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A Diamond in the Rough

(Intro)
I had the honor of being one of the first (if not the first) to play the finished version of this game. When it comes to RPG Maker, this is absolutely the most unique and compelling game I've played and I've been around the community for a good five years now. That said, let's move on with the actual review. . .

(Story & Writing) 5+/5
To get straight to the point, this is where the game really shines. In this game, it's not a story about heroes and villains and it's not about the flaky world-building or chats with boring NPCs - no, its strength lies in its ability to drive the story forward. Most RM games push their narratives with in-game cutscenes or storybook slideshows. In Vindictive Drive, the story segments feel a lot more like reading an intense comic or even watching a movie - the characters have very strong personalities and the writing itself does an amazing job of holding all of the pieces together - the synergy between all of these components creates a highly engaging, standout story-telling experience that you won't find in any other RPG Maker title: Honestly, this game deserves a high rating on these merits alone. It may start off a bit slow but when it picks up, it picks up hard.

(Gameplay) 3.5/5
The gameplay. . . has its ups and downs, I should say. Certain aspects, like the fact that you can't strafe, fire your pistol at point blank range, and the fact that the latter half of the game becomes a bit of a button mash-fest (less so depending on which helper bot you chose) don't exactly work in its favor. However, as it stands I think it's still definitely serviceable for this kind of game - because of the threat of a hasty death, it still forces you to be careful, think a little bit about your next action, and make use of your reaction speed to deal with enemies and security. Not to mention that you don't have to deal with the typical laborious grinding of most RPG Maker games that feature combat.

(Art & Music) 4/5
What you see is what you get, which has probably turned some people off. It's not high quality art for sure, but the way it's used speaks for itself - it does its job well, and is excellently utilized as locomotion for the game's story. The presentation, the animated cutscenes, the accompanying music, all of it fits together harmoniously. Any previous gripe about the visual quality I think would melt away after being immersed in the game world. Personally, I love the stylized art - it's a huge part of what gives the game its own identity. The music choices are spot on as well, remaining consistent and definitely helping to define the game's atmosphere.

(Conclusion) 5/5
To sum it up, I found Vindictive Drive to be a full, fleshed out experience, not just a combination of working parts. It's a wild ride from start to finish and it's one of the most satisfying games I've played in a very long time, and that's including other popularized indie and triple A titles. If you had any inclination to check this game out prior, let this be a very, VERY strong recommendation.

Posts

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Thank you so much for taking your time to review the game, and what a surprise! You gave me lots of tips and advice to improve this game after you played the Early Access version, and I feel it can still give more.
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