I’m a fan of RPG games and this is no surprise for anyone. Due to real world obligations and lack of time, this is one of the genres I’ve last played these last two generations. And when you ask me about a title I regret not playing, a few names come to my mind. And between them, Evoland. I always wanted to try Evoland series. They have been in my Steam Wishlist like forever. But as my notebook can barely run solitaire, I don’t use it for gaming and have never tried the game. So you can have an idea how happy I was when I received a review code not for one, but for both Evoland games in a package by the name of Evoland Legendary Edition!
For those unfamiliar with the series, Evoland is a role-playing game developed by French studio Shiro Games released for PCs in 2013 and ported to mobiles in 2015. It showcases the evolution of RPG games, from the monochromatic screens where you only could walk forward until Final Fantasy-like 3D battles from the PS One era. It was received with an (unfair IMO) average rating from the critics, scoring 61 on Metacritic. Its sequel,
What is Good?
- Visuals: Don’t you expect to see some Witcher 3-like graphics in these games. As mentioned above, they will take you through a trip through time, each one of the games with its own means. Evoland will take you from ancient times of monochromatic screens (aka Gameboy), introducing, sound, music, 8 bit colors, 16 bit colors, reaching the pre-rendered graphics of Final Fantasy VII (the original, not the one that will never come) while Evoland 2 will stick between 8-bit, 16-bit and 3D graphics like Alundra 2 or Threads of Fate (who remember these two?), But with improved details and definition. The transition between styles in both games work in different ways or different situations, but they are very faithful to what age they represent. Splendid!
- Audio: Another aspect in which Shiro Games did an amazing job! While the music in the first Evoland is timider than in Evoland 2 (remember that in the first title of takes some time for music to show up), they absolutely nailed it considering the whole package! The transition in styles of music between each age (from 8 bits to 16 bits and then 32 bits) is remarkable. In some areas where you must change eras constantly, the changes are made on the go and the transition is so smooth… They really made some magic here.
- Gameplay: Another aspect they brought from the past with a flourish! In Evoland, you will experience the gameplay of old school action RPGs like Zelda (being more specific, A Link to the Past), using sword, bow and arrow and bombs to fight enemies and solve puzzles, active time battle system of Final Fantasy like titles. In Evoland 2, the gameplay is more focused in Zelda like action, but it also brings to the table segments of Active time battle Final Fantasy like, turn strategy of Final Fantasy Tactics, shmup, brawlers… They even brought Street Fighter-like fighting to the game! There’s so much well-executed content that they could bring one game for each gender and they would still be great! But instead, they took a slice of each pie and created a world so vibrant, so different and, at the same time, so cohesive and well-constructed that any of these many elements don’t feel lost in the middle of the game, but instead well placed, well-hidden and waiting to be discovered!
- External references: The good humor of the developers is something you can almost touch in these games. The achievements in Evoland are all very good spirited, related to the evolution of games (something like welcoming you to the 16-bit era or thanking the speed of DVD players for shortening loading times). Although in Evoland 2 they didn’t use this same resource, they abused on external references. Both titles take great inspiration from other titles of the past and popular culture and you can expect a good number of direct references, Easter eggs or even some good cameos! Dragon Ball, for instance, can be found in some interesting moments (watching one of the bosses shouting Ka-me-hameha was hilarious! I was like ‘is he doing what I think he’s doing?’). Besides Dragon Ball, you will find references or even special guests from Zelda, Bomberman, Street Fighter, Double Dragon, Space Invaders and more. Even Cid, Biggs and Wedge, from every Final Fantasy game, make a special participation. I may have missed some not so obvious references, but I hope you can find them all
- Story: While the first Evoland was highly praised for its nostalgia, it was also very criticized because of its plot: too simple and not engaging at all. But I liked it. It’s as simple as the old games used to be (go there, defeat the evil, save the princess – or, in this case, avenge her) and fits perfectly the game. In Evoland 2 they clearly put a lot more effort on it, placing you as a time traveler who, for some mysterious reasons, finds himself traveling through time alongside his companions trying to avoid a great catastrophe. I won’t spoil things for you, but both the story and the characters were captivating!
- Duration: I never expect an RPG to be a short experience and neither I expected to finish the first Evoland in less than 8 hours. Its main story took me something between 5 and 6 send still farming for its last achievement (man, how I hate farming achievements!). The second one has much more content and shall take you some more time to complete it. Some of you may disagree with me about it, but I always want to get the most from my money and I consider myself satisfied with what we got in this package.
What is Bad?
- Crashes: Not everything was flowers with the game, unfortunately. Every now and then my game froze (sometimes while opening a chest, others after a minigame or battle… There wasn’t a particular reason or situation. Most of the times when it happened, going back to the home screen, closing the game and reopening it was enough. But in some cases, I had to hard reset the console to have it running again.
Evoland Legendary Edition [Score: 93/100] A good idea alone can’t help a game to succeed, even if this idea is as shining as the first Evoland. Although outstanding, there was something missing in the title. But Shiro Games heard the feedback in time for its sequel, a sequel that drinks from nostalgia but can survive on its own: Evoland 2 uses this nostalgia fountain wisely, fully integrating it to its plot and core mechanics. And now they publish Evoland Legendary Edition, a package with not one, but two of the most epic adventures I had the pleasure of playing. If you are an RPG player or just an old school enthusiast, like the one who writes to you, this package the yummiest package you can ever find! Enjoy!