Just a week after the long-awaited Final Fantasy XIII was released for the PS3 and Xbox 360, Tri-Ace and Sega released their own RPG, Resonance of Fate, so it isn’t surprising that many people drew comparisons between the two games. On Famitsu, the game scored a great 9/8/9/8, slightly less than but on par with FFXIII, and the scores from Western review sites are around the same as for the other game –- at low 80s, high 70s.
Like Final Fantasy XIII, the game was both praised and criticized by many for the same factors, the greatest pro, as well as the greatest con, has been cited to be the battle system. One of the complaints most often heard is that the battle, while not too complex, has a frighteningly steep learning curve. A reviewer stated that it felt like an endless cycle, where he would feel like the worst gamer on the planet, and then he’d figure out the enemy’s weakness and then kick its butt, making him feel like the hottest player to grace the turn of the century, and then a new enemy would come along and he’d feel like dirt again. The battles also give low EXP, and they’re long, which makes grinding something of a hassle. With all this said and done, many reviewers don’t hesitate to point out that battling is fun once you get the hang of it, so grinding may not be such a problem after all.
Outside of battles, though, there were yet more points of debate. A major turnoff for most reviewers was that the dungeons and “overworld” map (which is actually a gigantic tower called Basel) were extremely repetitive and not detailed at all. This was, however, offset by the fact that actually unlocking the map was fun – kind of like a puzzle mini-game. Customization worked like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle too, with players adding different parts to guns (one person compared the addition of scopes and other such accessories to that in Resident Evil 4). Some found the process of piecing guns together to your desire engaging, while others felt that it too much time whenever you had to change a gun every time you purchase a new one or venture to a new area. One particularly reviewer complained about how there was no direct stat change comparison for the parts you’re using, something that has been a staple for RPGs for a long time now.
As for characters and story, reviewers all agreed that they were “typical of JRPGs,” although they have both have their own quirks. That being said, the script has quite character in and of itself – one that some appreciated, finding the mix of serious and funny refreshing, and others scoffed at, arguing that the humor may be laying it on a bit thick at times.
There were no strong overall opinions on sound and music.
The average score for this game on Amazon.jp is a 4.1, which is approximately equal to the Famitsu score it was given.
Overall, Japanese reviewers liked the story, which was different and unique, as well as the characters, whom they found charming (and the voicing by several famous voice actors from the realm of anime helped matters quite a bit – a few names being Ken Narita, Koyasu Takehito, Keiji Fujiwara, and Ai Orikasa). They found the characterization satisfying and engaging and found themselves worried about the fate of the characters through the story without even realizing it. In fact, one of the complaints was that the battles were what were holding the story back because they took so much time.
Like in the Western reviews, most of the praises as well as the complaints were directed at the battle system. They liked that the battle system required you to strategize every move you made, but on the flip side, this also meant that every battle, including the normal, common enemy battle took a long time. One reviewer pointed out that he felt the game was unbalanced. The encounter rate was low, as was the amount of EXP gained per battle (as mentioned earlier in one of the Western reviews), so a while in, and you find yourself facing Lvl 40 bosses with Lvl 10 characters (or at least, he did). Also, if you die in battle, it’s possible to restart the battle after paying a fee; however, this reviewer found himself stuck fighting the same enemies over and over again – he couldn’t defeat the opponent, but he couldn’t just restart because it had been a long time since his last save.
As stated in the Western reviews as well, the battles were extremely complex – there are formations, order of attack, which attacks, types of damage, timing, movement patterns, etc. to keep track of – and one Japanese reviewer complained that this was all told to you in onscreen text. Several pages of it. (On that note, another person noted that this manual was easily accessible when you restart a battle.) That being said, this led to a very harsh learning curve, since all of the information in the manual was necessary, right from the very first battle. In fact, some players found themselves spending so much time buying battle-related items and equipment that they couldn’t enjoy the part they wanted to most – customizing their characters. However, once the players understood the battle system, they all found the battles incredibly engaging and one of the highlights of the game.
In Resonance of Fate, the ingame movies show changes to the characters’ costumes that you make, adding your own touch to the unfolding cutscenes (I can imagine that not all the changes that can be made will be appropriate for the situation). This made players in Japan happy, since it let them feel like they personalized the game a bit. One player felt it was the thoughtful details like that, and how NPC dialogues would change for each chapter with story development, that made the game special. The customization and these small details were points that the Western reviews didn’t touch upon at all.
