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A fascinating saga of political intrigue.

The long abandoned saga of political intrigue by BadLuck has long since vanished form the pages of history and gone forgotten by the masses. And so I have come to correct this crime against humanity.




Princess Arielle’s fairy tale wedding to Duke Gage of Poriskova is interrupted when a pair of unruly thugs snatches her from the altar. But in a strange turn of events, it turns out that these two rogues are actually pretty decent people with (relatively) noble goals. The princess is then escorted to a temple where it is revealed that she is merely a pawn in a far greater political conspiracy than she can imagine. Aided by a (relatively) loyal band of (anti)heroes, Arielle embarks on a quest to save her homeland.

Balance 4/5:

The game’s balancing is superb, which is surprising for an RM2k3 game. Each character and their abilities are derived heavily from traditional D&D character classes, which considerable thought given to how those classes work in battle. Your fighter, gradually gains SP over the course of battle as he attacks and excels in dealing damage and protecting his allies, while your rogue’s SP recovers periodically throughout battle, allowing both characters to use all their abilities at will without fear of running out of SP, but preventing them from spamming their best moves each round. Your magical characters have very powerful abilities but a limited supply of SP, and they cannot cast spells forever, meaning you must give careful thought to using their abilities, and not just toss out nukes in every fight. It’s a very well thought-out system. Your characters also get a few other class based abilities, such as your rogue always gets the first strike in every battle.

Can you guess each character’s class? I knew you could!



An interesting addition to the system is that your party is arbitrarily limited to three PCs instead of the usual four. It is a somewhat odd restriction, but it changes the dynamic of battle having only three characters maximum in an interesting way and doesn’t hurt the game in anyway, and later in the game you’ll even gain some allies with some interesting abilities that capitalize on this design choice. My only real gripe with this system was that although you have a menu available to change your party at any time, this menu is arbitrarily restricted during dungeons, meaning you can only change members at save points. This felt unnecessary and made my reserve characters feel a lot more useless. I couldn’t think of any good reason why I couldn’t change my active party at any time.

You can have your characters learn and power up skills through the use of a skill tree that varies for each character. Unfortunately this tree feels somewhat limited since you are required to invest a large number of skill points before new skills become available, which greatly reduces the appeal of being able to learn skills in any order I like if it is limited to only three to four skills at a time. It lacks the appeal of other more open-ended skills systems, and isn’t as quite an awesome feature as it otherwise could have been. Though it is still nice.

The game was also miraculously grind-free, as frequent mini-bosses provided ample experience to keep my heroes prepared for the dangers ahead. My only other real complaint with the game was that the characters’ default attack animations took a little longer than I’d have liked, making battles feel slower than they needed to.

Level-Design 3.5/5:

Anyone who has played BadLuck’s other game, Ara Fell, knows the level of loving detail poured into his maps. This is no less true in this project. Town design is stunning and everything is vibrant, colorful, and pleasing to look at. Aesthetically-minded players and developers will love exploring this detailed world.
Dungeons are slightly less spectacular, each dungeon relies on the same mechanic of having to find keys to gain access to deeper areas of the level, with frequent mini-bosses along the way to provide challenge. While this mechanic works fine for a while, it starts to wear thin fairly quickly as each new dungeon requires you to start over with finding a handful of new keys in order to progress. Anyone who has ever played a Zelda game (which I presume entails 130% of the people reading this review) can attest to how frustrating it can be looking for a key sometimes in order to progress. At least this provides an excuse to explore and enjoy the wonderful maps.

The game suffers form a few passability and clipping issues, due to the size and nature of the sprites, but it is nothing too distracting and did not detract from the game too badly.

Characters 4.5/5:

So far, I’ve probably made the stars of this game sound like a generic D&D adventuring party filled with blank slate characters. Nothing could be further from the truth. The main cast of this game are a diverse bunch and are incredibly likeable. The characters have a great deal of chemistry and play off of each other very well, one of the great appeals of the game is watching the cast struggle not to murder each other.

Siren tells it like it is.



While the main character of the game is, ostensibly, Siren, the wise-cracking warrior, the plot has little to do with him (so far) and has everything to do with Princess Arielle, and she is the real star of the show. The conflicts and trials that she faces are the driving force of the narrative, while most of the other characters play support roles towards her, although they are all perfectly fine characters on their own merits as well.

Storyline 4.5/5:

Not only are the characters driving this story wonderful, but the world and setting itself manage to provide no shortage of entertainment as well. The story of politics, betrayal and intrigue is brilliantly-paced and builds tension flawlessly as it becomes clear that few of the people involved in the conspiracy are quite who they seem to be, and things continually take one turn for the worse after another.

The setting of this game comes alive in a way few settings in any RPG has ever done before. This world is not merely a blank slate upon which your characters happen to be doing things, but the world itself is in upheaval and you will see this firsthand in a way other projects have only failed to convey.

So awesome it doesn’t even all fit on the mini-map.



Music and Sound 4/5:

The music used throughout the game is very energetic and upbeat, light-hearted when appropriate and somber when it needs to be. BadLuck makes great use of ambient sound to greatly enhance the atmosphere of forests, cities, and other areas, making them feel all the more alive. It greatly enhances the experience in every way.

Overall 4/5:

This was truly a spectacular project and it is truly a shame that it was cancelled, as the story cut out right when things were starting to get good. Sadly my experience playing this game was marred by a number of bugs and crash errors that marred the experience, and the first dungeon of the game is not up to par with the others in the game which might discourage players from trying to get past it. However, if you can avoid these problems than this project is well worth the experience. Any RM2k3 developer must play this game and take many, many notes.

Posts

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WIP
I'm not comfortable with any idea that can't be expressed in the form of men's jewelry
11363
Definitely agree here. It pains my heart it wasn't finished.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
R3P was terrific, and the character to-be-introduced after the end the public release was pretty badass. Great game.
Ciel
an aristocrat of rpgmaker culture
243
This is one of those games I really like just as a video game not as a RM game.
Ciel
an aristocrat of rpgmaker culture
243
Badluck why do your games make me feel so good and breezy like it's 2004 and my life is still good instead of awful and dull >_<
"This is one of those games I really like just as a video game not as a RM game."
This. Most disappointing cancellation ever.
Great review, anyway.
Yeah, the fact that this game was canceled is a tragedy. One of my favorite RM games.

Just one review. A fantastic review, I might add.

This game had the best character interaction dialogue of any game I've ever seen in the medium of rpgs, indie or professional. Tales games being the closest.

I absolutely love Badluck's games.

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