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Keep Practicing - You'll Get Better

  • amerk
  • 06/02/2014 04:33 AM
Curse of Chromia is one of those games I really wanted to love. Considering this is the first game by the developer Dustie, married, with children, working full time – I know the feeling, and it’s a wonder he even had time to make a project. However, I also know that sugar feeding a game to somebody when it’s in dire need of help does nobody any favors, least of all the developer, and I strongly believe that given more time and dedication, this game could have turned out a lot better than it was.

To be frank, 8 months on a game does not seem enough time when it’s your first project, especially considering that a full time working family man doesn’t allow much in those 8 months to begin with. There are some exceptions to that rule, but they usually fall with people who have had the experience with developing.

In all fairness, I played the game until about the halfway mark before I decided to stop playing all together.

The game play here is very generic, and relies heavily on gimmicks than it does much of anything else. The biggest fault I found with the game was the difficulty system. You can choose your difficulty right from the beginning without any repercussions for choosing an easier playthrough. There is no benefit that I saw for choosing a harder mode, and you can change your difficulty at anytime during the game.

Now, when it comes to a choice of difficult settings, I like to know that my dedication will pay off by selecting a harder mode, either by extra content, side quests, or even uncovering parts of a story I may have missed on an easier setting. But when there is no benefit to this, and my remaining library of “yet to be tested RPG Maker games” exceeds well over 300+ titles, naturally I’m going to choose the easiest mode.

And considering how repetitious the battles get, easy mode allowed me to spam auto-attack on all but the bosses, with barely a scratch to my characters.

Another thing I noticed was in one of the dungeons, a rock-pushing puzzle led to an empty chest. Given, this was as easy as a puzzle can get, but you should never make the player work for something and give them nothing in return.

Damn you for taunting me!

There were some nice touches to the overall experience (side view battle system, a party changer outside of the default, a merchant script), but as I said above, these all become unnecessary gimmicks when the rest of the game falls flat.

There was also a side quest that involved you rebuilding your town, and it used a very basic approach of recruiting people to join. This was nowhere near as great as the Legion Saga games, but it still had a nice touch.

Uh… you missed one?

I will also commend the developer on a bug-free game (previous bugs may have been fixed). These are things the developer should be proud of, considering it is his first game, however, it was not enough to keep my interest.

My rating for Game Play is 2/5. It works, with no bugs, but it’s rather tedious and boring.

Had the story been even halfway decent, I may have continued even further, but alas, it was the story that made me lose the most interest in playing this game. It’s as clichéd of an experience as you can get, and I daresay that I thought the first Final Fantasy had more going for it than this.

You start off late for your own graduation from some sort of fighting academy, and a group of soldiers attack the guild/academy. You escape into a cave, and then vow to find the king and get help. The king tells you of 4 shards scattered around the world and, that when gathered, would resurrect some ancient evil. The empire is looking for these shards, and you’re tasked with finding them first.

Now, the first two people who join your cause are the only ones who have any reason to do so. There is no character development at all in this game, not even with the main character, but at least their reasons make sense, unlike this guy's:

No, no, that’s okay. Really, I insist you stay put and finish your beer.

This drunk decides to join because he somehow knows where a shard is, although he gives no indication he knows what it is or what it does. Another one joins you simply because you found her locket or pendant. And still another wants to put you through a strength test of sorts before joining you, even though she's made no effort (from a player's perspective) to find out what the quest even is.

You’re not the only one.

A player needs to have an investment into the characters they are playing before they can connect. For rpg’s without story, this is usually done with customizing characters the way they want. For story-driven rpg’s, this is usually done through some sort of character development.

This game has neither.

Adding this on to a game that severely lacks in game play, a boring clichéd-driven story that goes nowhere fast finally made me decide against it.

My rating for Story is 1.5/5. It's very incoherent and silly. Characters join you for no valid reason. It follows a formulaic plot to a "T" and doesn't attempt to do it any better, but somehow manages to make it worse. And in the end I found I was not at all interested.

If there is one redeeming quality of this game, it’s that for a first project it’s not terribly mapped. Sure, it could be a lot better, but overall I had no problems with the design. The towns looked promising, the dungeons had a bit of care to them, and the overworld was easy to navigate. The side view did offer a pleasing aesthetic to an otherwise dull battle system, and the resources seemed to be used fairly well.

Audio, on the other hand, was a bit of a mesh. Secret of Mana is the primary theme, mixed in with the default. While I can say at least it wasn’t Final Fantasy, it seems all first time developers fall into this mistake. There are hundreds of different composers all over the internet willing to make tracks for use in RPG Maker games for free, and in a lot of cases, these tracks are just as good (if not better) than current video game music. A game that uses lesser known pieces is going to have a better impact than one using Square/Enix melodies.

On the plus side, the pieces do fit with the mood of the game, and none of the audio was jarring in any way.

My rating for Atmosphere is 3/5. The RTP is used fairly well and for a first time developer it’s not bad at all. Just try to find some originality in the audio you are using.

This is a good practice game, and I encourage Dustie to continue honing in on his skills. However, I believe the game could have been polished a lot more before being released. For new players who have yet to experience an rpg or an RPG Maker game, this might hold their interest for awhile. But for the veterans, probably not.

Final verdict is 2.16/5.