No post yesterday, because from 11am till 1am I was working on a marathon session of RPG gaming for the first time since I moved.
When my brother and I got our first Sega Mega drive, I was initially interested, and then more or less gave it to my brother. Sometimes I would watch him play games, but I found the multiple controls daunting so never bothered myself.
Then, in my early teens, my brother borrowed a copy of Final Fantasy 7 for the PC from a friend. Compared to some things I’d watched him play it looked fairly simple, just started up my own game. Within 3 months he’d abandoned it and I was logging up hours after school every evening. Ended up going into Electronics’ Boutique (ah, showing my age) to obtain the recently released Final Fantasy 9 as well as anything that looked relatively interesting of the same vein. Course before the PS2, that was a tall order.
In the era of the Playstation and PS2, I was an avid gamer – specifically RPG’s. I got my own PS2 which helped my brother and me when it came to custody, and worked my way through most of the greats. Final Fantasy, Shadow Hearts, Wild Arms, Grandia…as well as a few non-RPG’s that won me over (a little treasure called Beyond Good and Evil immediately springs to mind). However, when the PS3 came into play, I more or less fell into gaming retirement. Between the price of it, the sheer lack of time I had to play games that took 60-80 hours to complete, and my own schedule, there were just other things I could do. However, last year, I finally got a PS3 after a small windfall, and could start making my way through all the games my friends had been going on and on and on about. First up was Heavy Rain – a masterpiece with some sadly huge plot holes, but otherwise incredible. After that – Resonance of Fate.
This took me back. With my hectic schedule I only really got to play one day a week – Saturday. And this was one of those ‘need to chalk up a lot of hours’ sort of games. I’d been playing it on and off for nearly 6 months. Took me 2 moves to finish, and haven’t played since I came here. This Easter weekend, figured I’d finally tick it off the list so I could start something new, and devoted myself to a hardcore gaming weekend.
Friday was all about getting to the final boss dungeon. Today I spent levelling up so I could actually beat the guy. The one thing I’ve always hated about final bosses is they’re always too hard to beat if you’ve just been following for the story. But I succeeded, and now I can put Resonance of Fate away and look at starting something else.
So what did I think of it? Well, the game is set in the far future, where the last of humanity are living in this fantastically unique looking city-tower-thing called Basel. The very wealthy live up high in the clouds in the part known as Chandelier, while the floors at ground level (and indeed below ground level) get darker and poorer as you go. The story follows 3 characters who work as ‘Hunters’ – essentially mercenaries for hire. The game is set out in 16 chapters, all with a story based mission, and makes sure you can get anywhere the game doesn’t want you to go by setting out the levels with these strange grids. Different colours will unlock certain areas – and naturally you can only get certain colours when you reach certain chapters.
Its battle system is pretty unique too. It’s a turn based system (my favourite type of all), but also gives you the ability to use tri-attacks where all characters attack in the same turn, and the hero gauge which allows you to run (and jump) across the room to hit your target. You end up spending A LOT of time in the area avoiding hits or getting weak points
What I loved most about it however, were the characters. Vashyron – the old pro, Zephyr – a young brooding bad boy who may or may not be psychopathic, and Leanne – the young and perky female, who thankfully becomes a lot less annoying as the story unfolds. All 3 of them were well developed, realistic characters with interesting back stories and were at home in the game’s setting. By the end of the game I honestly couldn’t tell you who my favourite was because I’d bonded with all 3 of them so well. It’s rare to get so attached to all of the characters in a game to that level (though it didn’t hurt the game also had a wardrobe option where you could buy clothes and dress them up however you wanted).
Sadly, the game’s main failing is a big one. The plot. Don’t get me wrong – it’s actually a very good plot. Definitely one of the more interesting one’s involving religion (a big RPG favourite if I’m honest), but the way its unravelled isn’t particularly well thought it. To put it simply, each chapter has a story mission that involves the characters – these are done chronologically. But each chapter also gets an additional scene involving the cities Cardinals…and these aren’t. So if you’re not paying attention (or really good at remembering what people say), you’re not going to be able to put it together without help. Just to make it that little bit harder? All of the non-playable characters will give you plot and back-story information…but what they say changes with time and chapter. If you don’t catch them the first time, that information is gone forever – and there’s a lot of NPC’s running around. By the end, I had to look up a plot synopsis just to make everything fit in context.
Despite this though? I’d play it again in a heartbeat. The characters and their story is just so replayable that I can overlook the main plots issues. It’s also refreshing to play a game where the fate of the world doesn’t hang in the balance of your characters – ROF isn’t about changing the world, but about 3 people just trying to find meaning and live their lives. That’s rare, and something I wouldn’t mind seeing more often.