>Before I start, I want warn you that I want to try something else for this review. I kind of went and looked back at some of my other reviews and noticed they were lacking something. So I want to make this one a bit more “exciting” for a lack of better words. Feedback, tips, whatever are all accepted. If you want to send me money go for it, I accept all types, Visa/Mastercard, Monopoly money, drawn pictures of money, but not Discover cards, because nobody accepts Discover >.>
All joking aside lets get on with this thing shall we?
Story: Well as you know with a majority of my game reviews, I like to keep this section short. I think that talking about the story too much can be spoiler~ish and I really don’t want to do that to my readers. What I can say though, this game has a decent story. I’ll be quite honest here, it’s nothing amazing by any means. In fact, for the first 11 chapters in this game you’ll feel it’s non-existent. Please don’t let that deter you from this game however. The first bit of the game the story will feel like it’s: This is happening> so we are doing this> problem solved>Oyasumi. But as the game goes on, some of the little videos you see start adding up to what is an entertaining enough story. Enough of the story though, (you can go discover it for yourself later) I want to move on to the heart and soul of this game.
Characters- The characters are great, Reanbell is cute, Zephyr is a bit emo but not annoying, and Vashryon is cool and funny. They are all likeable which is a good thing for any game, since if you don’t like the characters, no matter how good the story, you will not enjoy it.
Graphics: The graphics are great buuuuut that being said, I can’t really call this game “beautiful”. Yes visually it is gorgeous but the colors are so dark and bland that it’s hardly a beautiful game. Sure I get it, that’s how the game is supposed to look, but it would be nice for some lush colors occasionally. I feel like everything is a grey monochrome world and that starts to get somewhat old, but it is by no means a deal breaker.
Gameplay: I have broken this down into two parts, which I think I should have done from the beginning.
What’s under the hood of the RoF battle system? Well first you take one part Turn Based, one part Realtime, some calculations, and some crazy acrobatics, mix it all up and there you have it. Not enough explanation? Fine, I’ll be more in depth about it. This battle system is the heart and soul of the game, it’s unique, fun, and everything I could have hoped for. The problem with it is that it is either going to make or break is for the purchaser. Let me warn you, this will take a bit of time to explain.
There are two types of damage; Scratch Damage, and Health Damage.Think of scratch damage as a bullet proof vest or something along those lines. Remember that. If you take too much scratch damage it will take Bezel Shards away from you. Basically Scratch Damage will show up as a blue color on your life bar. This makes it easier to take life away from you. So for example you receive alot of 3/4 scratch damage and you are poisoned, the moment you take damage from said poison, it will take away all the life that is filled with the scratch damage. Doesn’t make sense? Well it will when this is all said and done. You’ll always want to use your Sub-Machine Gunner to create scratch damage on the enemy and then use your Handgun(est?) to deal the damage afterwards.
Angles of Attacking. You need to make the choice if you want to hit a specific barrier area on an enemy, hit a multiple (but with less damage to each). Basically when you are attacking, the angle you attack from will hit that area on the enemy. For example if you are running by the enemy and you are on his left side it will attack the enemies barrier section that is located on that side. But if you jump in the air it will do a sort of scatter shot attack all the outermost rings but with less damage. This may also hit the enemy as well.
Bezel Shards. These determine whether or not you can refill your scratch damage if you receive too much, as well as how many times you can perform a Hero Action. Well get into that in a minute. If you run out of these shards you will go into a state known as “Critical Condition”. Which is also something I will get into soon. These shards can be replenished by breaking barriers around enemies, or killing an enemy.
A Hero Action is a move that allows you to plot your course, perform acrobatics, allow you to build up larger attacks, as well as build up “resonance”. But takes up one Bezel Shard
Critical Condition is a state where you can no longer perform hero actions, you will take direct health damage, and your attacks will be much weaker.
Resonance Attack. This is where you build up resonance by using hero actions and crossing the paths of your allies. You form a triangle with your allies around an enemy and on your on your next turn activate it. This allows for you to all attack an enemy at once, which can be extremely useful if applied correctly.
Weapon Types. There are 5 types of equipment; Handgun, Sub-Machine Gun, First Aid Kit, Ammo Box, and Thrown Weapons.
Handguns are capable of dealing Direct Health Damage.
Sub-Machine Guns deal Scratch Damage.
The First Aid Kit contains the items that replenish scratch damage, heal health, items to relieve you of statuses, as well various other things.