With no further ado, here is a sample of reviews from Amazon.jp. These were taken from both the PS3 and Xbox360 versions of the game.
Both Your Reaction Time, and Your Love for Fun (5 stars)
It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game that relies so much on reaction. If you don’t think while you fight, you can’t win. You can’t go on. Off the bat, I can’t suggest this game to those who aren’t good with battle strategy.
However, if you manage to understand it, you won’t find a battle system in another game that would give you as much exhilaration or a sense of accomplishment as this one.
A boss that had me stuck for 20 minutes took only 3 after I retried just with a different strategy and equipment (or bullets).
The fact that the enemies appear on the world map so that you can avoid most of them if you want to is a considerate setup. If you want to raise your level, go fight. You can also earn spending money and finish quests when you want to.
On a side note, once you enter a dungeon, you can’t access the equipment menu anymore, so you have to put thought into your preparations before you set off for battles.
As for the scenario, bloody plots have been in fashion for RPGs in recent years, which makes this game feel all the more like a heartwarming development about the everyday lives of the characters… The more I got into it, the more I wanted to see – that’s what kind of story it turned into.
When you change chapters, the lines of the people in town are all completely changed. I give a standing ovation to the care given such that we’re allowed to feel the everyday change of even the ordinary townspeople.
And behind all of this daily life, a great wave is coming, about to sweep through the dark, bloody world.
(By the way, I wonder if the existence of “quartz” was created with a certain game’s “crystals” in mind? laughs)
Starting with the protagonist, all the characters are abnormally unique and charming. I can’t help but laugh at the perfect human relationships, especially the boy Zephyr’s fleeting love, Vashryon who coolly watches over this, and Leanne who doesn’t notice it at all (laughs)
Equipment that doesn’t affect your stats at all are more than just extras; somehow, it’s moving to see that the coordination I come up with are reflected in all the movies.
Also, I felt that the circle of voice actors was extremely gorgeous. Even to me, who am not into anime, there were a lot of times where I went, “Oh, I’ve heard him/her before.”
One point to note. After the opening movie where you first start up the game (the battle between Vashyron and the mysterious boy), the title screen comes up for you to press the Start button to begin the game, but if you wait a while, another movie will start playing.
While playing after watching that, you won’t have to go “The Pope…? Roen-sama? What’s Sullivan doing?!” (laughs)
Review as a Female Player (5 stars)
So many reviews said it was so hard, so I was really hesitant, but in the end I bought it, and I’m glad I did ★ It’s true that the battles are tough. But if you properly learn how to fight at the arena or if you just press the restart button, you can open the manual at any time so figure it out as you’re check over it as many times as you want (^O^)
The greatness of this game is the battle system and battle strategy … the abundance of costumes (It’s amazing that they’re even shown in the movies) … the gorgeous voice-acting … the love comedy that’s serious, yet hilarious… If I list them, there’d be no end to it ★ Out of the characters, I liked Zephyr the best, but Leanne grew on me (‘Д`) The characters are so well-rounded, they’re really interesting (^-^) I’m begging you, make a sequel!
A Product That’s Extremely Hard and Not for Everyone (4 stars)
My impressions from playing the first part.
No matter what’s said and done, the battles are hard. On top of the fact that there’s so much to remember, there’s also the geography, the movement routes, order of attack, timing, deciding when to stay back and when to continue attacking, etc. that you have to keep track of.
At any rate, what you base your decisions off of is complicated. It’s enough to drive new gamers away. However, the level is very doable as a gamer. Those used to gaming or better may be able to go right through it. The exhilaration, level of strategy, and the amazing unique battle system are all great pluses for the game.
The visuals feel like they’re a bit coarse when compared with FF’s latest installment. However, it’s still better than the norm. You can feel the ambition in the game when the usual cutscenes all show the costume changes. However, there are a lot of temporary characters. There are also some creatures that are physiologically repulsive-looking. The three protagonists are all idiosyncratic, yet personable people …was the feeling I got as I was playing the game.
The story is dark and gives a walled-in feeling; it’s unique and amazing that way. If you say that normal for RPGs is chasing down an easy-to-understand route in a linear path, then this game would be hard to handle and difficult to understand.
The humor that starts coming up halfway through the beginning is excellent. Normally, I’d burst out laughing. I’m in awe whenever these realist characters say something unexpected. I laugh and am enjoying myself, and the next moment I’m worried. It’s a story that you really sink into.
