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Inspired visuals with uninspired gameplay.

One of the more famous RPG Maker projects of our day, if my sources are to be believed; today we look at Beloved Rapture, an Rm2k3 project which has enthralled many with its captivating mapping.

Like any great game, Beloved Rapture begins with a cryptic and ambiguous introduction sequence that had no relevance to anything in the demo. After a short tutorial scene we are then introduced to John, a perfectly ordinary teen whose birthday is right around the corner. He enjoys hanging around with his cool best friend, helping his single mom around the house, and is otherwise perfectly content with his idyllic life, not having a care in the world about the troubles beyond it. This by the book generic RPG set-up is completely shattered when John’s long lost father actually shows up on his doorstep in the first ten minutes, but then is quickly righted again when his father reveals himself to be evil incarnate and butchers John’s entire village for….reasons. John is understandably pretty shaken by this, but he is rescued from his angst by Omega, a caring shrine keeper with a mission of his own, who encourages him not to give up on life.

Also, there’s a princess involved, apparently.

Balance 3/5:

Combat was extremely average in this game, but fortunately it doesn’t oblige you to spend a whole lot of time fighting, instead letting you spend your time enjoying the scenery. There were very few obligatory encounters, and as near as I could tell, no forced grinding. Each character begins with a fair assortment of skills, giving you a number of options of what to do right away instead of starting the game with a sword and one skill to spam. Mostly, however, combat in this game actually seemed important for once since your characters aren’t getting into fights every twelve seconds. Finally, the last boss of the demo I played was a guy riding a dragon, and that’s just awesome.

Level Design 3.5/5:

This game is often cited for its beautiful and remarkable mapping, but I personally had a few issues with it. That’s not to say it isn’t pretty; it is. But the function of the maps was lacking in some respects. When the game first begins you are given a helpful intro/tutorial that teaches you the basic function of most mapping elements. Among these elements introduced are the ability to push rocks, and the ability to jump over gaps. However, the problem is this; the game world is filled with rocks, and only a very select few of them are “pushable.” But there is no way to discern which rocks are “pushable” and which aren’t. They all look the same, making it hard to discern a rock you need to push from a rock that is just scenery. It seems completely arbitrary. Similarly, you can jump over gaps, but only very specific gaps. I suspected that any gaps of similar sizes could be traversed, but only very specific ones could be hopped over, leading to a frustrating lack of consistency. You should either be able to jump all gaps of proper size, or clearly mark where and when you are allowed to jump. Similarly, rocks that can be pushed should be made to stand out more.

Characters 2.5/5:

The characters are competently written, but they tend to be dragged down by their stark genericness. The spunky princess who protects her people and doesn’t take any crap stopped being fresh and original fifteen years ago. The characters generally lack any sorts of interesting lines or flair, almost giving the sense that they are just going through the motions and waiting for the plot to resolve itself. The only vaguely interesting character was Omega, a loving, messiah-like figure, which is interesting because this character archetype is usually reserved exclusively for female characters.

Also, protip: Don’t have one of your villains steal a line from a famous character in a famous game, and then use that line in the exact same context while said character’s famous theme song is playing. Do not then proceed to have your same villain then imitate another extremely famous scene from another extremely famous game fifteen minutes later. There’s derivative and there’s plagiarism.

Storyline 3/5:

The standard array of fairy tale and fantasy tropes are out here in full force, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I sort of got the sense as the game went on that it was attempting a somewhat darker, more mature telling of an otherwise very traditional fantasy epic. There is nothing fresh or original here, but the presentation keeps it form being utterly boring tripe.

Music and Sound 3/5:

When I recognize the very first song you use in the game, it’s usually a bad sign. A few songs are drawn from incredibly well-known, near ubiquitous sources, and even use these songs in the exact same situations as they were used in their original games, such as the scenario I detailed above. Most of the rest of the songs were at least adequate, a few, however, were actually quite epic.

Overall 3/5:

If you’ve been paying attention to my scores so far, you’ll have deduced that I thought this game was extremely average. It has a few high points, offset by a few weak points. It’s battles have some flash and some amazing animations but are nothing spectacular, and its storyline is unlikely to impress anyone who has played any jRPG from the nineties. Ultimately it will likely fall to the game’s visuals to redeem it in the future. Time will tell.

Posts

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It's unfortunate that you chose to review the year-and-a-half old version of the game when the newer iteration is so very near release, but I appreciate the contribution anyhow. It was an insightful review. =]
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18062
I actually had downloaded this game a year ago but only got around to playing it recently. But I would certainly be willing to play and review the newer version as well.
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