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A commendable art of experimenting and rewards.

  • wltr3565
  • 12/04/2012 07:03 AM
Actually, this is the first time I give a review here. I'm not really sure what should I write. Alas, I can't hold myself to pour my thoughts about this wonderful piece of unique gem; Wine & Roses. This game breaks most of gameplay standards of RM games.

You play along as Lord Francisco, brimming with witty puns and commentaries. He's not alone, however. Our three exorcists does the dirty work to clean up the skeletal lord's evil-infested Ford Adder. Explore within, as the evil inside is eager to greet you.

The game starts abruptly, only a small intro and little to guide you clearly. Worry not, Lord Francisco is there to ensure you are on your toes. The game does not explain the basics directly, but rather slow but surely teaching you. It's not the normal basics that we usually knew, because the mechanics itself are unusual.

Battle, the game's eccentric essence, gives you control over the three ladies. You're free to give them order in any order, and how much you want, limited by EN. There's Sanity, which is required to cast some magics. Sanity decides the tide since it affects your offense and defense drastically. What they can do is determined by their abilities. And when you feel enough, you can end your turn, giving your prey initiative to act. Obviously, enemies can act multiple times in one turn. Those mechanics alone give a large room for strategy, which make our normal button mashing routine a waste.

Each combat plays uniquely. The enemies yield a plethora of variative strategy around statistics and ailments. One can remove your ailments as you struggle on offense. Some of them can heal AND buff it's ally while the others inflict disadvantages. Remember well, that every ailments really work in their place. This game makes the ailments truly meaningful in combat. A small infliction of them decides your odds very much. Worry not, you can do that to them too, with a bunch of upgrades and adjustments ready in your arsenal. Of course, you must acquire them first. This is where the game really excels. The main fun is experimenting strategies on each battle. The same strategy won't work on different battles. When you know your current strategy doesn't work, plan a new one, and try again. You won't get any penalty by losing. You won't get one when you run away either. The game encourages you to not give up. The strategies available plays much in variation, from handling Sanity to playing with bonuses from certain actions like giving ailments. It is so open that one fight can be won with plenty of strategies. Not every strategy of course, but a well-crafted ones does.

Prevailing in an encounter is a feat. It feels so satisfying to outsmart your daunting foe. You do not gain the normal rewards like experience, but you do get some enchantments available for future combat, thanks to Lord Francisco and his mouthful of comments. He talks so much, but many of his comments brighten the conflict, in many means. He's not an empty-headed but a mouthy skeleton.

You roam freely in Fort Adder, lacking in clues. Where should I go, you ask? Just go. No puzzles inside, only encounters await. Let Lord Francisco's tendon-lack steps guide you. Exploring the fort won't be unrewarding after all. The ways are obstructed by the foes, which makes finding a new way lack the frustration of being lost. You fight an enemy, claim victory and the spoils are there. You lose one, find another path, and you're free to challenge again when you feel you're strong enough to beat the evil up. The exploration is so open, nothing to force you where to go.

On the other side, the story is told vaguely. It is told piece by piece, via commentaries from our exorcists that you found, and little others. So vague, but that's where it gets interesting. Not false to say the story is confusing at start. But you'll understand enough as you go further, and further.

The graphics, while not fully original, the presentation is outright fine. The maps use our standard VX Ace RTP tilesets, but smartly mapped to build Fort Adder in its wonderful shape. Each area are imbued with pretty fog effects, suitable for each area. The hallways are lonely. The underground lab is mysterious. It creates suiting atmosphere as you crawl in. The unique portraits and character designs only make this game more special.

The soundtrack selection is a good one too. But personally, I'm not a fan of dubstep and slow musical scores. But the soundtrack is good enough to enhance your playing experience.

The only thing that is unsatisfying to me is the ending. It just, simply ends. But the game mainly focus on the battles anyway. It didn't break the fun I had as I embark in this rewarding game. A very commendable art of experimenting and rewards. A little shame that it is pretty short, around 4 hours of gameplay.

I'm giving this game 4.5 of 5.