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edchuy's Tears of the Sword RS! X Demo Review

  • edchuy
  • 03/22/2010 04:15 AM
  • 1735 views
Summary:

A polished reworked demo released just in time for RS! X, Tears of the Sword offers a different skill and class system for characters as well as other interesting elements of gameplay

Overall Score: 3.7/5


Background to Review:

According to SquishyWizard this demo's a revamp of his earlier demo. I had not played nor heard about this game before RS! X. I haven’t played any other of his games yet either.

After playing it what impressions did I get from the demo?


Story/Plot/Dialogue:

In his gamepage, SquishyWizard gives a good summary of the events leading to the current situation in the game. The demo starts with a character's lament about the past. After that scene you are taken the past. You find yourself controlling a party of 3 human heroes who are returning from accomplishing their goal in the Ethran Civil War to their home town, only to find it is being attacked by the enemy, the Croixians. After a few fights and events, your party eventually faces the leaders of the attacking force and you find out the reason for the opening scene character's lament. Returning to the present, peace between humans and Croixians has been signed and the city of Veritas has been built to provide a home to the human survivors of the attack. Its King, one of the war heroes, sends a female ranger into nearby Forest of Noev to try to find the source of corruption that is making wildlife aggressive everywhere. There, she rescues a man suffering from amnesia who is being attacked and takes him back to the city to be seen at the hospital. The man, when visited by the King and his daughter in the hospital, recalls a couple of details. After reuniting with the ranger, the man goes to see the king and gets the task of finding the source of the corruption, which is suspected to be within the forest, with the help of the princess. The demo ends after this search party is joined by one of the surviving children of the attack who is now an adult and we are introduced to another one in Veritas who has some news to report to the King.

The dialogue in this demo, especially between the characters and NPCs, is quite effective not only in providing information but also can tell something about the character’s personality and his/her relationship with whom they are speaking to. Examples of this are: there is character in the game who is a holy man and yet, the way he express himself could easily have come from the rough around the edges bounty hunters you encounter throughout the game; there is this awkwardness between a couple of the characters of the game that is reflected in what and how they say it, which doesn't exist for one of them with the people she knows.

Score: 4/5


Gameplay:

The demo features some interesting elements in addition to traditional first-person turn-based battles, that by the way, can be quite challenging and often require use of skills in order to defeat the enemies to take advantage of the weaknesses they might have. For the most part, most battles start from random encounters, except for boss battles. I found battle balance to be adequate and was lucky enough to play through the demo without having to revive any of my characters, which could easily not have been the case.

An interesting feature I don't recall having seen in any other RPG Maker game I have played so far is how your characters acquire skills. Your characters have been assigned by the game a class: melee, agile or magic. The game suggests their role within the party. In some cases, they could have been dual-classed with the limitation being that these characters won't be able to be skilled in the weapon skills corresponding to either class. After getting introduced to a new character in your party you eventually find a chest containing starter skills for him/her. While you could easily let the corresponding character learn all those skills, it's up to you whether you choose to let another character who has the same class learn one of them instead. If all of this is not clear, thankfully there are tutorials for classes and skills in game and accessible at save points. Future skills are acquired automatically by your characters either after certain events or boss fights.

Another important feature that the game has is the presence of traveling salesmen throughout the forest who sell you the vitally important MP-restoring item, so that you can continue to use skills in battles. Since GP is hard to come by in the game and all of the fights in the present take place in the forest, the shop in Veritas might be of little or no use, except to get some combat gear upgrades while in town.

There is a heavy emphasis on exploration in the forest, which will help you find not only itinerant salesmen and visible treasure chests, but also a hidden treasure, some items you need to get at some point to remove some blockades you'll find along the way and a hidden sidequest related to one of the skills acquired by one of your characters. This last one I haven't tried to see whether it can be completed or not in the current demo, but it might be possible since once the demo ends, the game allows you to freely explore the forest without advancing in the main story.

One feature that is pending implementation is the ability to change party members at save points, probably because you don’t recruit enough members in the demo to use it.

Score: 4/5


Graphics

Graphics in this demo are mostly typical of RM2k games. The facesets and sprites of the characters correspond well to each other and for some of them don't seem to be very typical. The same can be said of some of the sprites used for the enemies.

Score: 3/5


Sound:

I found music in this demo to be enjoyable. There were a few of the songs I did recognize, some from typical RM games, others as rips from pop music. Sound effects appear to be of standard RM.

Score: 3.5/5


Characters:

I found some of the main characters introduced to have unique personalities ranging from caring to brash which is largely reflected through their dialogue. Some others didn't get theirs developed as much, I suspect due to lack of screen time. I expect this to change when a new release advances the story further.

Score: 3.5/5


Other:

I did find some spelling mistakes or typos, about a little less to average compared to other RMN games. Grammar was very good. Thankfully, I didn’t find any game-breaking nor any minor bugs which I think need to be addressed. I found the layout of the forest with its alternate paths to get to places very well done, which you ended up needing to explore when you find out at some point in the game that some paths are blocked off. This demo actually said where it ended, which is nice because that way you don't have to guess whether you can go on further.

Score: 4/5

Posts

Pages: 1
Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the helpful review. I didn't quite get to where I wanted to be by the time the event rolled around, but I figured what I had was adequate enough, for it takes an hour and a half to two hours to beat it myself. I'm also glad you enjoyed the skill system. I wasn't sure how good that was going to turn out, since it requires a lot of player input. The game is primarily character based, so I'm relieved to see that my characters came across well.
Still a work in progress, clearly, but it is definitely shaping up nicely. I hope I can get another demo out soon exactly where I wanted to leave off last time.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
I greatly appreciate and approve of this effort to give feedback to all the Release Something projects. Keep it up.
edchuy
You the practice of self-promotion
1624
I'm glad it finally got approved and that my review was useful. For this one, I tried to avoid to give too much away, so I was kind of vague which is good for any potential players, but obviously can be easily understood by you, SW. By the way, a general comment, RPGs came make up for a generally linear plot (although in your case its still unpredictable for now at least) by rewarding exploration, providing some sidequests, a unique battle system or interesting, well-developed characters,all of which you seem to be trying to do with your project. Good luck on getting that new demo. I look forward to it.

comment=25050
I greatly appreciate and approve of this effort to give feedback to all the Release Something projects. Keep it up.


Thanks for the comment, Solitayre.
Pages: 1