Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
Different, yet in a very good way
on 19 July 2010
This is truly a brilliant game which deserves much more recognition than it has gotten so far, this is probably due to it's badly timed release, at approximately the same time as Final Fantasy XIII.
I have split up my review into different categories.
I think in terms of JRPGs, the story isn't the best one created, as i have had times where i'm not entirely sure whats going on sometimes. But there is a bit of humor in it, as well as the usual sad moments which so many JRPGs have, but all in all, it is an ok story.
The graphics are good, they are by no means the best you can possibly have, but they are still very good. A feature i like in this game, is how you can dress your characters up depending on how you like it. The result is, in both battle and during the cut scenes your character will be dressed up in your clothing scenes. So you could end up having a really serious scene with a character with a bee on her head.
This game can be set to either Japanese or English speaking. And i must say, the voice acting on both tracks seem pretty good. So just choose whichever you prefer usually.
The game is very unique in both its battle system and world map. The world map being a large grid of hexes which you move around using a kind of curser, and you unlock new areas using special items named 'Energy Hexes', which are obtained through battles and quests. These hexes can contain things like cities, items, fight buffs, items, or just simply a chance of a random enemy encounter. The size of this map is large, and allows a reasonable amount of free-roaming. The whole map system sounds weird, but it actually works quite well.
The battle system is a little complex, making it a little difficult to understand at first, I'm still discovering new things about it several chapters in, but it is very fun to play. It is basically a turn based system, crossed with real-time and cinematic style attacks (some of these look very cool as well as humanly impossible). The rest of this paragraph describes the battle system, it will sound complex, but trust me, it's really good fun to use.
The characters take it in turns to attack. Upon starting your attack it changes to real time, in which you may run, attack or heal each other, unfortunately, so may your opponents, if you move normally, then stand still, your turn timer freezes. Upon executing an attack, reaching the end of your chosen route (I'll describe later), or running out of turn time, that characters turn ends, and either the next character takes over, or the enemy does.
When you attack you charge up these multiple sort of power bars and release perform damage, the amount of power bars you have depends on your level in that gun type, and how quickly it fills up depends on your gun modifications (both described later). You may attack once a turn, unless you choose to perform a 'hero action' which lets you run to a chosen location. Whilst using this, you may attack as much as you like, with no limit as to how many enemies you attack, until you reach your chosen location. The side effect of using these is that you use up 'bezels', if you use these up you, go into a critical status in which you move slower, attack slower, and take direct damage, (these bezels are also used up to automatically heal near-dead team members). You may also use special attacks named 'tri attacks' which are basically when everyone swaps positions shooting as they move, forming a triangle of attack. These also use bezels in addition to resonance points.
There are 3 main ways of attacking; these are using SMGs (these cause scratch damage), Handguns (direct damage) or grenades (direct damage to multiple enemies at once). Scratch damage causes the largest numbers of hit points to be taken off from the target, put the damage will be healed in time, and an enemy will stay alive even if all of their health bar has been taken from them. This is where direct damage comes in, it removes all of the scratch damage taken, and causes addition damage to the health bar, this cause much lower damage, meaning that you need to tactically set it up so that you attack with scratch damage, followed by direct. You can also use special bullets and items to improve your attacks, adding things like elemental based damage. There are a lot of things to consider making it difficult to get used to, and tactics are very important. It may sound daunting, but trust me, when you get used to it, it's very fun to use.
Your battles will also be made easier by preparation. You are able to equip items and weapons, which can effect certain resistances and damage amounts/speeds. Customization can be used to add things like sights and magazine clips to increase the amount of bullets you fire per attack, and the speeds in which the attack bars move up. Unfortunately your modifications aren't visible on the gun itself when its being use, you may only see your changes in the customization menu on a sort of blueprints. Each addition to a gun makes the gun heavier, if it becomes to heavy, you're character won't be able to carry it The good side is you can make some ridiculous looking designs, for example, the other day i made an SMG with 14 sights and 6 barrels!
The level system is based purely around your individual gun levels. By dealing certain amounts of damage with each type of gun, you gain a level in that gun type, increasing the amount of bars you have to charge up, (each full bar increases your damage multiplier) and occasionally you gain additional stats such as increased bullet penetration. By leveling up a gun level, you also gain a main level, which increases your total hp and the total weight you're able to carry. This means you'll be able to carry more gun customizations, better equipment and even dual weapons. So if you are lvl 10 SMG, 10 Handgun and 5 Grenade, your total level will be 25.
This game has a brilliant battle system, good graphics, quite a good story an interesting, large world map, and even the ability to build a gun hundreds of scopes on. And just as a note, I have only described a small section of the game and it's battle system.
If you like JRPG games this is definitely a game worth picking up, if not, I still recommend it. I personally think it's one of the best JRPGs which have come out in a while, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.