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It's not all there, but it succeeds in what it does.

  • Neophyte
  • 06/20/2008 10:41 PM
  • 400 views
Yet another demo release of a game that's been on the edge with many people who follow it. Beloved Rapture is a game that is focused heavily on story and character development, not to mention pretty graphics. But does it hold up as well as it looks? For those who haven't played this game, you may be surprised.

---Story---
This is the main focus of the game, so if this doesn't hold up, the game is pretty much going to fall to its knees.
With that being said, Beloved Rapture does a good job at storytelling. John is the protagonist of the game. He's a young guy that lives on a plantation far from the cities. He starts off as a pretty good character overall, though there are some issues I have with him. He isn't that believable of a character for one. It's his birthday, and he's all depressed over how everyone is giving him tons of attention and how he just wants to be alone. It doesn't make sense, we have no backstory on him at this point, and the first thing Blindmind throws at the player is this character who doesn't like attention and wants to be alone. Later on in the game though, he's hyped for trying to rescue his friend and fight tons of evil guys, even after the "everything goes wrong" scene. It's like trying to make a character evolve from a 20 hour long game evolve in 1-2 hours.

Another issue with this game are the villains, pretty much every one of them. Draco, the main villain of the game has pretty bad character development. He leaves his lover for some Aeons who we know nothing about? It would have been better if there was some type of emotional struggle before he just succumbs to these guys who we know nothing about. How does he have this huge army of demons? How did he become the leader of the group? Maybe I missed these things while playing, but it's just weird how he's all of a sudden this huge villain that we should all care about.

One last thing I want to touch on is the overall pacing of the storyline. It actually progresses very well, and it's definitely an improvement over the last demo. You get control of a few different characters in the game, each with their own story. Things jump around a little too much, but the scenes aren't too long that they make you forget the other characters in the game.

By the way, I really didn't like how in some parts of the game the character would have a walking speed of a slug. It shouldn't take 20 seconds for a character to walk 10 tiles.

Though I still have trouble keeping up with the story, what's there is very good. Each character has their own goal, and the pacing is definitely improved. The dialogue is more believable, though some characters are definitely more developed than others. Overall, it's a story that can keep you playing, even with the lack of gameplay.

---Graphics and Presentation---
Beloved Rapture is a beautiful game. Really. This is probably where the game shines the most. The amount of effort that has gone into the areas in this game are really stunning. There really is no denying that this is one of the most beautiful RM games that's ever been released. The music fits each scene perfectly, and definitely adds a lot of atmosphere to the overall game. Most of the music is from games that most won't even recognize. The sound effects in each area are beautiful as well. This probably is the most improved aspect of the game.

Not everything is perfect, though. There are some issues with some of the graphics. My main gripe is the use of the Suikoden tiles. They definitely fit in more this time around, but it still feels like they're inferior compared to the quality of some of the other maps. The game isn't consistently beautiful either, but most of the time you won't notice until you look back at some of the other areas in the game. One thing that could definitely use improving though are the character sets and animations. The battle characters are VERY stiff, and the attack animations look pretty bad. There are also some character sets that aren't the same quality as some of the others, but it's only a small issue.
The city of Alexandria really annoyed me, though. It really is a beautiful city, but the amount of character sets running around on those maps is ridiculous. They hinder the experience overall rather than trying to make the city come to life. I would cut the amount of NPCs in there by about half(they don't say anything important anyway).

I really can't express how good this game looks, though. The towns and cities, the interiors, everything looks gorgeous. It really brings the game to life. The character animations are not quite up to par, but they do a good enough job.

---Gameplay/Design---
This is definitely the weakest point of the game. There are some major issues with the gameplay in Beloved Rapture. The problem isn't with the actual amount of gameplay, but the gameplay ITSELF.

This game pretty much throws every gameplay idea out the window and leaves you with nothing. Nothing matters in the game, it feels like there is no PRIZE for fighting. You probably level up once in the entire game, and there is no significant upgrades to the characters in order to make them stronger. There's no base system in the game. It feels like there are battles just for the sake of there being battles. I'll try and break it down so everyone can understand.

Almost every RPG has some type of gameplay mechanic going for it. Even games like Dragon Quest and Pokemon do. Beloved Rapture doesn't have anything, though. In Dragon Quest, you get stronger by simply leveling up and learning new spells. In some of the games you have classes where each class learns skills specifically for them. This game has nothing, though. You don't level up, you don't learn new spells, and you don't get new equipment. There is nothing to reward the player for going through the dungeons except a few "MP UPs" and earrings, so they feel like they're tacked on for the sake of taking up time. Instead, this game throws every skill possible at you at once. What's the point of the dungeons if you already have all the skills in the game? I'm going really out there, but even games like The Way(which relies heavily on story) has some sort of progression in terms of gameplay. This game can't be in the middle here, and right now it is.

The good thing is that none of those issues make the game impossible. You can get through the game and not fight a single enemy, but that makes the whole thing even worse. There are areas in the game(which are quite large) that are made SPECIFICALLY for gameplay. The problem is what I just said earlier, and the fact that there are probably only 3 types of enemies in the game(snakes, wolfs, and demons). The design of some of the areas just don't make sense, and some are too large for their own good. Each area could easily be cut down in size by about half. Usually there's an excess amound of space that shouldn't be there. If it doesn't help with the gameplay, then those areas shouldn't exist. They just take up space.

All negative things aside, the gameplay in Beloved Rapture is just enough to make you keep going. Some of the bosses are challenging which is good, and sometimes they're even enjoyable. If there was a solid mechanic for this game to base itself around, it would be significantly better in this area.

---OVERALL/THOUGHTS---
If you've never played Beloved Rapture before, you really should. Despite what some would say, it's a game that does exactly what Blindmind wants it to do. If you've played the game before, you still might want to check it out because of the huge overhaul of the graphics and story development. This game isn't for those looking for a quick gameplay fix, though. The main issues with it still remain, and some dungeons feel tacked on. The game does what it needs to do though, which is to tell a story. The game has definitely succeeded one way or another in that aspect.