Resonance of Fate
From the creators of Star Ocean
comes Resonance of Fate that feels like Mad Max meets The Matrix in
this larger than life Japanese RPG. The story is set in the future
where mankind has been devastated and global warming controls the
world, making reality seem like a post apocalyptic wasteland. In order to survive, mankind has
banded together to create a gigantic tower called a Basel which acts
a purification facility and allows humans to go about their every
day life. Unfortunately, a caste system is in place where the rich
and powerful live closer to the top of the tower and the rest of
humanity below them. The lower you get, the more nasty people begin!
The story revolves around three
mercenaries called Zephyr, Vashyron and Leanne who have a convoluted
back history and perform jobs for a variety of people, all for the
name of cash. Best of all, as you explore the game and embark on
missions, more of your characters history is slowly opened up to you
such as their motivations.
Like all good
Japanese RPG titles, Resonance of Fate has quite a few sub quests
and if you complete all these and explore just about every book and
cranny in the game, it would take most gamers around 50 hours to
complete. At its core, Resonance of Fate has a great anime or Steampunk feel to it which suits the game perfectly.
It really adds
in a more realistic Japanese RPG experience as opposed to summoning
elementals or monsters. Add in realistic weaponry and this is
definitely not the normal Japanese RPG.
The most difficult aspect of
Resonance of Fate is the battle system which is not like your
traditional Final Fantasy clone. Rather, the developers have thrown
in a few twists and turns to the mechanics that make it quite
complicated at first but truly adds something unique to this genre
in terms of originality. But this originality will rub a few gamers
the wrong way, especially if you have just played Final Fantasy
XIII. As a reviewer, this is probably the hardest game that I have
reviewed because of how convoluted the combat mechanics are. After
rewrite after rewrite, I hopefully have streamlined it for you.
Unlike traditional RPG games
that rely solely on hit points, Resonance of Fate uses a dual damage
system that includes scratch damage and direct damage. This means
in order to defeat an enemy, you need to use scratch damage (e.g.
machine guns) to weaken your opponents which will then allow you to
do direct damage (e.g. grenade or hand gun) and in turn kill your opponent.
you have gotten your head around the menu and combat system,
figuring out what damage your weapons do makes the game an
interesting proposal and does add certain elements of strategy into
play. Just be careful to finish off your enemies once you have
dished out enough scratch damage because they can recover.
in another curveball, the creators have thrown in a special
manoeuvre or hero action where you can perform some Matrix like
moves with martial arts and weapons which is visually quite
stunning. Initially these movies are quite limited but as you
progress, these special manoeuvres make the combat that slightly
more entertaining. The problem is getting your head around all the
different types of damage and what each weapon will do.
In terms of levelling, apart from
beefing up your character statics, there is a strong customisation
system for your weapons and you can mix and match various
attachments to your weaponry. It works well.
Unfortunately random battles play a huge role
in Resonance of Fate which has been a staple of many Japanese RPG
titles but for this title, there were just a few too many for my
liking, especially when your already on a mission. Fortunately there are also
some challenging boss battles along the way that require some tactics on
behalf the gamer as each has their weaknesses and strengths. As you
control three characters in the game, itís a good idea to use one of
your characters as a tank who will absorb most of the initial damage
while your other two characters can get ready for those more
Graphically, Resonance of Fate
is a very well made game and visually the developers have created a
very impressive and engaging world. It is oozing with anime styled
graphics and uses some great lighting effects. The attention to
detail is quite impressive, especially on the gaming environment,
whether itís the world of Basel itself or the characters that you
encounter and fight. Your main characters look fantastic, especially
the cutscenes or how they interact with the environment, it has
been done very well. The customisation of your characters is quite
good as well as you purchase them a variety of accessories from
clothes to armour. Nicely done!
The voice acting of the game is
a little cheesy but it actually suits the premise quite well in this
futuristic world and the actors really get inside their characters
well. Some of the NPCís that you encounter do sound like a bad
Capcom game but thankfully these are far and few. The soundtrack of
the game is brilliant that is quite engaging and changes with the
various situations in the game. Add in some realistic battle sounds
from guns to explosions and the audio department of the game comes
together quite well.
In conclusion, Resonance of
Fate definitely tries to change the Japanese RPG genre but the
biggest issue with the game is that itís trying to be too clever for
its good, especially with its combat engine that unfortunately for
this Western reviewer is a little too convoluted and complicated. It
took me quite a few hours to get my head around it, especially at
the start when I was trying to fight and learn the gaming mechanics
at the same time. However, if you can move past this initial
frustration phase, Resonance of Fate features some great gaming
moments and an interesting story with three very likeable
characters. Itís different but more in a good way than bad way!