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A very promising effort, that requires you to invest too much time.



Little Wing Guy plays Cosplay Crisis an RMXP game made by SorceressKyrsty. Complete and final version.

Why should you play this game?
- Faithfully and functionally, recreates the Materia and battle systems from Final Fantasy 7.
- Solid battle balance, with a spot on encounter rate, and legitimately tough bosses.
- Brilliant artwork, and sprites.

Why should you give it a miss?
- There are many small bugs and niggles in this game. None hinder you, but they do build up, and irritate.
- Mixed graphical consistency, regarding mapping. Cities are utterly appalling.
- The story is hard to follow in the opening hours, and if you’re not well versed with all things Final Fantasy, you’ll feel completely lost.



I’ve always kind of avoided this game. Not because it looks bad (Haven’t you noticed I actively seek out bad games to ridicule?) but because…well, I never really got that far into Final Fantasy 7 or 8. There I said it! Final Fantasy 9 forever! So why have I picked this game to review? Well, because hotshot Emmych waltzes in, thinking she can take my self appointed proverbial reviewing crown away! This incredibly high subscribed game, is the only way I can get the attention I crave. Or maybe, just maybe, I stumbled upon this game, completely shocked it was completed, and felt that this sleeper hit needed some more attention. Whatever helps you sleep at night, Emmych. Bitch.

Wait, where am I? Oh yeah, Cosplay Crisis. The game follows Kumo, who is a young mercenary along with his friend Levi, and Miri. As they go about their daily lives, dressing up and Final Fantasy characters, and generally treating each other like shit, they clash with a powerful organisation, Omniax; and soon they find their lives are becoming more like the characters they idolise. They discover this is caused by a virus, that is effecting, not only them, but the entire world. Remaining themselves, and keeping their memories, is more important than living in a world of fantasy, and set out to cure the virus, before they forget who they are. The actual story is really interesting, and completely unique. I liked the villains too, since they were people who desperately wanted to escape the pains, or tedium of reality. Though it wasn’t treated with as much sympathy, as I personally would have preferred. It is refreshing to have villains with real understandable motivations, rather than “I am evil, stab me with a Buster Sword”. Once my party left the Golden Saucer area, I was seriously hooked, and was unable to put the game down. There are some excellent and well done scenes, such as the motorbike chase, which actually mirrors a scene from Final Fantasy 7, and not just for the sake of being like the game; it’s actually symbolic, representing the chance of pace and growth in story, that Cosplay Crisis will now take. Just like leaving Midgar did, in Final Fantasy 7. Well maybe, I haven’t slept for a while.


Huh? I didn’t see Adam Sandler in the development credits.


While I didn’t have any complaints once the story found its stride, I felt the first three or so hours of the story were needlessly confusing, and uninviting. There’s a fair few things going on, that you just aren’t told, or are already expected to know. Phases and characters come at you left, right and center, and if you don’t know your Saplings, from your SeeDs, you’re fucked. From a smaller perspective, things were okay. Despite not knowing the reason, I always knew what my current objective was, I knew where I had to go, and what I had to do there. But I didn’t understand the world the characters lived in, and what Final Fantasy even meant to the people here. Sure, I knew Final Fantasy was fiction, people were cosplaying as these characters, but some cutscenes totally mislead me, and as I was desperate to understand, I attached myself to any theory. Right at the very beginning of the game, a playable character Miri, tells Kumo that he has a Cloud Strife cosplay outfit in his chest of draws. When you get up, you examine the same chest of draws to get changed. So, I immediately assumed Kumo was in his Cloud outfit, and people in this world did this as a daily routine, He certainly looked like it. Kumo even gets fan-mail, and he refers to his friend Levi as someone who wears a “Cross-over belt and fur collar jacket”, which helped fuel this assumption. You see a lot of villains who look like characters from the Final Fantasy series too. Are they in cosplay as well? If so, why? Are they the actual villains from the series? If so, how are they here? It takes a long time for your questions to be answered, and this was intentional, to try and create intrigue; but it has the opposite effect as characters are pointlessly vague when they talk about anything remotely plot related. I don’t want to know what Omniax is doing behind the scenes, I want to know the basic stuff. For example, why we’re destroying their reactor, and what Omniax means to Kumo. All that other stuff can come later, when I’ve got my feet on the ground.

