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The Altimate RPG Starter Kit

  • Tonfa
  • 06/05/2010 11:01 PM

Altima of Action 52 RMN fame(?) is a short RPG entirely taking place on a world map. The map consists of towns which contain shops/recruits for your party/NPC lines of priceless advice, and dungeons, which are a gauntlet of battles. Both of these features are shown on the convenient minimap, and even color-coded for presence of allies and difficulty, respectively. Your mission is to locate the Holy Grail and Sacred Water based on hints given by NPCs and dungeon completion reward notes, and then locate the Source of Evil and punch it in the ???.

As you may infer from the description, Altima is very freeform, and therein lies its biggest charm. You can construct your party as you wish, and visit places in almost any order, only restricted by possible lack of vehicles. Despite this, due to its simplicity it is not overwhelming, and is in fact very easy to pick up and play, as is befitting a game created in a very short time.


Yet simplicity and lack of development time are also Altima's biggest flaws. The writing consists of the (admittedly humorous) NPC one-liners and scanned monster profile blurbs and the combat is very paint-by-numbers without so much as a passing attempt at balance. Lack of balance in not entirely a bad thing - after all, a free roaming game where you can get the strongest sword in the first 20 minutes has its own appeal - but you're untouchable to all but the final boss when decked out in decent gear.

This is the most disappointing part of Altima: enemies just don't have bite to back up their memorable flavor text. Each possible party member gets a nice compact set of invidual skills but you can get by most things just by mashing attack. Far too few dungeons have a boss fight at the end of them either - 80% of the time you're dealing with randoms with unmemorable movesets. Definitely something that could have been ironed out with more development time.

Despite the negatives, something about the simple exploration and combat is fun enough to keep going. There's absolutely nothing extraneous to detract from the game - it's all about finding the things that make the numbers go up in its purest form.

A legendary officer appears!

Overall? Altima plays like a RPG stripped down to its barest essentials. It doesn't really do anything wrong, but there's not much of anything to recommend it on either. There are worse ways to spend 2-3 hours.

"GOD IS HERE" - Thoroughly Helpful Old Man, Altima


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That alone made want to try out this game.

That alone made want to try out this game.

I completely agree about the lackluster monsters. When crunch time was rearing its head some characters still didn't have their full skill set made and only the first two tier of enemies had anything beyond 'Attack'. Making character skill sets seemed a bit more important (even if nobody uses the Lawful Murderer), gave the final set of enemies (besides the extra tier that I cut) one extra move and made the final boss marginally more interesting than a can of spam. I'll probably shift through what YEZ can do and redo enemy skill sets beyond 'Attack' and maybe even update character skill sets as well.
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