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This is a review for a game.
- 10/28/2013 05:57 AM
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Shadows of Evil: Wings of Time Deluxe
Warning: Spoilers and subjectivity Abound
Warning: Spoilers and subjectivity Abound
<>Change Face Graphic: faces1, 1, Left,
<>Message: Witty introductions are overrated. I would have to say that introductions of wit are overused and anticipated.
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<>Message: Wit in general is something that remains to be seen, especially in the introductions of a matter that may very well be overrated.
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<>Message: Let's go to the place that holds the review that we seek because we seek the review that lies there.
<>Switch Operation: 0001: Intro Done ON.
For this review, I'll be foregoing my typical manner of giving you a small taste of the beginning of the game as Otabo has graciously provided such details in the game page's Playable Characters and Full Walkthrough tabs, and instead dive directly into what I believe to be this game's strong and weak points. Let's begin\|....\|....\|....
The story feels very much like the typical hero's journey, with the twist being that it has a primary female lead (cutting edge, right?). You start off at home (which just so happens to be a castle (you're a pretty princess)) and desire to step out of what you've come to know and embrace the outside world with the burning passion to carve your own path in life, instead of remaining the nation's designated wallflower. Of course, just when things start looking up, plot happens and your nation is brought (presumably) to the brink of collapse as your father and a magic relic that allows time corruption has been stolen by dark forces. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue with proper execution; the thing is, the way in which this story unfolds feels very one-dimensional and unrefined (a trait that haunts this game throughout), resulting in a game that neither flows nor grips.
Whenever you have something to do, expect to go straight for it, only to come up short and must instead go down another path and do essentially the same thing again, all the while meeting new party members who will further complicate conversations with their need to butt-in and repeat themselves continuously. When this isn't the case, you will most likely find yourself completing fetch quests to gain access to the next area (perhaps even two at a time as is the case with the Pixie Plains). What makes matters worse is the fact that this game is intended to be of "epic" length and therefore becomes a case of quantity over quality, an affair that does little more than do the game creator's development time disservice.
As a note on dialogue, no matter what you have to say, it's hardly if ever necessary to throw in ellipses unless they're trailing off, so I should never see any occasion of anything more than "..." every great once in a while. "........." is not a valid way to fill the message box and does nothing to improve your script. That being said, you'll see this in just about every message box in the game, complete with pauses in dialogue just to make it last that much longer.
As was stated before, this game knows its fair share of playable heroes (10, to be exact). I would like to say that you'll spend most of the game getting to know them and appreciate who they are, but, as was the case with the storyline, these "heroes" are incredibly one-dimensional and never see even a second of growth throughout their journey together. I'd like to draw your attention to a certain Quinn, a womanizing pretty-boy with little to offer but cat calls and luscious, flowing, blonde locks. From start to finish, he's never above calling his female teammates "sweet cheeks" and "baby". You may feel that this is "consistency", but I argue that it is instead unrealistic given the lengths they go through to survive on their journey. And despite his misogynistic tendencies, when it's all said and done, he still "gets the girl" and in a way that struck me as an intended joke until it all came to a head (I'll cover that in the spoilers below).
All other characters follow suit, none of which seem to grow as time passes and experiences are shared, and who all do very little to drive the story along aside from babbling between each other about who's in greater agreement to follow the orders given to them by the almighty plot. This being the case, if they don't interest you at first, just throw in the towel and save yourself 20-30 hours (unless you devote yourself to finishing and end up feeling an obligation to bring your experience to light in the form of a review). Anyway, perhaps if you're not into characters having more than a wafer-thin personality, you'll come to appreciate who these people are at first glance. Me? I'm a stubborn dick who needs that extra oomph to become invested in the strife of video game characters.
The graphic choices are your typical grab bag of rips/rtp/mac&blu/refmap which I, personally, wouldn't look down on by their appearance alone and won't hold this game's feet to the fire for using. Instead, I'll do just that in terms of how they were used. Allow me to say this, if you've ever opened RPG Maker, you can do this. There's nothing special about the mapping in any way and many times you will find some of the unspoken rules of quality design being broken with much-too-long straight corridors with little to no small detail thrown in and unrealistic earth formations.
Sure, the standard dungeons may be frustrating enough to maneuver given their uninspired layout (coupled with practically unavoidable touch encounters), but should you find yourself in one of the game's three (IIRC) "Lost Woods" style dungeons, you'll be seeing those same passageways and encounters many times over. Which brings me to my next point, don't you just hate those moments in gameplay where you come face to face with what I call a "fuck you" scenario (a stretch of the game where it's clear that wasting your time doing something you don't want to do is priority #1); well, you'll be faced with that a few too many times during this game, even on the world map.
Let me just take a minute to share with you the past, present, and future world maps... Notice anything peculiar? Yes, the blue (grey in the future) stuff is empty expanses of water, the mapping equivalent of dead space, and it is up to you to traverse it via "skyship" to get yourself to small islands that house the palaces, caves, towers, domes, what-have-you during the later parts of the game (you know, when holding your player's interest is most important, second only to the first 15 minutes!) And yes, it loops both ways. The strange thing is, the speed in which your airship moves has actually been increased, as though Otabo understood that his world maps were much too big and empty but decided that, instead of going the proper route and fixing it, he'd throw a band-aid on it and ship it as is. I can guarantee that, during gameplay, you will be faced with two options:
1. Tough it out and get lucky.
2. Cheat and look in the editor, triangulate an efficient path to your intended destination, and proceed (if you don't have the editor, you're s.o.l).
