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Challenging and thoughtful battles drive this short but sweet RPG.

  • Fidchell
  • 10/20/2013 08:05 AM

Illusions of Loyalty is a traditional RPG created by Aegix_Drakan. The game was apparently created under the deadline of a recent contest, so the length and lack of content is not all that jarring nor surprising.

Aegix_Drakan's RPG is an exercise and great example on how to make a traditional RPG fresh and interesting to play. The game requires the player to put thought into his actions and to try and figure out the weak points and strategies necessary to push through an assortment of fights. With the complexion of a traditional battle system, Aegix has not only made the gameplay of Illusions of Loyalty intriguing, but thought-provoking as well. It constantly exercises your mind and gives you different ways to approach different fights, each having a unique element. To top it off, Illusions of Loyalty has an excellent plot with a shocking end.

Disclaimer: I've come under one instance where, unfortunately, I was frozen in a "move event" bug and had to do the final boss (before the end sequence) over again. While I won't cut down the score for this, I think Aegix_Drakan should be alerted of this.

Illusions of Loyalty sports the RTP graphics included with RPG Maker VX Ace. Areas are not all too unique concerning aesthetics, but map design is competent. Areas are appropriately large and small, and usually there is something going on. That having been said, Illusions has impressed me with attention to detail in many different areas. Sometimes you are walking by and you can see and HEAR a blacksmith working and crafting weapons. Characters are animated and are not just pointless filler in a town or facade.

I also have to complement Illusions on its attention to geography in the outdoor areas. The game has a world map section, which is not too large and is thankfully not fraught with random encounters waiting to bone me every three steps. The game eventually presents you with the outlook of the entire continent/island and its inhabitants. Lore is present in the world of Illusions, but I'll get into that later on. What you have, though, is further attention to detail and an attempt to bring the world to life through revealing conflicts and cultures of each faction. Aegix has done a phenomanal job with what little he has presented in terms of map space, and utilizes the smallness to further help soak the player in the lore that he creates.

Maps are well designed and don't always feel like filler.

There are some custom graphics used in this game it appears. I cannot be entirely sure what is a custom graphic since I don't have much experience with Ace and its RTP; however, I noticed some assets were not cropped properly and have stray pixels across their outlines. While cropping could have been done better, I appreciate Aegix's effort in implementing these custom assets.

Conclusion: Aegix has not only utilized the RTP of Ace properly, but pays close attention to detail and puts effort into map design, giving Illusions an overall pleasing aesthetic.

I will have to complement Illusions in this regard. There is plenty of custom music to be heard here, and a lot of it is excellent, fitting the world, conflicts, and scenes with astounding grace. I'm not sure what the source of these tunes are (except for the bitching SoM tune), but Aegix has a more-than-decent selection here and uses them to great effect in more than one instance.

Battle music is appropriately intense and catchy, dungeon music is accordingly gloomy and creepy, and there are some nice little beats that might feel out of place at first, but more or less complement the situation and conflict rather than the setting itself. There are plenty of emotional moments in the game, and the music also does very well in communicating and strengthening the emotional integrity of moments like these. I believe Aegix has a good ear when it comes to music and there is not much more to say.

I'm not entirely sure about the sound assets. They appear to be RTP, but there are also a couple of assets that seem to have been added, although I've never actually heard them in-game. If I were to come to a conclusion with the sound effects, I wouldn't say they are anything special. Aegix has used what he had to the best of his ability, and I can't comment any further on them.

Conclusion: Aegix has an ear for musical compositions and knows how to use them well. Illusions' music selections are top-notch and do not only complement the settings, but the underlying conflicts and tone of the game.

I've given a short glimpse on how intriguing the gameplay of Illusions is. The game is no walk in the park, that's for sure, but Aegix has been thoughtful enough to add in a set of difficulties to choose from before starting the game. This was a very good move considering I can foresee many people quitting on this game not far in.

I can't understate this: Illusions of Loyalty is difficult, but not the bad kind. What I mean by that is that even if battles are difficult, there is always a way through, and that is where the prospect of strategy comes into play, and with Illusions, it's an absolute requirement, otherwise you are probably going to get reamed multiple times. It's not exactly a bad thing to die a couple times, however. Sometimes it is actually necessary in order to find the weak points of the stronger enemies. Aegix has been thoughtful in adding in the ability to save your game whenever you control your character, and this is an especially good move in a game that can turn the tables very quickly if you aren't careful.

Illusions consists of a custom addition to the traditional battle system to greatly spice things up, which it definitely has. The game expects you to use your head and ulitize special skills that your allies have to their greatest effect. Each and every skill you have has a negative effect, and no, that does not always mean losing SP (MP or whatever). The game has added another status bar it calls the "aggression meter." The player must keep their eye on this, for it is the gateway to making certain powerful skills available to them. They can't just chug MP potions and expect to be alright.

Battles are juicy and require the player's undivided attention.