If you want your plot to be intriguing, and not confusing, there are a few things you should set out to do. The player needs to have the current knowledge of the playable cast, on a need to know basis. If the characters start talking about something that is unique to your world, or has a different meaning to what we may be familiar with, you better explain it, and you better explain it then and there; or as soon as possible. The beginning is when you grip us, yet at every possible chance, Cosplay Crisis pushed me away. The longer you leave it, the more you alienate players. The game pulls you in too many different directions way too early, for you to able to grasp what’s important. Character motivations, and the actual central plot gets lost underneath for some time. Eventually though, things do begin to take shape, and everything comes together really well. EVENTUALLY. This “introduction stage” is not bad because it’s slow burning or anything. That’s not the problem. Cosplay Crisis can’t create immersion, that’s the ultimate issue.



I remember playing Final Fantasy 7 years ago, and I still have my original save file from when I was about eight (I clearly had no understanding of the proper use for All Materia). Despite that, I like the Materia System in the game, it’s simple, approachable with some depth to it, and you have complete control of what is available to your party. Thankfully, that is all true for this game as well, because it recreates it authentically.

The only thing I know about scripting is; it is too complex for me to comprehend. Now, I could be somewhat wrong here, as there is no credits page, but it is my understanding that Kyrsty has created all the code herself, and I was really impressed with the functionally of all the systems. Most complaints are small, such as the item list being obscured by the battle HUD, things that are just unfortunate but don’t take away from the experience. The battle system feels the same as it did in Final Fantasy 7, with just a few slight changes, that were probably made for sanities sake. The reason we haven’t heard from Vanit in so long, is because he caught the C-Virus while locked in his room for 23 hours a day, and now believes he is Hojo. I did not encounter any bugs with Materia either, despite the game page telling me I would. It took me way too long to find a way to remove Materia though. Was it in the tutorial? I don’t remember the game ever telling me. If it had a remove command on the available list, like it does with Equipment, it would have been more ideal. A very minor complaint on an incredibly well made, appealing, and effective menu and battle system. I spent more time than necessary messing about with everyone’s Materia and looking about on the menu, just because of how enjoyable it was. Give yourself a pat on the back! *Do not actually give yourself a pat on the back. You will look like a retard*

Just like with the story, I felt like the gameplay finally picked up about two and a half hours in. I don’t really need to say this, but it’s a very long time. Then, once you hit the three hour mark, three brand new party members are added to your team, in literally the space of a minute. Two of them haven’t been seen or mentioned before, and I felt so sorry for Lulu, as she gets zero introduction whatsoever, and just sort of appears in your party menu. Hi there Lulu, person I’m not going to use! Also, I did find it annoying that, right after you are able to choose your preferred party, you have a boss battle with a forced party consisting of only Kumo and Levi. I had just spent 10 literal minutes, sorting out the party members I wanted to use (which did not include Levi), all their equipment and Materia, only for the game to go: “removing everyone’s Materia now teehee”… Okay, it’s not technically forced, but whatever, you pretty much have to! This is a scenario that happens often through out the game. My party was all nice and done, everything was how I wanted it, and it keeps changing, and ehhhh. *crosses arms*


Well the T and F key are quite close to each other on the keyboard.


There’s a fair few different elemental Materia to collect and level, probably too many, but it mostly takes a backseat as everything seemed equally effective, (except in some certain boss fights) with enemies weakness and resistances only making slight changes to the overall damage. I think the slimes were weak to Earth, and machines were weak to Thunder, I don‘t really know about the others. Funnily enough, a lot of the early bosses are robots too, so as long as you have Thunder Materia with you, you’re fine. Spam that shit.

