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Perverted Orbs of Wisdom and a Lack of Healing Items

  • Caz
  • 07/12/2012 06:47 PM
Ethereal Heart is a game you begin as an unclothed princess, which might be enough to make you want to you play it without reading the rest of this review! You start out not knowing where you are, only that you received a nasty blow to the head and you've awoken in this torn up building. It took me a few minutes to investigate everything in order to find a way out, but thankfully it wasn't difficult (I just examined all the pots for good measure). It would have been nice if there had maybe been some items stashed in the pots to reward the player for checking through everything, but I won't be too picky about that.

The interior mapping here conveyed a broken up building quite well, but I still found it a bit too large and empty, if not a little 'bright' considering the other aspects of the atmosphere. Outside, the maps were also quite large and empty but the RTP floor tiles were used well to portray something a little less square than most games come out with. I feel that if there was some variation to the tiles (perhaps other kinds of dirt and sand to spruce things up a bit, maybe a dead tree here or there) then this map would've been decent.

I investigated outside, trying not to be funneled into the obvious building that beckoned the plot-whore within. I came across a lot of treasures. A lot. Some of which An commented on herself by saying just how much gold and trinkets there were. I realise that An is a princess and she's probably rich already, but the treasure hunter inside of myself was very sad when I couldn't pillage every last bit of it or, actually, any of it. Some hidden treasures might have been nice, especially considering the upcoming boss fight in the house. This fight was pretty bland and An had no skills at all. I could pretty much look away from the screen and mash space until I heard the victory theme. Maybe if some items and skills were put in, this could have been a bit more interesting.

The plot in here was fairly gripping, and I felt that An at least had some character depth when she mentioned her disgust at killing two living creatures, regardless of how they tried to treat her. Upon meeting Lema, I thought the flashback was a bit lengthy and too much was explained at once. No mystery was really left to her, and she seemed far too open to the audience. And she was creepy.. Before the events in the harpies' house, she used her oracle powers to look at An naked. Understandable, I guess. I mean, who would really be that modest if they could see everything?

"Hooray, I can see everything ever! But no way, I would never abuse that to look at naked people!"

After leaving the island, the exterior maps improved quite a bit as I noticed in one town, and I particularly liked a certain "factory" which looked like a very industrialised mine. It certainly gave a lot of depth to the place, and it made it seem like there was more to the area than just an inn and some shops, like it gave the people of the town a bit more life. They were still quite vast and empty maps, but they were certainly better than what I had seen before.

This was a very short demo which gave a feel for the dungeons and adventuring in the game. It had the very cliché RPG feeling to it of: go to this town, oh there's a problem, sort it.. next town, problem, sorted.. and so on and so on. While I've personally no major complaints about this, it does seem quite mechanical and makes the townguards or politicians seem a bit useless at sorting their own problems out.

Onto the gameplay, the crawl through the dungeon was pretty much let down by random encounters. I felt the encounter rate could have been lowered just a bit, or the fights could have been made interesting with a few more skills. While the characters did gain a few skills, there wasn't much variety (especially if you consider that they shared some skills like 'ice'). I would have liked to have seen more rewards in the dungeon like treasures along the main route. The boss fight with Jaze was a bit difficult due to a complete lack of healing equipment, especially MP recovery items.

I otherwise quite liked this demo and had no major issues with the direction it was heading in. I look forward to seeing a further release, perhaps with lower encounter rates and more variation in skills for its characters. I'd say the game was pretty average in all, so I deem it worthy of a 3/5. If the problems I mentioned were fixed, I may consider changing that score.


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I enjoyed reading this review :3
Jesus, caz, you're on a roll with these!
@Clareain - I'm glad it wasn't too boring or technical! :P

@Noelle - Not a problem! Despite my issues, I really think this could be a good game!

@Sbester - To be fair, I somehow managed to pick the short games or ones that only had demo releases. Once I start playing longer games, I won't go through them so quick..
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