Astonishia Story review
The RPG that doesn't do much at all

The good:

Squishing mice

The bad:

Character development


I purchased Astonishia Story well after it was released. I managed to pick it up for a bargain price with plans to play it while I was working out in the desert for a month. Was it the most amazing gaming experience of my life? Not even close. Did it pass time? Yes (even though it was short). This is the kind of game I would only play if I had no other options (which I didn't). This is an RPG that doesn't do much at all.

I'll start with the plot. The main character, Lloyd, is a loyal knight who only lives to serve his country. At the start of the game, an important item is stolen and Lloyd decides that he is going to be a hero and recover it. On the way, he meets several companions who help him on his quest. The end. No, really. That's basically all there is to the plot. It may seem like I'm skipping some major plot points, but I didn't leave much out at all. The game is too short to develop much of a plot anyway. I did everything there was to do and spent a few hours leveling, and it only took me 18 hours. If you want a story that will captivate you, full of twists and turns, love and betrayal, then don't even think of playing this. The story is certainly one of the games weakest points.

The characters don't get much better. There are 8 main characters who join and leave your party throughout the game. None of them have any depth whatsoever. Take the main character, Lloyd, for example. All we know is that he's a knight who is overly loyal to his king, and he has a thing for Ylenne (the main female character). That's all we learn about him in the entire game. This is the complexity of every main character in the game. When you play Astonishia Story, you will not form a connection with the characters, or even care if they die. Already, Astonishia Story has failed at the two most important aspects of an RPG. How could it do any worse?

An answer off the top of my mind is the translation. The item that Lloyd is trying to recover is spelt one way in the game, and a completely different way on the back of the game cover. Also, one of his moves 'Triple Strike' is spelt 'Tripple' when he initiates the move. There is absolutely no excuse for these mistakes in a professional video game.

We'll get into game play now. This is probably the strongest point of the game. It's a lot like SRPGs where there's a grid, and your characters can move a certain amount of spaces based on their stats. They can either attack, use items or special skills and magic. One thing that really hurts the game play is the magic range system. Each offensive spell can either hit one single enemy, or span over multiple squares on the grid, and hit multiple enemies. The problem is that you don't know the range of the spell until you hit 'X'. At this point, if it's a multiple hitting spell, a box will come up showing which enemies will be hurt. If it's a single hitting spell it will just attack the enemy. This is frustrating if you're trying out new spells and you want one that hits multiple enemies. You're screwed if you choose a single hitting spell because it will automatically initiate without warning you that it will only hit one enemy.

There's also an elemental system thrown into the mix. Each character and offensive attack has a certain element and these elements have strengths and weaknesses which dictate how much damage is done. This is a nice little addition as it often requires you to think about which characters should be doing what in each battle. All up, the battle system isn't bad. The fights are challenging enough and some of the bosses will certainly make you think about what you're doing, particularly the final boss who has an insanely strong special move capable of wiping everyone out in one hit.

The sound is also not too bad. Each town and dungeon has a unique track which is suiting. Some tracks were actually really catchy and I would find myself lingering in town just to listen to them longer. The theme song played at the end wasn't anything special. The ending was weak, so the theme song at the end just reinforced this dull moment. The sound is nothing out of the ordinary, but it certainly isn't as bad as certain other named aspects of the game.

I'll conclude the review here. The story is terrible. The characters and terrible. The game is way too short. The battle system has its flaws, but does a decent job by RPG standards. The music is also acceptable. All in all, it's a game that will do nothing more than pass a short amount of time. Buy it if there's no other alternatives out there, otherwise get something that offers more.

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