I don't usually care for the traditional battle systems of RPG Maker games, mostly because not enough people put effort into making battles interesting with a good amount of challenge and thoughtful additions. I cannot stress enough how relieving it was to play Illusions. I think I have only had one instance where I had some difficulty and had to look at the guide (yes, Aegix has provided a BOSS GUIDE!) in order to figure out how to proceed. It was in the final battle, and I can't exactly lower the merit of this specific fight, since final battles are meant to be challenging. There was only one thing about it that caught me off guard, and that is the classic "summoning" ability, where monsters are beckoned into battle. Because it was such an effort to take down one of them only to have them revived, I gave up and had a look in the guide, learning that there is a limit to how many times the main baddy can summon and that I should kill off the weaker summon! Even if it was significantly weaker, other status buffers combined with the enemies' powerful attacks made it quite a challenge.

Even if Illusions is difficult, the game considers the concept of BALANCE. If you use your head, you will not have a hard time with the battles. Put away all thought, and you are in for an ass-beating of massive proportions. Status ailments play a huge part in Illusions' battles, and thankfully, Aegix has put careful thought into their roles in different fights and how beneficial they can be. Usually status ailments are able to be inflicted on almost every sort of foe, but their importance in delaying or outright stopping an opponent from unleashing a more powerful attack is absolutely necessary to be considered.

Every battle is a gamble and an instance where the player must sit back, think, and experiment with different strategies in order to make it out alive.

Conclusion: Illusions' battle segments are refreshingly thought-provoking and balanced very well. The gameplay truly shines in Aegix's project and prove that putting thought into battle mechanics can make a huge difference in levels of entertainment.

With such a short runtime, especially for an RPG, I did not really know what to expect out of Aegix's project. It seemed to me that it would not turn out very impressive from the synopsis and screenshots provided. I figured that the game would actually be quite bland considering it uses the overly medieval-ish theme that most RPGs take advantage of. I was pleasantly surprised to eventually find out that Illusions of Loyalty has stayed true to its promises of a dark and compelling storyline.

First I want to cover the literacy very shortly. The game is very well done in this aspect. Not only are there lines of dialogue that emphasize the nuances and personalities of each character, but Aegix has furthered the immersion in the emotional aspect by adding in occasions where speech bubbles are used. Normally this is something the player doesn't see much of in a game. sometimes the usage of speech bubbles can actually be UNIMPRESSIVE if used too much. Aegix has created a lot of different events where speech bubbles are used, but I will not discredit him for this. Why? The speech bubbles are used very properly and help the player more easily envision the moods and personalities of all the characters you come across.

As for the characters themselves, Illusions plays host to many fleshed-out and well-developed characters. There are plenty of thematic moments where we start to get a feel for how each character operates and Aegix has gone into surprising detail into each of their little sets of nuances that help them stand out a great deal. Needless to say, my attention was handled gently by the sweet, sexy grace of Illusions' narratives. I cannot possibly say anything detailed about the story, but it is actually very well done. I don't come across too many RPGs of this aesthetic that have such an admirable attention to thematic elements.

Alongside the characters, Aegix has created his own lores and faction cultures which bring his world to life. There are three different factions that share the same island. Two are at war, but one tries to remain neutral; however, there are plenty of underlying secrets that make the world of Illusions one of great treachery. You are never certain what to expect in your travels. It seems smooth-sailing, but little bits and pieces start to come together and eventually have you realize that things are about to take a nose-dive into the shitter. Aegix's story is properly laid out and paced well enough to keep my heavily engaged and immersed. The narrative also helps enormously in this. Even with some troubles I've gone through in terms of gameplay, I still had the pressing urge to keep going in order to see how it all ends, and oh... how it ends. I have to give Aegix a merit for straying from the common, happy, triumphant endings of many RPGs. It really is refreshing, as grim and sad as it was. AHEM! Either way, I'm really glad I played this until the end, and I don't say that for too many games at all. No, seriously!

Conclusion: The story of Illusions of Loyalty will have you careen through a circus ring of emotions. With its well-paced plot, fleshed-out characters, and excellent narrative, the story of Illusions is just the icing on the cake.

Illusions of Loyalty is full of pleasant (and not so pleasant) surprises. Would I go far enough to say that this game is an example all RPGs should take and expand upon? Yes. Would I say that Aegix needs to make more games? Yes. Definitely. Illusions is a product of a CONTEST. That alone makes me want to see another larger, more ambitious project from Aegix. Whenever that may be, I will look forward to it with great anticipation. I do have an award to give out, on that note.

Pat yourself on the back! You've done well.

Game verdict: Illusions of Loyalty should serve as a great example of how to make a traditional RPG more interesting. With its balanced and customized gameplay, intriguing narrative, and decent mapping, Aegix's project lands higher on my recommendation list of RPGs to play.


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I hate RPG Maker because of what it has done to me
Very nice read sir!
:D Wow. Thank you for the kind words! I've got two games in the works, although progress is slow, and I can't decide which one to prioritize right now...

Although I do have to admit, a lot of the polish (Expanding the towns, the campfire scenes, the 3 extra bosses, on field enemies, etc) were added after the contest was over, although the base of the game (the maps, battles and plot) were done during the 2 week limit.

Oh, and also, I thought that I had given ample warning in the game (through NPCs and books) that the final boss can only do the summoning trick a limited number of times...Ah well.

Finally, if you want to know where I got some of the music, I believe I credit them in a text file outside the game.
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