If you're a poor soul who has to tough it out, a word of warning, traveling an empty world like this feels like woobooboobooboobooboobooboo... Maybe I should clarify. I want for you to stop reading right now, sit up straight, start making a "woo" noise with your mouth held loose, and shake your head as fast as you can while making said noise. That right there, that's what it's like. Back and forth just trying to make sense of it all. My work here is done.
A mixed bag for sure. Some of the tracks are easily recognizable, some aren't. Almost none (bar the Rainbow Resort theme you'll hear after every battle during the "experience" screen) are grating, so it's just kind of okay. Same goes for sounds, but you will tire of the sound effect that plays after saving at a Save Golem or leveling up. I will admit, when there's nothing that really sticks out to me, this section always seems the most troublesome to write for.
I'm not going to waste time explaining what about Wings of Time's gameplay is similar to everything else out there, so instead I'll talk about what is even remotely different, or what struck me as good/bad/unnecessary.
"Custom" Experience/Leveling System:
This little doodad seemed unnecessary and only made it longer to get back into the action between battles by making me wait as multiple message boxes display what the program runs by default could have processed instantly. I'd assume this was put in place for one of two reasons:
1. As a means to discourage cheating by setting the characters' levels to 99 to gain all abilities.
2. As a way to avoid having to work with the default system in terms of balancing low level monsters experience gain to those later on.
For the first, I fear it doesn't succeed in this as, while it does eliminate the player's ability to gain all abilities right off the bat, it doesn't stop anyone from simply setting the base stats all to 999 and essentially god-modding through the game. As for the second, given the jarring transition from battle to experience screen to field map and the time it takes to cycle through this after every encounter, I feel it would have been better to just go ahead and use the default, especially for the player's sake.
The 7 Relics:
By obtaining these mandatory plot devices, your characters gain access to a higher class with added benefits which undoubtedly helps given the difficulty of the endgame. And while I'm all for beefing out my characters with cool new abilities and strengths, the point at which they become important felt a little too close to the end and a bit too much like padding to extend the length of the game.
Now, I'm not going to speak ill of this game for this alone as at least a couple of my RPG Maker favorites use the final chapter treasure hunt bullshit, but I still feel like it could be handled slightly better than "you're almost done with the game! quick, go grocery shopping!"
The gist of it:
Although it is true that Otabo has put a fair amount of time into developing Shadows of Evil: Wings of Time: Deluxe, its bland story, one-dimensional characters, and technical hiccups hold it back from being even par and, as such, I simply can't recommend this game to anyone except those who are both willing to tough just about anything out and go into any game they try with low expectations.
Decide whether or not you're interested in reading deeper into the small things I felt which may or may not fall under the category of being a "spoiler" but that I placed here just to be safe.
Also, I'll likely add more onto this when it comes back to me. It's late, I didn't write it all down, get off my case.
I'll try to be slightly less serious in this section for the sake of not being a douche.
The hell's with that ending?:
So, the world is saved, everything's fine, and hey, Lilliana's finally opened herself up to loving someone for the first time in her life. Who's the lucky guy? Oh, it's Quinn... Well, you can't win 'em all.
Seriously, the scene that plays out right before the credits roll is one that is burned into my memory as "I don't even". Lilliana requests that Quinn join her on the balcony of Syrius Castle to watch the sunset or some shit. She drones on about how her life has changed and that she has found someone to love. Quinn, being the dolt that he is, automatically assumes it's him and he claims to be so happy that he's "getting goosebumps" (said no man ever). Lilliana continues to go on and on about loving someone before finally uttering the name of the man she loves. It's at this point, given the comical nature of everything else in the ending to this point, that you're expecting her to say "Quinn... I... I want you to bring *other male party member* up here... I need to tell him how I feel," leaving Quinn heartbroken as he walks back downstairs. But no, she straight up tells him that it's always been him and then requests that they go back to her bedroom for *as if you didn't already know*, to which Quinn replies that she moves fast.
I thought for sure things were going to stay reasonably realistic until the end, but anime male-gaze bologna happened.
The cliché is strong with this one:
Whether intentional or not, I felt the creeping in of at least a few similarities between past RPGs and this:
1. Lillianna is totally Marle. Both come from royalty. Both seek to escape the boring life of being a princess in exchange for an exciting adventure. Both use bows as their weapon of choice.
2. While we're on the topic of Chrono Trigger, your "skyship" the Yggdrasil might as well have been called Epoch, as you'll soon find yourself flying between past, present, and future in exactly the same way. And hell, Phoebe/Lucca, anyone?
3. Cecil *cough-wheeze*... excuse me; Race finds out the dark ambitions of the Navarre nation (the one to which he's sworn allegiance) and their desire to steal the cryst-I mean Time Stone and use it to take over the world.
Ugh, there's so much more that I sort of remember but not enough to write down. I guess I'll be back, but that's the end of this review.
I have to admit, that ending was pretty damn jarring.
Not just the ending, but the whole game pretty much. It's just bad.
I can defiantly see where you’re coming from
Wow, I might just have to play this now just to experience the fail firsthand.