Those who don’t feel drawn in to the world, the control you have or the characters will probably feel irritation, I think. It might be difficult for those who don’t have the patience or level of thinking necessary to continue playing and enjoy this game. The gaming aspects, and the unique aspects are those you definitely won’t find in any other game.
From playing the Xbox version, I was surprised at the short loading time. Even the arcade version’s box said that you can play without minding the loading time.
Overall impressions: It’s a great game, an ambitious game, and as a masterpiece it gets my seal of approval. However, I can’t suggest it to everyone.
The Battle is too Complicated (3 stars)
Seriously, I couldn’t do anything but suffer at first. You can learn how to fight at somewhere called the arena … but to finish everything there takes a lot of time. The reason is there’s too much to remember. There’s Resonance Attack, Direct Damage, Scratch Damage, Multiple Charge, Invisible Action, IS Gauge, HP Crack… My head’s about to explode!!
On top of that, looking at the status screen is difficult. There’s the IS Gauge, Resonance Point, total HP, and partial HP left. When these are all displayed squashed together, there’s no way they’d be easy to understand.
Moving around on the world map is done in a novel way. When I first went out into the world map, I was mostly confused. Well, it is my fault for not reading the manual first.
In this manner, grasping the beginning was the worst for me. Honestly, I wanted to just sell it and get it away from me. But it’s hard to say. As I got used to it, I found it pretty interesting. As I understood the complicated battle system, I came to feel the breadth of the whole thing. The characters and story weren’t that bad either. Actually, I kind of liked them.
I’ll acknowledge that this is a novel game. In terms of battle, this is a system that I’ve never seen in any other game. However, in the end, it’s easy for novel games which have never been seen before to appear strange. There have been countless games that have been sold up until now, so it’s something that can’t be helped.
Personally, I found the game interesting, and I’d like to suggest it. However, before I praise it, I’ll warn you. Those who don’t read the manual before playing the game are better off not playing this.
Hmm… (2 stars)
For a recent game, the graphics are low quality, I think. The BGM is as Tri-Ace’s have been – average.
The highly acclaimed battle system can’t be used without a headache. If your attacks can be Charge, then so can the enemy’s. The enemy’s attacks don’t always hit; if they’re close-range, you can dodge them. Your attacks also aren’t a guaranteed hit since your shots may scatter. You can’t see what your weapon’s customizations do immediately. In reality, it’s different for every character.
Your Lv don’t rise at all. This is because the encounter rate is so low. I think it’s impossible to go on with the story without going on hunts. I’m at the second boss (I’m at Lv10, while the opponent’s at Lv40)? Which took an hour of hard battling. Also, each battle takes a long time.
If you get a game over, you can revive by paying money (depending on where you are in the game, the cost increases). You don’t revive before the battle, so if you haven’t saved recently, you’ll have to keep on trying to fight until you win… You’re not given the same EXP in the end; it’s based off your attacks on the enemies. That’s why it’s possible for the EXP to be biased towards one person. On a side note, your raise in level will influence your skill with various weapons, so just using one (HG, SM, GL) will be hard, I think.
(Still haven’t finished) I finished the prologue, which I was most interested in, with a “?” which got me kind of annoyed. When I try to move the story forward, the enemies are too strong so I can’t go forward at all and my level doesn’t increase at all.
Gathering equipment also needs money from enemies, so usage of items is harsh. Of course, I don’t have the freedom to go buying clothes either. There’s no map in the city, so I have no idea where I am. I was very excited after playing the trial version and bought this, but I am disappointed.
Maybe it’s because I don’t usually play RPGs. Enchant Arm was interesting. Right now, I don’t have the “I wanna play it!” feeling. Maybe I should wait for reviews before buying my next game, tohoho…
Feelings After Playing 60 Hours (1 star)
This is a bad game for people who work. At any rate, one battle took an hour. In the beginning, customizing your gun doesn’t make any big changes, and if you don’t level up, you will only do a little damage to the enemy. One time when I couldn’t use Resonance Attack, I almost beat the enemy by drawing the battle out, but then I was killed in one shot by status effects. I threw the controller after that… It’s not good for the body when work gives you stress and then games give you stress on top of that.
I think it’s possible for people with lots of time on their hands who can take their time to train may be able to play the game, but this isn’t a game that those without such freedom can enjoy. I’m debating whether to play all the way through to the end.