Flame of Recca: Final Burning

The only thing burning is the hole this game left in my wallet


The Lowdown

Pros: The animated graphic scenes look good and there is a story mode
Cons: Utterly boring and ridiculous gameplay, unresponsive controls

Purchase at Play-Asia
There was a lot of options that Konami could have explored when the obtained the Flame of Recca license. They could have made an action RPG, an adventure game, heck even a fighting game, all of which could fit the license. When the game was announced Konami called it "interactive anime" game, which drew attention to it even though Konami never explain what an interactive anime game is. That should have been the first red flag for gamers.

Lets start with the good. Flame of Recca: Final Burning draws a lot from the anime series. There is a story mode that allows you to play through the series, but has a couple of points where the player can choose which path they want to go on. If you play through the story mode you'll be treated to full voiceovers for the game. Completing the story mode unlocks new characters, for a total roster of 22 characters. The graphics in this game are fairly decent too. They're not technically amazing, but do feature artwork similar to the animated series. When the characters attack you see a full out anime sequence for the attacks.

One of the first problems with the game is you see the same attacks and animations over and over again. Each character has a total of twelve different attacks, but only a few are actually useful. The gameplay is set up in a split screen battle where your character is on one side and the enemy is on the other. Attacking your enemy is sort of like playing a real time RPG. Pressing circle or X brings up a new menu where you can press a directional button to select an attack. When you fill up your power meter you can do an elemental attack by pressing triangle. Once you select your attack your half of the screen plays the fighting animation and the other side of the screen shows you're opponents reaction. When you're getting attacked you can press the square button to attempt blocking or dodging the attack. You have to time your block to the frames of animation on your opponent's side, but Konami made the time when you're supposed to hit square so illogical. For instance there is one character that attacks with a bow and arrow. The animation shows him pulling an arrow back, getting ready to attack and then it shows the arrow coming towards his side of the screen. Intuitively, you would think to press square as you see the arrow approaching towards the screen, but that isn't a successful block. Instead you need to block when he's drawing the arrow back just before he releases it.

Figuring out block timing is about the only skill to learn from this game. When you play against the computer it blocks randomly, so there is no reason to use less powerful attacks unless you're sick of seeing the same animation. The only time you need to switch up attacks is when you play against another person to throw off their block timing. Speaking of playing with a friend, the two player mode is stupid. It might be cool to dish out familiar attacks if you've been following the series, but all you're doing is selecting attacks. You're not fighting, you're not trying out your hard worked gameplay ability and worse of all you're most likely not having fun while doing it.

I'm still trying to figure out what Konami's goal was in making an "interactive anime" because it's as interactive as a DVD menu. Even if the concept didn't work where was Konami's quality control staff to can this project? Just because this game somehow made it on Konami's assembly line there is no reason for anyone, even fans of the series to buy it.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 3

The story sequences are in Japanese and have complementing Japanese voiceovers. Even selecting which attack you use requires you to know Japanese, although you can still play through the game selecting random attacks.

US Bound?

Even if it was released in the US there wouldn't be much audience for it until the series is released here.

Overall

Flame of Recca: Final Burning is boring to play as a game and boring to watch as an interactive anime.