Dawn of Isles received quite a bit of hype when it was first announced earlier this year. This is a stunningly beautiful MMORPG for mobile that promised to deliver a quality gameplay experience.

That’s right – it seemed that instead of watching your character automatically hack and slash through tons of generic environments, you’d be gathering resources, craft equipment, and establish a home for your own.

Dawn of Isles trailer

And yes, it does deliver all of that, but after a couple of hours in, you’ll find that everything just feels lackluster. For example, there are a bunch of time gates with the crafting system. Want to make a simple wooden sword? Sorry, you can’t because your Deity Alter (which is basically the Town Hall in this game) is not leveled up yet.

So the early game will be… just like any other games in this genre. You’ll tap through a series of quest objective markers on the screen to have your character automatically find their way there.

The early game will be just like any other MMO

Once you get to where you need to be, you’ll do the usual stuff: talk to an NPC, kill some monsters, and obtain resources. You’ll pick up resources automatically, but when it comes to fighting, you’ll have to do so manually.

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The early game plays quite similarly to other mobile MMORPGs

As you progress, you will unlock a wide collection of skills, and the interesting part is, you can combine them to create more powerful effect, similar to what we see Divinity: Original Sin. For example, add fire to a tornado and you’ll get a firestorm.

A large part of the initial questline will focus on establishing your home hub, but everything is pretty straightforward. Most of your time will be spent gathering sticks and stones to build structures and level them up. However, there’s actually not a lot of crafting at this phase. You’re basically just establishing a foundation for that later on.

A large part of the initial questline will focus on establishing your home hub

The main problem here is that when you finally reach that point, the crafting system still doesn’t have anything particularly interesting to offer. The armor and weapons are not that diverse, and a lot of the cosmetics can only be obtained by spending real money in the cash shop.

Dawn Of Isles Screenshot 1
The in-game graphics are absolutely stunning

That said, we do have to praise Dawn of Isles for its visuals, which are absolutely gorgeous. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful mobile game you’ve come across. A lot of effort has clearly gone into polishing the details. When you fast travel, a massive bird will actually come to pick you up. When you pass through the grass, it will move with you.

A lot of effort has clearly gone into polishing the details

Honestly, we have trouble acknowledging that this is a mobile game. Dawn of Isles is truly the definition of “console-quality graphics.” What’s even more impressive is that the game can even reach 60fps if your device is strong enough. The entire game is a testament to how far mobile gaming has progressed in recent years. Of course, all that comes at the cost of consuming a lot of battery power, so it’s something you might want to keep in mind.

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Watch your battery while playing this game!

Final thoughts

All things considered, our feelings about Dawn of Isles are quite mixed. Yes, it could be one of the best MMORPGs on mobile at the moment, but it is not quite the savior we hoped it would be. Maybe it’s because we expected too much, which might be unfair in the first place.

At the end of the day, this is still a very solid game. The combat is interesting, there isn’t much autoplay, and aside from fighting, there are plenty of things to do. It’s just that things feel like they are not quite there yet.

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The game is solid in its own rights, but it could pave the way for much better things to come in the future

That’s the best way to describe this one: it’s definitely a step up from the usual lazy cashgrab that has plagued the genre for so long, but it could have been a lot better. Hopefully, it will pave the way for better games to come in the future. Nevertheless, NetEase has done a commendable job of creating something different and more polished.