The Ammo Box holds types of bullets to aid you. Such ammo like metal piercing bullets, these work great against enemies with metal armor (such as robots). There are other kinds like bullets with the fire attribute that will aid you in taking down an enemy that is weak to fire. And fiiiinaallly there is the Thrown Weapons, these include everything from hand grenades, Molotov cocktails, to dog poop etc etc.
Leveling. The leveling is unique, which is a nice thing. Basically your level is determined by the sum of all your weapons levels. In other words Handgun + Sub-Machine Gun + Thrown Weapons = Your Level. Each weapon type will level up after you deal a certain amount of damage. This encourages changing the roles of your characters. So let’s say you are lv 10 with Handguns, lv 14 with Sub-Machine Guns, and lv 4 with Thrown Weapons your level will be 28. Get it?
There are several things to consider when starting your move. First off you need to think about; how many barriers your enemy has, the angle of attack, the focus of attack, the distance, the time, and whether or not you are going to attack from the air or the ground.
So shall we talk about how this all works?
You start a turn, usually it will be a hero action plot your course, and decide which enemy you are going to take down first. For the sake of this scenario we are going to say this enemy has two full circles of barriers. You will pick whoever you have equipped with the sub-machine gun and perform your hero action. As your character is running you will jump in the air, as to allow for more “charging” of your gun, and attack the outer ring, and possibly some of the enemy himself. Next you will do the same with a person with a handgun, this will more than likely break the outer ring. Rinse and repeat. Yes this is a horrible scenario, I will attach a vid to show you exactly what I am talking about. I hope I covered everything D:
Here is the vid, not the best example but an example nonetheless
Out of Battle:
World Map – This game doesn’t have a traditional world map, basically there is a world that looks like a huge grid-type thing. Your location is shown by a little arrow that you move around to the location want to go to. I should also mention that you can freely move it, so it’s not like you are just selecting your destination. Anyways getting back to what I was saying before, there are grey pieces all over the places, and you can’t on them. You have to use “hexes” to unlock them. Hexes come in all sorts of shapes, and colors (but we’ll get into colors in a minute). You collect these hexes through battles. You can also find rare items by clearing these hexes, so this encourages exploring rather than just creating a path to your next destination. The whole place is divided up in “tiers” or levels.
Basically this means that you are going to be running back and forth…. and back and forth…. without any shortcuts. Take X elevator on X level to move to X level. It gets kind of laborous after a while but I guess that’s half the fun? Thankfully once you clear a level of all hexes you can put down an energy station. Now you can put these down anyways even without all the hexes gone, but once they are all gone you can use it as a transport to get back to your main “base” whenever you please. Unfortunately you cannot do this in reverse order. These bases also allow you to save and rest when needed. Color hexes are used the same as normal hexes but they have various attributes, like 50% battle encounter, 50% increase item drop rate, and stuff like that.
Towns – The towns are small and simple but work well. These just serve as a place to check for side-missions, buy parts, and yada yada yada. See Square-Enix it’s not to hard, this could have been implemented in FFXIII but I’ll save that for another time.
Clothing – Yep you can customize your characters, for practically everything. Jackets, gloves, eye color, hair color, hair bands, boots, shirts, skirts, pants, hairbands, glasses etc etc. This is even reflected in cutscenes. There are two types of clothing selections A type and B type. For example, A type for Reanbell (or Leanne in the US version) is a long coat, and B type is longsleeve shirt with a skirt.
Side Missions – These usually consist of going here or there and doing this or that, pretty straightforward but these are worthwhile doing.
Weapon Customizing – You can and NEED to customize your weapons. I must say the customization is far from realistic though.You have a grid type box with your guns in it and basically the object is to fit as many barrel extensions, magazines, scopes, and whatever into the space provided. Basically you will have like 6 scopes all over the place, with barrels that make L shapes yet still shoots? I mean come on… Thankfully when you do this it doesn’t affect the way the gun looks outside of the customization window.
Audio: The music isn’t bad in this game, it’s not the soundtrack of the year, but it gets the job done. Some songs are better than the others. This game is dual-audio, but you can’t sample both. When you start the game you either pick the Japanese or English track. I recommend the Japa- ….. no scratch that…. I STRONGLY recommend the Japanese track. This feels like another dub thrown in to a game to please the tyrants over at Sony >.> (I’m talking about the fact that Sony demands games have them if they want to put it out on their system. This is why Agarest War couldn’t make it to the PS3 on physical media, unlike its 360 counterpart).
Overall: 8/10 This game is a Must Buy. I love the characters, the battle system is amazing, and for once we were able to get a game that tried to be innovative and didn’t fall flat on it’s face.