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Isolated Incident

  • Roden
  • 05/11/2015 02:09 PM
  • 1306 views
After being urged and urged to play this by CashmereCat, I finally got around to running through it. Did it live up to Cash's hype?

Gameplay

Let me say right away, this is the best part of Remnants of Isolation. I've never played another RM game with combat mechanics as simple and fun as this, and I have to give big props to the team for that. I honestly didn't think it was possible to make a game so fun in RM, but I'm glad I was wrong.

The spell fusion system is perhaps the perfect mechanic for a game of this length, and a party of only two characters. It keeps combat flowing at a really consistent pace and actually made me want to seek out battles, a rare thing in an RPG. I encountered some situations where I felt as though I wanted to use an Innate Skill and then use a Regular Spell after without fusion, but these were few and far between, and probably speak more about me playing the game like a noob at certain points than anything.

The battles are either quick and painless or nicely challenging, with one exception near the end of the game- the dragon boss that had two groupies with him seemed a tad too hard, but again, this may be due to me being an idiot. I uh... Forgot that I could make barriers, so. Let's just move on, shall we?

For what it's worth, my favourite battle in the game was the fight against three elementals near the end of the Nightmare segment. That was super fun to figure out and really let the battle system shine.

The dungeon design is pretty straightforward and keeps the player moving along at a nice pace. I felt like the dungeon segments were just long enough to provide a good challenge, but not to get tiring. I like the Hub -> Level -> Boss gameplay loop. It helps the game remain constantly fresh over the course of its play time, and keeps the player wanting more.

Worldbuilding (Setting, Atmosphere, Writing and Characters)

The writing in this game is impressive, if only for the fact that it manages to be interesting and have a personality with only one guy talking the whole time. There's nothing too deep or complex going on really, but what's there is wonderfully put together and makes you want to press onward to the end. The constant talking about the "heart of the castle" really put me in mind of Castle in the Sky, which is a plus in my books. Perhaps the best point of the writing is that the game manages to give Celesta a personality and character development at all- a feat not everyone would be able to accomplish with a silent character.

The notes you find around the castle and the exposition given by Melcior at certain points does help to provide a good sense of setting and how the outside world operates. You don't need to see anything outside of the castle, or know too much about the castle itself. The game knows this and only gives you what you need to paint a good mental picture for yourself.

I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of multiple endings. The first ending I got was number 3, and Cash urged me (and told me) how to get the other two afterwards. I would have preferred the game to just have one ending that was more satisfying, because none of the 3 really struck me that much. It didn't bother me a lot though, after experiencing the rest of the game it wasn't a big deal that the ending was sort of "light", and I'm not really sure if changing it would help. I certainly can't think of anything I would have done differently with it.

Aesthetics (Graphics & Music)

There is not too much to say in the realm of aesthetics, at least from a graphical standpoint. The game is mostly RTP, and in certain cases the maps are a little bare and uninteresting (moreso near the beginning of the game). The small amount of custom work is nice- Melchior's jumping animation comes to mind, as does Celesta's piano playing. Sooz's artwork is very impressive, very expressive, and probably the best looking thing in the game. It helps give a character to Celesta and really bolsters Melchior's personality, which is helpful in a game where he's the only one talking.

The music is used excellently for setting the mood of the castle, and gives the game a very overbearing and sometimes oppressive feel. I'm not well versed in music, so I can't really say anything too deep about it, but it was good- if a little bit forgettable.

Overall

This is one of the best RM games I've ever played. It was really impressive to see an RM title that was so well put together, and I can honestly say I wasn't expecting that- which isn't to say anything about the presentation of that game or it's creators, it's just my shitty bias about RM titles. As I stated before, the battle system is the real high point of RoI for me, it was very inspiring and something I'll probably look at to study for my own work when the time comes.

In the end, I was very pleased with this title.

Posts

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unity
You're magical to me.
12169
I'm so glad you enjoyed the game, Pizza, and thank you for this great review! ^_^ I think you have a good point about the multiple endings. I personally feel like I have a lot to learn about how to use endings in games, so this gave me more to think on.

Thanks again :D
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
Hey Pizza, I'm really glad you liked it! About the endings, they were designed the way they were to test the player's attachment to the characters. Celesta was designed to allow the players to determine her personality through their actions. Because of this, players arriving at their first ending have their reasons for this ending set in their own head, so expanding on them would more than likely hurt the game's story rather than help it.

Heh, I better stop now before I try too hard to justify design choices. Just wanted to let you know that the endings weren't there for the sake of an extra bullet on the feature list. Again, I'm really psyched you liked it!
Oh, I certainly didn't mean to sound like you tacked on the endings for no reason! I have enough confidence in your team from the rest of the game to know that you wouldn't have done multiple endings unless you had a good reason for it. I can definitely see what you're saying about letting the player make the ending for themselves, especially in relation to Celesta's character.

Like I said, it's just a matter of strange personal taste. I don't really think there's a way you could have made it "better", and I definitely don't think it hurt the game at all, it's just something I'm kind of inherently disagreeable about. I'm just too much of a fan of classic RPG endings with character parades and touchy feely music and shit, hahaha.
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