I decided I’d take up the task of playing and telling you fine folks about the game Resonance of Fate, released by Tri Ace and Sega. I haven’t played one of their games since Vagrant Story so I wasn’t exactly sure what I’d be in for. I knew it was a JRPG and that doesn’t usually bother me, but this game didn’t set well with me. Perhaps it was me, perhaps it was the game, but we never got that close intimacy I have with other games from this genre.
Firstly, the cinematics are beautiful. I loved the look of the game from the start. I also just recently purchased an HDTV which made everything look amazing. Without revealing much about the story, Japanese game developers seem to really be on a Christianity kick again as of late. This has happened before and it will happen again. I’m not sure what really fascinates them with this, perhaps since it is something different, either way we get a lot of imagery followed by violence.
There’s a second opening sequence which appears to have nothing to do with the first. We see a city and a girl that is jumping to her death only to be “rescued” by what I can only assume is another character. It’s also really pretty but it’s left open ended and we move on to our story.
I’m going to list game play as something separate from combat because I feel that it needs to be expressed. The game play to this game really rubbed me the wrong way. You start off outside your house (or whatever it is) and someone stops you. He tells you some stuff in passing and then you really can’t do anything but do what he said, but yet he explained it all to you as if you already knew what was going on, he just wanted to make sure you knew. You get missions from a guild from another wonderful NPC that likes to “remind” you of how things work like hexes, and missions, and where you should probably go for the first mission- even though you knew that already, right?
I’m really trying to not complain but I don’t enjoy having a game “force” me to do certain things from the start. I know you might be confused if they don’t, but usually developers find a way to do this without leading you around like a lost pup.
As you play you’ll get to a world map which you unlock by collecting hexes and placing them on the map. I thought this was a good idea but at the rate in which I got hexes it got annoying quick. I’m sure I was probably doing something wrong because I was already angry at having to listen to NPCs babysit me. Similarly the ‘gun crafting’ feature is an interesting idea but something I thought was a little silly. Maybe I’m just not getting the full grasp of how it’s done, but I’m not putting a lot of time into it.
Let’s move on to combat, the bread and butter of the game. You use firearms in this game as opposed to swords and shields which is a nice change. I was interested to see how they would create a new combat system because if you’re using a firearm you don’t want to stand still. This is solved with movement during battle- very cool! There is even movement and shooting together. My first problem, however, was jumping into the game without doing the tutorial. I highly recommend you don’t do this. If you want to have any idea of how to do things well in this game, go to the tutorial. Do them all, and pay attention to what it wants you to do. You’ll learn about hero attacks, changing ammo, triple attacks, and so on. All very helpful skills that will make the game go much faster. It’s just not a game to pick up and play, and requires a big investment of time and energy.
The story so far has been entertaining to say the least, but I like JRPGs so I’m probably a little biased here. I will be honest, I haven’t quite finished the game yet so don’t take my review as a full scope of the game, and I’m not going to comment on anything in the story in particular because I’m not one that likes to give out spoilers. If you want to know what happens, play the game or look it up. Having said all this, I did feel that the overbearing NPCs and slightly nonsensical story did detract from the experience.
Overall I thought the execution was done well and it is full of new ideas. That being said I can’t seem to stay focused on the game. This isn’t to say it’s a bad game or anything of the sort. It probably speaks more of my age and lack of time to sit down and stare at a screen for countless hours doing the same thing over and over. Don’t let this deter you from playing this game. I actually encourage you to play this game if you have thought about trying it out, especially if you are a fan of the excellent Vagrant Story. It is a very interesting change on the standard JRPG idea and it is one worth taking note of.