JRPG goes hardcore
Greetings RPG fans, boy have you been blessed. Two quality Japanese RPG`s in the same month. First came the hotly anticipated thirteenth Final Fantasy game. This was one of the best looking games on any console, but some may say that the scrapping of towns and the linearity of the game has strayed too far away from the classic formula, and put off a lot of hardcore fans. The second game, to come out a couple of weeks after FFXIII is a game called Resonance of Fate. And it is pretty much the Ying to FFXIII`s Yang. This game does not have awesome graphics, does have towns with NCP`s to talk to, is not particularly linear, and is as hard as rotty with a machine gun.
Now the one thing both games have in common, is a impressive battle system. With ROF it is all gun based, no spells here, just special ammo. Like everything else in this game, the combat is quite complicated, and is not helped by an optional tutorial, which seems to have missed a lot in translation. Even after completing the tutorial, I still found certain aspects of the battles to be hit and miss (if you will excuse the pun!). The battles are a turn based affair, with each member of your team having a chance to attack using their chosen firearm. Each choice works differently, for example the machine gun causes lots of damage, but is not made permanent until someone with a different type of gun fires at the enemy, to make it permanent damage. The main selling point of this combat is the fact you can choose a path for your character to follow, and then when they start running this path, they can shoot, and jump over the enemy you have locked onto. The system is called a tri attack battle system, as if performed correctly, you can get the other 2 members of your team to join in the attack, like a tag team in wrestling.
If you are looking for an RPG to start with, then this ain’t the game for you.
Story wise, the action takes place in a steam-punk inspired world called Basel. There are various levels to this tower like world, each accessed via a central lift. You get to play as a band of three protagonists. The first being Vashyron, a pony tailed former soldier, who seems the best option when it comes to using grenades and Molotov’s. Next up is Zephyr, who seems to favour twin SMG`s. Finally is the female of the group, called Leanne. The towns have various shops, where you can buy new clothes and armour, and there is of course a items store and weapons shop. You can also get your weapons upgraded in the weapons shop (as long as you have the cash and the parts needed, conveniently picked up during the frequent battles).
Another interesting part of Resonance of Fate is the world map, which you have to unlock as you go along. It comprises of a series of different coloured hexagonal tablets. You can only progress to certain parts of the map, when you have picked up the relevant tiles to match the ones you want to unlock on the board. (I’ll admit, I nearly gave up on this game after about 2 hours gameplay, as I couldn’t seem to get any further, due to the tiles not unlocking the new area I knew they should open.)
ROF is not an easy game. If you are looking for an RPG to start with, then this ain’t the game for you. But if you are a hardcore Japanese RPG fan, thought FFXIII was just too easy, and need a challenge, then this is the game for you. It is just a shame it does not have the graphics to match the other game mentioned in this review, if so, it may have received a 10/10.
The Bad: Poor graphics, difficult learning curve, confusing tutorial.