Alvastia Chronicles – Exe-Create brings us a new RPG in the form and style of the classic RPG’s we used to play when we were young. Recall the moments when you were running through the old-school Final Fantasy games, or discovering new secrets in games like Chrono Trigger. Think about the countless hours you spent trying to figure out which combination of skills and companions were suited best for your playstyle, or defeating that one stubborn boss that refused to lay its head down upon the ground. The sweat and anxiety of “did I stock up on healing potions?” pouring down your back when entering that final boss battle to suddenly remember. Oh shit, I didn’t save in like… forever! This is the feeling that Exe-Create tries to bring forth again, with their iteration of Alvastia Chronicles. But did they succeed? Did they do their best into delivering us a decent and robust RPG, or is this one to forget? Let’s find out in our review of Alvastia Chronicles! So, Adventurers take up thine backpack and load ‘m up with red apples, because we’re going to go RPG’ing!
What is Good?
- Combat System: Alvastia Chronicles ‘s combat system is one of those things that you can tell they put a bit of work in. First off, it’s fluid. Every animation is executed with precision and doesn’t feel like there are unnecessary frames to enhance an effect of a skill. Second the targeting system is easy to use. Everything is nicely defined and explained. You can sleep on both ears knowing that there are no time waster moments here!
- Multiple configurations: Your combat group exists out of 3 separate pieces. One in front, and 2 in the back. Each group contains 1 leader and 3 supporting characters. These 4 can be enhanced by a bond. A bond is unlocked when you gain a certain number of companions. After you gain a few decent companions you can start customizing your groups. You can have a healer group, a magic group, a warrior group, … The possibilities are almost endless though the learning curve as to what everything does and what synergizes? Takes quite a bit of getting used to.
- Visuals: If you ever played one of the old-school RPG’s, you’ll surely appreciate Alvastia Chronicles. It just screams retro and they did a damn well good job in recreating it. From the map that you traverse, all the way down to the animations of the models and the combat effects. Everything just meshes together, forming a perfect combination of old and new alike.
- Funny jabs: Where the story lacks a backbone, they did have time to put in some funny parts. Things that make you smile or giggle. The comedy surely is appreciated in this game and they do not shy away from this. I truly appreciated the occasional laugh! Heck, I wouldn’t of cared if the game was just that, a comedy game as they do have a cheeky sense of humour in here!
- Breaking the 4th wall: By god they really do like to tease that illusive 4th wall between game and reality. And good on them for trying to do so. You’ll have a few happenings in the game where they literally pause the game and start talking to you or about you, as the player. For instance, at one point they’ll ask you to use the “review us” button, which makes its return in this game. If you do not take on their question, great calamity would fall upon our said protagonists. Ofcourse, I did not want to do a review in-game, so I chose the latter option. Dooming them all by choosing NO. Hilarity ensued!
- Gacha System: I was utterly baffled when I suddenly saw this appear in a console game. Let’s first explain what a Gacha System is, if you do not know what it means. A Gacha System is basically a monetization system used by the developer to get people to spend money in their mobile game. Boiled down, this means that you are playing a lottery system. Why? Every time you play, you have a chance to win rare or exclusive loot. This can be gear or companions. Invest a bigger amount of money in one go, and you’ll have a higher chance % into drawing a rare item or companion. So, you’ll understand why I found this weird to be used in a console game. Rubbing it in even more that this is a basic carbon copy from the mobile version. You just don’t have to pay real money to play the Gacha system. Instead you use a special findable currency called ALP. And where can you find this? After winning a battle ofcourse! But no no, that’s not all. There’s also a secondary system, this one running on tickets! which you can also find after winning battles. Though this loot pool is not as expansive as the one running on ALP. Admittedly though, it did give a satisfactionary feeling the moment that I pulled an ultra-rare item out of the prize pool!
- Sound: I raised an eyebrow when I heard all of the game’s sounds and soundtrack. First thing I did was change the text speed from normal to instant. Holy crap the audio file used by the text scrolling over your screen sucks! I don’t know who did the quality control on that one but please, get that person a hearing aid. Other than that, the soundtrack itself could be called okay and pleasant, but no noteworthy songs were to be found or experienced.
- Story: To be fully honest I think they got this game’s story out of the Story Grabble basket. Why you ask? Because it’s bland and has been used countless of times before. A peaceful place suddenly under siege from demons. You play as a brother sworn to protect his sister after a demonic overlord killed said protagonists’ parents. Fast forward X amount of time, and time for revenge is upon them as they encounter the same demon in a forest all by themselves. Queue the traveling around the world finding clues and new allies to battle and defeat the demonic power that killed your parents. Yeah… Generic story to be honest that lacked, for me at least, the ability to pull me in.
- Complexity: For casual RPG fans this complex battle and combination system together with different bonds that boosts certain stats or chances, might be a bit too overwhelming. As most of its tutorial is thrown in your face at the start. On the other hand, for the die-hard RPG fans this will be a delight to find out which combination together with which bond churns out the most physical damage, healing and magical damage. And with more than 100 companions, you already know. There are hundreds upon hundreds of team combinations.
What is bad?
- Information overload: Like, get off of my back game. Djeez! The first 30 minutes you’ll be constantly bombarded with new mechanics and backstory about the main story.So much so, that you’ll have a hard time to be able to follow half of it sadly enough. It really blows its entire load in the first thirty minutes and slows down with information giving until the first hour mark. From that moment on, its occasional whenever you complete a quest.
- Backstory: If backstories are important to you, then you will not get your fill with this game. At all. There are +100 useable characters. And nearly none of them have a backstory and just stand there with next to nothing to tell you. It gave me the feeling that, if they’d cut more than half of the companions away, you wouldn’t even notice a difference as most of them are just throwaway NPC’s anyway. Reason for this is the fact that you won’t even use them because they are outclassed by a lot of other companions. More is not better in this case, as these companions are just empty shells with some skills attached to them.
Alvastia Chronicles – 67/100
Although Exe-Create does its best into delivering us a lengthy RPG, some of its elements didn’t feel like they were in the right place. Especially not for a console release. But I’ve got to be fair, though the Gacha system is a mobile monetisation system, it does give a satisfying feeling when you win one of the rarer unlocks. All in all, it’s a stable RPG that lacks a bit in the story department but has some satisfying combat systems in place that makes you forget the story. So, if you want to experience how it was playing a good old retro RPG? Then give this one a whirl! Now if you won’t mind, I’ve got some ALP to spend at the gacha store, be right back…