Through out most of the game, enemies are not represented visually on the map. The encounter rate is spot on. Well done! If I could shake your hand, I would. An encounter never frustrated me, and I never, ever ran from a battle, especially since battles were typically over quite quickly. The battle balance for regular enemies was good. It never became TOO easy, or TOO hard, but it was backwards and tended to fluxuate, to a degree. For example, the first dungeon in the game is actually tougher than the second one. You should try to keep the difficulty at a constant level. A games difficulty should never go down, unless there’s a very good reason for it. Now let me get this straight. The opening battles were not difficult, in the sense that I got a game over, or I struggled. The enemies just hit really hard, and although the game caters for this perfectly, by giving you plenty of items, the sense of being damaged heavily right at the start, can be somewhat off putting (for people who are shit at games, like me) in the first few battles. I was quite surprised, and initially thought this would be a trend for the rest of the game.

The bosses in this game are perfect though. They are frantic, challenging and everything they should be. The more they had a relevance on the plot, the tougher they seemed to be! The game very rarely stumbled in this department, however, the boss battle against Oner/ Zero (not even Kyrsty can remember his name) was pathetic. I used Lulu’s “Seal Evil” limit break, and he didn’t get a single turn. The immense fulfilment from defeating certain bosses like Arithial was thrilling. If I lost a battle, it was always a fair death, so I only allowed myself to beg for help once. Changing my Materia, or strategy always worked. My usual tactic of “I won’t heal surely the next hit will kill him” didn’t ever work out. There is a way to beat every boss without having to grind.



There are three things I love about RPGs more than anything else. Interesting NPCs, plenty of treasures to find, and overall graphical consistency. If a game pulls of these three things, I’m often willing to overlook unbalanced battles or a bad plot, I’m not even joking. What’s wrong with me? I don’t know either. What I do know is; SorceressKyrsty has managed to pull off both, good NPCs and loads of treasures to find, pretty damn well! The other, she failed at miserably. Though I can’t really pigeonhole graphics, because there’s a lot to talk about, my overall experience was negative.

The general mapping, is mixed. Yet, there are some stand out moments, as Kyrsty is clearly better at mapping natural areas, and interiors over everything else; the latter being her biggest mapping strength. When she has to use the RTP, she’s clearly in her element, and the small amount of towns that use them look nice. What makes these areas so good, are not limited to how aesthetically pleasing they look, but more because of the greater emphasis on exploration, and the amount that you are rewarded for being a nosy parker. Exploring will find you the all best Materia, loads of items, stat boosts, treasure chests and even a secret boss or two! Out of all the other RM games I’ve played, none have come close to this level of satisfaction, due to the sheer addictiveness of collecting new Materia. If you are diligent, rewards are constant, and appropriate.


“I've been working quite hard on fixing up majority of the major graphical errors (passibility)” ~ SorceressKyrsty lying to everyone.


There is one section that really lets the game down. The cities. That’s right Kyrsty, you know exactly what’s coming. I’m pretty sure the word “city” alone, sends a shiver down her spine. The cities are awful. So awful. The chipsets used for them are fugly, don’t fit at all with the other chipsets, and the buildings have no depth to them. She does jump from chipset to chipset too, but they have different styles, and look awkward. Sometimes, when I play an RM game, I can tell when the author had a plan in mind for their map, and you can see a structure, but not in Cosplay Crisis. I can get over a bad looking city, but there’s no clear direction, or ease of exploration, and everything feels littered about. The exact opposite of her natural areas, which felt planned. Each town has plenty of buildings and doors, but you can’t really go in any of them, unless there’s going to be a important storyline cutscene. That’s fair enough, but there is no way to tell what doors you can and cannot enter, if you’re looking for a specific place, like an item store, you just have to keep trying all the doors you see. There’s no hanging sign or arrow, and nearly every building looks exactly the same. The roads in cities just looks like black voids. I also found it annoying that you have to walk in the road when going through a town, many paths were only one tile wide and you can’t walk behind street lamps for some reason. I’m a good citizen so I like to walk on paths when I’m in a city. Then there’s cars driving around the streets at 2mph, and if you run in front of them they just evaporate. From previous comments, she knows all this, so I don’t want to talk about it forever, and make Kyrsty feel bad. But I could, you know. All day long.

