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Endearing Artwork, enjoyable music and run-of-the-mill gameplay

  • Meoseko
  • 06/07/2021 10:15 AM
  • 118 views
- Preface -

I've stumbled upon this game on Youtube and liked the mood it conveyed a lot, so I decided to download and give it a go myself. Was kinda put off by the bad review score but honestly I didn't see it reflected in the gameplay. More on that below, though.

- Synopsis -

The gameplay is very standard as far as RPG Maker games go. That is to say, I didn't expect anything else, so I wasn't particularly disappointed. I usually enjoy the basic gameplay loop that JRPGs bring with themselves. The original Dragon Quest games are some of my favourite RPGs and while simplistic, hit a certain note with me. Same with Faint Dawn.

- Gameplay -

The first "dungeon", so, the forest, kind of reminded me of the first area in Pokemon red/blue where you go through a forest. Even the forest in Breath of Fire II where you fight Baba is kind of the same, with chest lying about and a semi maze to keep you from just walking straight up to them.

The later dungeons were more of the same, but again, nothing I didn't expect. I liked the fight against the spider boss particularly, as I could just hammer away at it with my "absurd" force (haha).

Apart from the combat, the towns were really, really cool with lots and lots of uniquely designed NPCs. There really isn't one NPC that looks like a stock asset or a copy paste, it's truly amazing how they feel like actual inhabitants of a real world like that, which brings me to the next point.

Gameplay Score: 3/5

- Graphics -

Every enemy, every NPC, every portrait the title screen and numerous other assets have been created completely from scratch, which is an amazing feat and is what absolutely makes this game for me. I honestly don't know what more to say about this point, since I think the prospect of completely unique artwork for all of these assets of which there are a whole lot throughout the entire game should be enough to drive my point home but then they're also of a very good quality. There are dozens and dozens of unique enemies to fight like green tigers with plants for their tails, gruesome stone-element cave wolfs, multiple species of snakes with diamond-shaped tales as well as townspeople with completely different faces drawn onto their spherical heads, with both a character and portrait sprite for every single one of these.

Graphics Score: 5/5

- Music -

The music feels like authentic JRPG music. It's a little less prominent than in most JRPGs and has a little less complexity to it, but the quality and instruments used just make it sounds like it could be coming right out of a Super Famicom. I've player a lot of Japanese RPGs like Sword World, Dual Orb or Traverse and could totally see some of the tracks in Faint Dawn feeling right at home in one of these classics. While the title screen music has a really catchy beat to it, most other music in the game is either a little on the sinister side or, as described, this really moody typical JRPG music. And now guess what, all of the music for this game was custom made as well. Some RPG Maker games feature music from already existing commercial video games, and with my description of it you might've guessed that this one does as well, but no, all of the music in this game is completely original, which makes it a fantastic complement to the rest of the game, in my opinion.

Music Score: 4/5

- Conclusion -

Faint Dawn is a game that doesn't try to reinvent the genre, but I don't think it has to. Matter of fact, I don't think RPG Maker as a tool was made to do that in the first place.

Faint Dawn tries to make an RPG based on the mind space of it's creator, and it does so while going the extra mile. I mean, when making a game with RPG Maker, you don't have to create your own music, you don't have to create your own artwork. You don't even have to create your own world. You can just base your game on Dragon ball, for example, and take most of the story, artwork and music from some other Dragon ball game. Or maybe could try and make a spin-off of the original Dragon Quest. That way you could copy paste every single enemy, sound effect, music, character and what have you from that game for your game, remix them a little and you'd have a much grander game without having to do much of anything.

But that's not what Faint Dawn did. They decided to create every single artwork for every single character themselves, compose every single piece of music in the game themselves, create towns from the ground up, full of unique individuals that they themselves created, one by one, ultimately culminating in the creation of an entirely new world that didn't exist up until they made it in the form of Faint Dawn, and I'm really thankful for that because it gave me the ability able to explore this lovingly crafted world for myself, and I had a lot of fun doing it.

Final Score: 4/5

Posts

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Hey thanks so much for checking out Faint Dawn and coming back to write a review! I'm glad to hear you appreciated all the custom assets that went into its production. They, by far, took me the longest to make haha.
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