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Sacred Reviews: Angelic Virtues

Intro

"Angelic Virtues" was developed by Erilex using RPG Maker MV is one of the many entries on this site that were part of the 2022 Indie Game Maker Contest. A contest that gave players essentially a month to put a game together so my scoring for this project will be harsher than the grading scale I use for games like "WWF vs WWF" by Dyhalto that was made in a few hours in order to celebrate the site's birthday. On the plus side this game does have some positive attributes I can praise, but it also has a lot of things holding it back from being a truly great game in my opinion.

Story (Positives)

"Angelic Virtue" features a truly unique and diverse cast that allows for some representation for groups that are usually ignored in fictional settings in my experience. Admittedly my love of fiction largely dried up after middle school as I became more focused on fanfics from some of my favorite series.



So my perception of a blind lesbian magical girl who snipes her enemies being a highly unique choice in character might be a tad out of date, but she's merely part of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to representation in this game.

Another positive is the game includes some pretty solid references to other franchises.



One of the most obvious is Sailor Moon. At least I think the use of the word "Henshin" is a callback to the pretty soldiers transformation pens. Though I may be a bit off the mark there since it might be a shout out to the Kamen Rider franchise as well since some of the characters in those shows actually do say the word henshin as part of their transformation sequence. Or the developer was merely using the word as it's intended and simply wanted his/her main character to shout out the word transform in Japanese to showcase that Serafin's an otaku.

And I enjoyed seeing the MRAs (Magical Rights for All) getting chewed out as well. And the leaders attempts to put distance between himself and his more tasteless members really did ring hollow considering he was willing to use said goons to advance his own cause. Even if he had to beat up a kid whose still in school to do so.

Story (Negatives)

On a narrative level this game feels incomplete. Admittedly this issue is the most understandable of my issues with this game's narrative. After all, entries for the contest are usually expected to be about 60 minutes in length. At least I remember that being the goal in previous years since the judges only have so much time for looking at the entries. So you really want to tightly focus your character growth and development as much as possible on a single character so they feel as realized as possible within that time frame. It simply means a lot of other potential story avenues involving Gabrielle, Irene, or the MRA feel like they are missing.

Another issue I have with this game is the total lack of NPCs in the game. After all, were living on a city ship and the apparent lack of citizens in the world to interact with even if it's just to say hello is highly noticeable.

Though my biggest problem with the narrative is that this project sequel baits like "Einherjar" by watermark. I suppose many would see this as a positive but I'm so used to developers setting themselves up for multi part stories and never finishing that one of my general guidelines for developers is to never do this. After all, your setting yourself up to invest a bunch of time into a world and with characters that you might ultimately grow bored of. So my advice is to usually keep stories contained to a single game if it's at all feasible.

Gameplay

Unfortunately "Angelic Virtue" has a lot of issues on this front. For starters the game lacks a proper balance between using skills and basic attacks in my opinion. The game basically forces you to skill spam if you want to stay alive and in some games this isn't that big of an issue if you can stockpile potions to recover your energy for special attacks. Unfortunately that isn't possible with this game since the only item you can get to restore your magical points is generated as a byproduct of Irene's ethershield skill. And this item disappears from your bag after a battle is finished. Admittedly you can keep a stockpile a single copy of this item if you've bought an egg's blessing, but that isn't much of a stockpile when your constantly burning through your magic supply in order to keep your enemies under control.

For the curious you can buy multiple copies of this trinket in the game, but there's zero reason to do so since the effect of these eggs isn't stackable. So even if you had 99 copies of this egg you'd still only be able to carry around one copy of items like iron focus.

Another issue plaguing this game is the lack of skills available to the player. In order to gain new skills you need to purchase them from the shop and equip them to your characters, but the amount of options actually available is extremely limited. To make matters worse while the game advertises that a latter build of this game will likely include combo attacks. There isn't a single combo attack skill available in this game. Thankfully there is a combo defense skill, but it's so powerful it makes the final boss seem like a chump since her area of effect spamming means she gets burned for attacking the player multiple times every time she attacks.

Graphics and Sound

On the plus side this game features a plethora of original art assets. So the game does stand out visually from the countless other free games that are other there. And the selection of tracks from "Symphonical Rain Sound Library Vol.1" by Azu gives the game a unique sound as well since the game isn't relying on assets that come with the RTP for RPG Maker MV.

Conclusion

On the plus side the game features a diverse cast and solid narrative in my opinion. At least what is there feels solid. Unfortunately the story just feels incomplete in my opinion and that isn't just because the game ends with obvious sequel bait. And while my opinion on the overall narrative is a bit mixed. My feelings on this game from a gameplay perspective are almost entirely negative with combat being heavily centered around spamming skills. So much so that the lack of purchasable MP restores in this game feels like a nasty restriction to place on the player. So while I think this game is worth playing just for the narrative alone. I'm willing to admit this one probably isn't worth playing more than once unless it's combat gets an overhaul.