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"Old-school" done right! They kept the best and ditched the rest!

  • null
  • 10/09/2016 03:39 AM
  • 958 views
For those of you that enjoyed any of the "Final Fantasy Adventure" (or SaGa) games, I'll keep it short - this is an improved and worthy addition to the series - definitely worth your time, give it a shot!

The rest of you, read on.

This game is an "old-school" RPG - a focus on challenging battles, (statistical) character development, and party customization.

Whenever something gets called "old-school", I take a considerable pause and reflect on some of the negative elements of "old-school": unbalanced difficulty, idiotic and nonsensical plot, maddening encounter rate, fetch quests, unfair puzzles, impossibly cheap bosses, and long slogs with sparse save points.

Nope, not here! The creators wisely left these "features" out, resulting in a polished and pain- (but not challenge-) free experience:

The centerpieces of this game are tactics and strategy: getting your party through the battles smoothly, and developing said party to work well together in the long run.

You have complete freedom to create four characters from four "classes" - human, mutant, robot, and monster.
The classes play and grow very differently.
Humans become stronger by stat-up potions and can equip up to 8 items.
Mutants grow based on their behavior in battle (and you get to choose one of two options each time they level). They can only equip 4 items, but can also learn 4 "abilities", everything from spells to elemental strengths to the ability to ambush enemies.
Robots are built out of the items everyone else equips, and their stats are directly determined by the parts they are made out of. A robot made of swords will hit really hard, while a robot made out of armor will be hard to scratch...
Monsters are literally copies of the enemies you face. They don't grow via battling, but have fixed stats and abilities. When you defeat enemies, they sometimes drop "meat" which lets you change your monster into another type.

Besides for class, there is a lot of diversity in equipment and stat build. In short, you have a lot of power to set up the party you want and make changes to your team, without feeling much micro-management pain thanks to a simple system.

For a game that is mostly battles, they are well done. The encounters are well planned and fights do not degenerate into cakewalks, nor are they frustratingly impossible. A fair challenge is maintained throughout. Tactical intelligence and planning are rewarded, and there are many possible strategies for building, growing, and equipping characters and parties. Dungeons are generally short and engaging, and saving can be done at any point, so the game is suitable for long or short play sessions.

There are no fetch quests or unfair puzzles, and the plot is serviceable. I was surprised by the quality of the program (it is a custom engine, and has an amazing amount of fidelity to the original games), and by the amount of content. The plot doesn't branch, but there are many optional locations to explore and the game may last around 5-10 hours or so.

The graphics and music are purposefully dated and stylized, but I really enjoyed them - they create an atmosphere and do their job well. The UI is pretty intuitive and painless, and bugs were pretty rare for me - I experienced one crash, and occasionally the music didn't load until I changed areas. You can occasionally feel a pause for Java's "stop the world" garbage collection, but it isn't a big deal.

If you are looking for a fun tactics-based game with a nice UI, and unique mechanics, you won't go wrong here!

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Glad you enjoyed the game, thanks for taking the time to write a review.
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