Having recently come up with a new feature looking at imported games, what was to become of the Otaku reviews? Well for now this section will be used to take a look at games we may not have been able to review before or may have passed us by over the years. Currently have several PS3 JRPG games to take a look at, starting with this one that I recently returned to courtesy of PSNow. Lets see if it still holds up well enough.
An Emperor goes mad after hearing a prophecy of his demise and has his pregnant daughter murdered and executes his son himself, in an attempt to massacre his sons family & stop the prophecy from happening. The game begins with you playing as Areus, who’s father was executed while you escaped, when he’s older and fighting in the Arena to make himself more powerful to one day take on the Emperor.
Sounds good? Well lets just say nothing else of note happens for the rest of the first chapter which took me several hours to complete. The story picks up again from Chapter 2 onwards, but the huge lull beforehand is baffling. The quests you do and snippets of story you see during the opening chapter will do little to hold your intrigue from the opening cinematic, and you will feel your interest wane. I guarantee it. Its a bit of a missed opportunity for me as the opening cinematic was good enough to intrigue me for the story. If you’re still with the game by Chapter 2 then it does get more interesting thankfully. If you was to invest heavily into the game then it could last you up to about 50 hours, although if you don’t do much in the way of side quests n the like, you’re looking at no more than 20.
While there are parts to its engine that look quite good, notably the lighting that streams through cracks in cave walls and tree branches, most aspects can look a little sub-par. Character models are good, but texture work n the like can be a little ‘Ps2’ at times. I guess a good point to this is that the framerate is pretty solid. It rarely seems to drop down to a level that impacts the gameplay, keeping it relatively slick. There’s nothing that stands out on the game from a graphical standpoint though, Some of the boss characters can look quite detailed but it has distinctly average look to it. The canvas-painting effect that overlays the screen (mainly when standing stationary) does alleviate this issue somewhat and the art style helps to create an image that could pass for a European medieval painting.
The soundtrack, however, picks up some of the slack at times. The score is sweeping and dramatic when it needs to be, the music that kicks in when a boss character is defeated is suitably epic. It’s nothing new or surprising though for anyone who’s played a fair few dungeon crawling Western RPG’s, but it’s everything you could want in a fantasy game of this type. The voice acting, on the other hand, is far more sporadic as characters come and go in the plot cinematics that pop up every now and again.
The combat system on offer here is somewhat satisfying with Omega’s take on the action RPG genre. Combat is fast and frantic with multiple enemy types participating in the combat, At times NPC’s also join the fray. Your character can be switched freely during the battle with a press of the R2 button. Each character has their own style of play: Areus plays like a Mage, Dagda a Warrior and Selena an Assassin. When you are not controlling a character they are controlled by AI, so they are always taking part in the battles with you allowing for quicker hot-swapping. The ability to seamlessly switch characters during the real-time combat ensures that it remains frantic and allows for some tactical play.
The boss battles in this game are another strong point, each will need to have their weakness found to ensure victory and there’s break points to help on the way. Other aspects can be a little lacking. Quest structure doesn’t deviate from the few (fetch/protect/hunt) and the lack of dungeons (half a dozen at most) during the first chapter can make the game seem a tad repetitive. With the dungeons also being a tad linear, there is almost no exploring worthy of mention so the game fast becomes a constant barrage of quests. There is also no crafting whatsoever. There is no way to create your own equipment & Items, which further pushes you into doing constant quests to earn money to buy a particular item you like. The gameplay can get repetitive during those first few hours, but that’s mainly due to how the game itself is structured. The combat system may be enough to keep you coming back though as its an incredibly solid aspect of its gameplay.
Omega Force tries something a little different here with a WRPG inspired medieval look, a relatively quick paced action RPG and some typically JRPG mechanics chucked in for good measure. If you can persevere through some of the games aspects that are a little lacking, then you’ll find enough to enjoy that’ll keep you going till the end. Trinity Souls of Zill O’ll is something of a curiosity to me, melding both JRPG & WRPG into one package and almost pulling it off for fans of both genre to enjoy. Worth a try at the right price.