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A Must-Play Interactive Story

- The storyline is excellent and presents serious conflicts and humor at appropriate times.
- The player's interaction with playable and non-player characters creates a rich atmosphere for a believable world.
- Voice acting enhances the dialogue with emotion.

- Some dungeon mechanics can be confusing.
- The combat system's random critical hits do too much damage.

Love and War: Act I is an engaging fantasy RPG layered with dramatic conflict, fantastic character development, and an abundance of humor.

The interactive style of storytelling utilized in LaW would exceed my expectations if it was a commercial RPG. Rather than directing you to your next destination, NPCs have personality and comedic value, and their dialogue varies at different stages in the storyline. While the story is technically linear with a few side quests, the depth of optional character and environment interactions gives an open-world feel to an otherwise story-driven gameplay.

Unimportant characters aside, the game's actual main characters are a mixed bag of unique personalities and JRPG cliches. The game's primary protagonist, Ryan, is a town school graduate wondering what to do with his life, and happens to be popular with the ladies. His best friends include a logical overachiever of academics and unambitious layabout with a quirky personality. Throughout the story, Ryan is followed around by a childhood friend whose unrequited love motivates her into remaining ever-present in his life and a rival who appears to irrationally dislike Ryan and has unknown motive. As the story progresses, character conflicts become apparent, and interaction between characters is rich and varied.

The actual story for LaW switches between serious and laid-back conflicts. The back-story and growing politic conflict in LaW is mostly to-the-point with little personality, and it becomes apparent that the game's storyline shines when the focus is brought back to the main cast of characters. Ryan takes a summer job working for his father's business, which inevitably leads him into hazardous scenarios he and his companions must overcome, such as saving towns from dangerous wildlife or corrupt politicians. While the pacing is slow in the beginning, Ryan's last quest in Act I bears a sense of urgency that captured my focus and persuaded me into staying up late so I could finish the game.

As far as gameplay goes, the questing and dungeon mechanics are a little rough around the edges. Jumping from cliff to cliff, or log to log, for example, is not a consistent mechanic, nor a well-explained one. The only times I found myself genuinely stuck in the game were when the jumping mechanic was reintroduced after periods it was not used in similar graphical situations. Another potential problem is that certain actions must occur in order while questing, although redoing certain actions is not necessarily intuitive. For example, I checked a drawer once and found nothing but clothes, then checked it again and found something among the clothes.

Despite these discrepancies, I appreciate the effort employed to create the dungeon and quest mechanics that are not always obvious, and many of the dungeons and quests were not confusing like these few examples. The difficulty of the game progressed appropriately, and new level designs and dungeon mechanics gave a sense of variety and innovation. Rather than crawling through repetitive area of random battles, I was required to solve new puzzles or overcome obstacles or mazes.

While I normally like turn-based combat systems, I found the system used in LaW to be too heavily influenced by random critical hits from both the playable characters and the enemies. By the end of the game, I found myself using healing items early and often in case a critical attack would deal me three times as much damage as a regular attack. Resources to buy said healing items were fairly limited, so saving and reloading could potentially become a reoccurring theme in LaW. Nonetheless, the high difficulty of the game was refreshing and ideal for gamers like myself, although grinding was mostly fruitless and potentially hampering for less experienced players.

While I don't put too much emphasis on graphics and sound myself, there was a lot of good variation used in LaW. Each town or dungeon has it's own atmosphere to it, and a lot of attention was given to small graphical details. The music, while not amazing, fit the mood for each area or scene. Furthermore, the voice acting really made the characters come to life in the more dramatic scenes, a feature I especially appreciated.

All in all, Love and War: Act I is an amazing experience for any RPG lover, and a must-play for the story.


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Thank you for the review! I'm happy that you seem to have enjoyed your time in the Kingdom of Galvenia. :)
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