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Resonance of Fate 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 8.2
Sound 8.0
Value 8.1
Distributor: SEGA
Review Date:
April 2010
Tony Smith


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.

Once 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.

To throw 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 powerful attacks.

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!


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