8.6

Resonance of Fate review
Fate consumes all

Summary:



Fate brings up closer.
Resonance Of Fate is one of those games that slips under the radar because of bigger games. In this case, Final Fantasy 13 overshadows the hell out of this one. Now, I can’t see how that is – