 stars

    Graphics

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    Solo Leveling: ARISE’s graphics are well done and reflect the standards of modern combat-focused gacha games. Instead of using generic enemies, the developers strove to mimic the unique lineup of enemies and bosses introduced in the original manhwa, faithfully giving them their own combat mechanics. The characters were beautifully rendered with movements reminiscent of their abilities, so there is a good level of visual interest in the game despite the lack of environmental variety.

    While the graphics aren’t on par with gacha giants like Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, the effort put into Solo Leveling: ARISE’s graphics are nothing to scoff at. As someone who can only play games with pretty visuals, Solo Leveling: ARISE made my eyes happy.

    Score: 5/5 stars

    Gacha System

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    Solo Leveling: ARISE’s gacha execution isn’t the best, but it’s not that bad either. The game made the sin of putting the Hunters and weapons in the same way and at the same time not differentiating the Hunters’ weapons and Jinwoo’s. This agreement makes it difficult for free players to plan their withdrawals. However, the game offers some relief through a standard 50-50 pity system, which offers a guarantee that the hunter will increase the rate of him with each second of pity.

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    Additionally, Solo Leveling: ARISE has made an effort to make the SSR grind easier by offering speed boost events that award a good amount of speed draw tickets and the character’s signature weapon every time a new SSR is up. speed. It’s unclear how often these events will happen, but the fact that they happen is already a huge win considering the stingy nature of most gacha games.

    Score: 4/5 stars

    Monetization

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    Solo Leveling: ARISE is not ashamed of its monetization. Ads are plastered everywhere and you are constantly greeted with pop-ups presenting new package deals. Even the tempting Special Summon that greets you in the Lobby is a paid system.

    Each time-controlled mechanic can be bypassed by using premium currency and special perks, some of which can be obtained in-game in limited quantities (such as Essence Stones) and others for which you must pay (i.e. Auto Gate Mining). There’s also a pretty big difference in the quality of SRs and SSRs, so you may feel a power gap depending on your luck or the depth of your wallet. Ultimately, Solo Leveling: ARISE is free to play with patience, which I think is the norm for most gacha games.

    Score: 3/5 stars

    Verdict

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    Solo Leveling: ARISE is a fantastic homage to the original Solo Leveling manhwa, faithfully retelling the story of Sung Jinwoo’s journey through an immersive experience, as if you were Sung Jinwoo himself. The game is very well made and clearly made with a lot of love. A lot of thought went into making Solo Leveling: ARISE a fun and engaging combat game that embraces the charming Hunter and Gates system, while incorporating classic gacha essentials.

    However, there is a clear pay-to-win barrier when it comes to progression, and it’s up to you to decide whether you can play patiently or shell out the necessary funds to speed up progression.

    For more information on Solo Leveling: ARISE, check out our Solo Leveling ARISE Reputation Guide: Benefits and How to Level Up here at Pro Gaming Guides.


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