Like the choice of chipsets, the battle backs are not very consistent either. I’m not quite sure how you go from: really decent battlebacks that she mapped herself, to battlebacks blatantly ripped from Adventure Quest. I think a certain “someone”, and we all know who I’m talking about; got a little bit lazy...

...I’m talking about you, Kyrsty. Obviously. I can’t believe I had to spell that out for you.

On the odd occasion, there were invisible walls restricting you from certain areas that look accessible, because SorceressKyrsty didn’t particularly feel like writing dialogue for NPCs that day. You cannot go through doors that are clearly open, yet only half the time a message will popup with an excuse. It was also sometimes hard to see where the transition to the next map was, you sort of have to get used to walking into walls a lot. I found this was mostly in man-made areas, with natural areas usually giving a good indication of where to go. For example, I nearly quit because I couldn’t find the exit from the back alleys, to the subway, after the fight with Aio. If this was due to a bad or limited chipset, I feel like more precautions should have been taken, for easier navigation. I hate bringing this up too, but here we go. Tileset passibility is another problem the game suffers with. This should never be a problem in my opinion, and it’s not something I mention as a positive, when a game does do it correctly; because it’s so trivial. I’ve played a handful of games on this site that do this now, and I can honestly never understand how the passibility is not set correctly. It doesn’t require any testing, it’s really easy to do, and takes next to no time at all. So, how? I’m not having a go or anything, because it’s not something that breaks the game, it’s just, how? It’s a complete game, how is this still not done?…TELL ME HOW! *Shakes Kyrsty violently*

However, the menus, the facesets and character art are all sublime. I was really impressed. I’ve played so many RM2k3 games lately, I actually forgot what pictures looked like without colour loss. There’s some super neat touches, like Facesets and costumes constantly changing to reflect the story, and SorceressKyrsty’s art has improved by leaps and bounds since she first joined RMN. No longer does it look like everyone’s wearing an obvious wig! Also a very noteworthy mention to the enemy and character battle graphics. She’s sprited each enemy and character herself, and added even more to workload as about half of them animate. They look fantastic in the screenshots, and I can’t faultier her inspiring dedication to the project, but if I’m totally honest, they’re a bit stiff in game. Some poses look like they could have done with double the frames between them. That’s the only minor complaint I can find though. I’m more than happy to ignore some of these slight blips. She’s taken on a lot, and done it by herself, and it’s rather easy to see why the game has flaws in other areas. This lass is crazy!


Count the shadows. For god's sake, remember. If you want to live, count the shadows.


But there still is a lot of simple and expected things absent. Like, really obvious things that beta testers, no doubt complained about, but still haven’t been fixed. Some items inform you of their exact effect, yet some are rather vague. All healing items simply say “Restores HP”... yeah thanks Kyrsty. Also at one point in the Golden Saucer, she tried to spell continue with a K lol. There are eight beta testers, which I’d say is a healthy number, but clearly something went wrong during this stage. I don’t think you have to be elitist about who you pick, and you can let your friends beta test your games, but ask more people who know nothing about the game, or you (shall I drop a bigger hint, or will that suffice?). I really don’t want to come off as a dick, and I definitely don’t want to point the finger at anyone, but it feels like there was a breakdown of communication somewhere. Beta testers will never get absolutely everything, I know that, but the sheer amount of REALLY simple, quick and easy to fix stuff, that I experienced, on just a casual playthrough, is not acceptable; regardless of the reason, the game has suffered as a result.

This is a probably a personal point and my final jab at the game, but I didn’t like the character shadow effect/script you shoved in, and I’m going to moan about it for this entire paragraph. I felt it was distracting at the worst of times, and a unnecessary detail at the best of times. When you’ve got lots of lights in a room, even if the light is behind a wall, they all still cast a shadow on the player somehow. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible for one person to cast four shadows from four different light sources at the same time, because the light sources overlap each other, eliminating shadows. I don’t know, I got a D in science. Fog and light effects are totally okay in my books, but when you start giving certain objects shadows and reflections, you have to do it for everything for consistencies sake (I guess you don‘t know what the word “consistency” means though HEYYOOO). It’s too much for this kind of amateur game. Okay, I’m done.



