Top positive review
35 people found this helpful
Unusual and good!
on 2 June 2010
"Resonance of Fate" slipped out right after "Final Fantasy 13" without a lot of fanfare, which is a shame as there is a risk of it slipping under the radar and disappearing into bargain-bin hell. Plus it's also pretty good.
The game is set in a future world where everybody lives in a tall metal tower due to the earth having become uninhabitable for some reason, and you play as a team of three youngsters called Leanne, Zephyr and Vashyron (just the usual names for teenagers of course!), who start the game as guns for hire, taking on missions to mend broken bridges or deal with rebel bandits causing trouble around the tower. Things start slowly as you explore the locations and fight various gangsters and goblins, but right from the start the battle system really shines.
Well I should say it does not shine immediately, because with no in-game tutorial, your first battles are going to be an exercise in bewilderment as it's impossible to fathom them out unaided. Luckily you are told that there is a battle arena near town where you can practise, and in here is a tutorial (thank god!), so I headed here as soon as I knew where it was.
The game's appeal rests solely on the battle system, so it's important you know what it is all about. You have the same three characters throughout the whole game, and random battles see you face up against enemies of all sorts. The simplest thing to do is run around the battle field and fire at an enemy of your choice with your gun (it's all about guns in this game). First thing to know is that there are two types of firearms available: Machine guns, which cause very heavy damage but it's only temporary and recovers over time, and handguns, which cause very light damage, but turn any amount of temporary damage permanent as soon as they hit. So the idea is that you share out the types of guns, so (say) Leanne will fire a whole load of machine gun fire at an enemy and then Zephyr will go straight after her with his handgun, and convert that damage to permanent before it wears off. You can also hold your aim on an enemy while the gun powers up, which is a balance between waiting for the gun to charge up and firing before the enemy attacks, as any attack will make you lose all of your charge-up...and you only get one shot per turn. Got that part? Good, because there's a lot more, and if this is all you do, the game will get very boring quite fast.
The real fun of the battles comes from using Hero Actions. Put simply, at the start of every action you have a limited number of orange gems on a guage. For the cost of one gem, you can do a charge across the entire length (or width) of the screen, and while you do this mad dash you can fire at the enemies as many times as you like before you come to a stop. It's great fun and of course can cause loads of damage, which is why it's not free to do - and you start the game with a very limited number of gems - three, I think, but you (very gradually) earn more throughout the game. You have to use these gems wisely, as if you spend all three doing these Hero Runs, you will go into panic mode, which almost always leads to a Game Over as you basically can't do anything. So you have to make sure each gem you spend is worth it. If you cause enough damage on a Hero Run or cause any part of the enemy (armour, usually) to break off, you earn a gem back, so you can see how strategic play is required to get lots of running in without running out of gems.
This in itself is fun enough, but the true play experience of "Resonance of Fate" really comes from the Tri-Attack. This attack can only occur after you have done a succession of Hero Runs, during which time the characters have crossed paths at least once and have ended up in a vaguely triangular formation. Once you have a few successful runs in the bank you can unleash the Tri-Attack, which sees all three characters start running AT THE SAME TIME, all ready to fire at the enemy when you give the command. The camera starts weaving wildly across the screen as the characters leap and spin across the terrain (you can make them jump), firing and spinning through the air and shouting heroic cries like "Now you're gonna get it!" and so on. It all looks fantastic, and I never tired of it, in fact as soon as I got the hang of it I used Tri-Attacks in every single battle. It takes a lot of concentraion to plan each one, as you have to make sure your characters are well positioned on the ground so that they can all target the enemy, and they can all run without bashing into any walls or obstacles (the terrain often has things like ramps and pillars all over the place), which will end the run for whoever comes a cropper.
Trust me, if you learn this battle system you will derive hours of fun from this game. Which is good because "Resonance of Fate" has no plot! I'm not kidding, to me it just seemed like I got given missions and targets to achieve and I just went around doing them, without any reason or motive other than being paid. The so-called story seems to revolve around the higher classes of the tower experimenting with the mortality of the regular inhabitants, but this is very hard to figure out. Most if the time the cast just mumble pondeorus phrases like "What have I done?" or "Why am I still alive? It would be better if I was dead!" and all that type of thing, few of which ever make sense. So do not play this game for the story!
It's also not an easy game but to be honest, this is probably going to be because gamers are not using the Tri-Attack properly, and if you master this, you will win pretty much everything. Some bosses ramp up the challenge quite significantly, especially when they can only be damaged from one angle, so aiming Hero Runs in the right direction (so you can fire at their backs before they turn round, for example) becomes paramount.
Apart from the battles, there is also the fun of powering up the guns. Instead of finding new weapons, you buy or find attachemnts for the ones you have throughout the game, and upgrading a gun becomes a mini-game, as you are required to fit all the additional barrels, bullet clips and sights onto the gun by means of a 2D grid diagram, which means arranging as many as you can on the grid and leaving as few unfilled spaces as possible (all the attachments are a different shape). Hours of geeky fun!
And finally, you also have another mini-game in the world map, which you can only traverse by laying down tiles side by side to "fill in" the empty map. The tiles are shaped like jigsaw peices so you have to have enough of all the different shapes in order to successfully fill up entire floors of the tower, so this in itself is another fun part to play with.
So to finish, you should absolutely buy this game and experience the very dynamic battle system. You might enjoy getting to know the three characters (you can even dress them up!), but don't expect to get too attached as the story is so vague that I finished the game without a clue what had happened. I just know that I won - Hooray! And a lot of fun it was too.