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The Deconstruction

The Reconstruction by Deltree is a strategy RPG created with RPG Maker XP that is extraordinary in both gameplay and story. Set in an only seemingly typical fantasy world, the player controls a guild of adventurers who seek to assist and protect their fellow citizens. After a short prelude, the guild can begin to accept various quests that slowly introduce the player to the game's world and the increasingly difficult mechanics. With each completed mission, the main story can be advanced further and additional quests, locations and characters are unlocked. While the first few of these quests are typically tasks like defeating small monsters, it soon becomes clear there is much more to the story than you would have expected.
The Reconstruction successfully breaks with many traditions of generic RPGs and creates an experience that is, in one simple word, different.

Dehl isn't the most typical leader for a guild of warriors.

The Good (Positive qualities that justify an increase of score):
- The Reconstruction is set in a highly complex world with a lot of attention for detail. But what makes this setting more special than other fantasy game worlds is that often, things are not quite what they seem. While during the first few missions, the game pretends to be fairly typical, it soon becomes clear everything is not that simple, and the player finds himself in a world full of secrets, conspiracies and philosophical dilemmas.
- The game's graphics are partially RTP, edits and custom. All character graphics are custom-made and often have special poses or animations during cutscenes, which makes then much more expressive. Some of the music in The Reconstruction is original as well and does a good job enhancing the atmosphere of the game.
- Gameplay-wise, there is a lot that makes The Reconstruction special. Instead of running around in towns searching for the right NPC to talk to, the player scrolls through town maps with a cursor, where he can access the clearly indicated quests. The guild system allows for... no, not four, six active party members, to be chosen from a cast of up to sixteen characters. Once a mission has been accepted, the player can switch between the active members of the guild, who can move around in the quest-specific area independently or as a group. While trying to complete a mission, the guild can earn extra points through special objectives.
- It's the battle system, however, that is this game's showpiece. Forget about HP and MP, front view battles and mashing the Enter button. You will now have to deal with the Body, the Mind and the Soul, that all serve both as types of health and fuel for skills. Only one of these ratings needs to be reduced to zero to defeat a character, so you may suddenly find your hulking Body tank collapsing quickly when someone attacks his Mind stat. Add to this a system of strenghts and weaknesses based on elements, weapon and armor types, and a "battlefield" that requires clever positioning and strategic use of skills and abilities. Then you will experience battles with extraordinary tactical depth and many twists that should not be underestimated. Defeating enemies will grant your party members essence points, which serve as "experience" and can be spent to increase different stats, while using skills generates skill and mana points to improve special abilities.
Also, The Reconstruction has no random encounters, which makes roaming maps a lot less frustrating. (A small drawback is that there is no way to escape from battles.)
- Storytelling in The Reconstruction is handled in a very subtle, often even cryptic way. It may take the player a while to notice that there might be a lot more to the characters and the story in general than initially thought. The complexity of the plot will often surprise you with its small hints and great revelations. The game's tone can be both humourous and serious, often dealing with highly philosophical and sometimes very dark subjects.
- It might seem strange to mention this seperately, but it really deserves it: The game's ending. If you managed to recruit all available party members (which you should ab-so-lute-ly do), the ending you will see is probably going to completely blow your mind. Don't spoil anything for yourself, just go and play the game.

Time to battle it out.

The Bad (Minor issues and nuisances that usually only decrease the score if they come in large numbers):
- The graphial style of The Reconstruction is something you really have to get used to. Especially on the map screens, tiles and characters often have thick black outlines but otherwise very little contours, which can make it difficult to get an overview.
- While the mapping is very nicely done, especially the early outside areas suffer from very odd and seemingly arbitrary passability settings. Often enough, it is not possible to walk onto certain tiles that are normally passable, you cannot walk behind most trees, etc.
- One aspect of the game that is intentional can become frustrating at times: The feeling of being lost. Story-wise, you will often enough have practically no idea what is happening around you and feel utterly confused. But this can also apply to the gameplay if you are not familiar with all the mechanics yet. In the beginning, it is very difficult to understand the function of all the stats and systems, so that you may occasionally feel overwhelmed. Some practice and the game's manual will help a lot here.
- The Reconstruction has a certain tendency towards generalization when it comes to describing the game world's cultures and species, and while this tendency is regularly broken through counter-examples, it's nearly always those exceptional people who become important story characters or even end up as part of your guild. There is hardly a guild member who doesn't have a troubled past, a dark secret or something else that makes them very special. The sheer amount of characters that stand out in some way or another can seem to be a bit overdone. Personally, in spite of the careful characterization the game tries to execute, it took me quite a while until the characters really started to grow on me. Also, some of the characters' personalities are just too exaggerated to be taken seriously sometimes (Yes, Kidra, I'm looking at you!).
- While most quests the guild recieves are well-made and fun to play, a few missions can become frustrating or boring. This is a minority, however.
- Like every RPG Maker game, The Reconstruction has its share of bugs. Some of them are indeed potentially game-breaking, but if you pay attention, save regularly and don't try to cheat, they can easily be avoided.

That pretty much sums it up. Your guild will have enough to do for a while.

The Ugly (Major problems or very frustrating aspects that lead to a decrease of score):
- The... Reconstruction... is... a... very... slow-paced... game. Especially when you play it for the first time, it can take you very long to understand the way this game works, and you may find yourself rearranging your party or retrying a particular quest over and over again. Also, the battle system is very time-consuming and prone to lags. And missions which require your party members to stay separate instead of grouped can require you to keep repositioning and switching between your characters for what seems like an eternity.
- With great custom gameplay systems comes great responsibility. While the technical prowess of The Reconstruction deserves to be praised, some aspects can be a real pain. For instance, in the party selection mode, choices cannot be cancelled, so making a mistake will require you to finish up the complete party formation process and then start all over again. Also, at least in my opinion, the way essence costs to increase character stats are calculated is just downright unfair.


Despite a few weak points, The Reconstruction is a very good game well worth your time. Its great amount of original ideas and twists, both gameplay- and story-wise, its demanding yet enjoyable challenges and its untypical heroes and role inversions make it a fascinating gaming experience that deconstructs our expectations of a typical fantasy RPG.
Because of these qualities, The Reconstruction has become a classic among RPG Maker games - and rightly so.


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I really agree with this review. (Though the story is good enough I'd bump it up to 4.5, plus Dhel is just the most interesting protagonist ever.) I'm playing I Miss the Sunrise right now, and gameplay wise almost all the problems are fixed--in particular the battles move a lot faster and the stat/menu problems are gone. The Deltree awesomeness continues.
doesn't live here anymore
Whoa, blast from the past! Thanks for taking the time; I appreciate the feedback! (The amount of sheer bumbling I did to make the engine do what I wanted the first time cannot be overstated.)
Got any Dexreth amulets?
You're very welcome, Deltree. I should thank you for putting so much time and effort into creating these games.

And thanks for the comment, icovoc. I Miss the Sunrise and The Drop are next on my review list (and I can already tell you their scores will be even higher).
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