The game has a lot of heart, and a professional Air Wreath about it, which is a terrific quality, and I wish more developers could have the same passion, including myself sometimes. I hope you never lose it. However, the game is very one sided, with some areas poorly done. The systems are fantastic, but the story is confusing, and badly paced for too long. The artwork is amazing, but the maps are either ugly, or not player friendly. Focus more time into the areas you struggle in, and you will become a developer to watch. Cosplay Crisis is an average game, made by an above average developer. Good luck with Blood Rose.


Ps. Emmych I love you.

Posts

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masterofmayhem
I can defiantly see where you’re coming from
2545
Nice to see you back doing reviews again LWG. Oh and for the record, that reviewer crown of yours is mine.
Puddor
if squallbutts was a misao category i'd win every damn year
4016
Thank you so much for the review! Everything you've pointed out is really helpful, especially about the intro.

For clarification: I did not, sadly, create all the code. I did a lot of editing to get everything working together (if you've EVER used RMXP, you'll know how painful this is). But no. The credits at the end of the game did have a obnoxiously lengthy amount of names in relation to the code.
Removing Materia was covered in the tutorial, it's the SHIFT button.

...I actually do plan city areas, while natural areas I don't. So yeah, it seems mapping natural areas is more my forte! And I do hate cities. Yes. I spent several months mapping Oak. *cries*. And my problem with passability is some maps I'll miss things and because I'm a poor tester myself (it always skips my mind to run across maps in a wayward fashion and I just generally run in the direction I'm supposed to go)

The two spelling errors you pointed out were intentional. Nero (herp! he was Oner in the original script, changed, and then...well...I got confused) had his mouth full, and Alicia is you-know-who, who in FF8 spoke with an accent, all her c's coming out has k's.

And for the record- NONE OF MY TESTERS FINISHED THE GAME. They either dropped out, got lazy, were taking far too long to actually finish it (I'm not talking weeks, I'm talking six fucking months, and quite frankly I got impatient and sick of being screwed around so bad. Only two were actually keeping good tabs with me, which was NewBlack and Link_2112, and NewBlack, who got the furthest, only made it to Aetas. Ouch. So...post Aetas is all my testing. You wouldn't think so with the early game bugs eh? >.>

However I'm super glad you enjoyed the battles. I'm a really hands on tester in regards to fights (you can't battle test CC- and it would be pointless because you'd have no materia) so I played every battle through a playthrough.

And yeah that Nero fight sucked, I agree. Did he come back into form the second time, though? ;) I'm gonna blame it on an empty stomach! ^^;

I've had a lot of varying opinions about the shadows. Some people think they're awesome, others think they're awful. I think they have their moments, but at times (like Kumo's apartment at night...) they do look quite terrible.

Sorry about the party changing! You know, plot and stuff. It's not easy when you're mixing games that removed a party member each for an extensive amount of time.

Plus Levi was forced out for a reason because the aeroplane was originally solo and I didn't like that Kumo had less experience than he did. Blergh.

Spoils:
at least I gave him a replacement in the ending sequence, eh?


I did kind of want to explain everything, but space between game start and battles was really getting ridiculous (up to an hour) for some players, and I was fretting about that because FF8 started slow, but FF7 started really fast, and which one's more popular? ^^;
I kinda took the lazy way out and added the Terminal system really late...which FF13 did better than me because they put it in the menu. Oops! My problem is that I tend to get too caught up in things I've written before (like CC's comic, which explained that SeeD=Sapling, as well as introduced Lulu as Levi's friend) and forget to explain them.

As an interesting point of note- Gold Saucer wasn't the first time Lulu showed up- she was the one who landed the plane in Forest of Despair. I was hoping the "????" instead of "random" would indicate she was an important character ^^''

But anyway, thanks very much for the review, I really appreciate it! It's good to have one of the full and complete version kicking around, and this one is super honest and upfront about the game's flaws. 3 is average, but it's better than 2.5, so I'm happy!
Deckiller
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born.
15597
Perhaps it's more along the lines of her beta testers failed her and didn't play enough of the game. Myself included.
Solid review, LWG. This pretty much sums up my experience (thus far, at least).
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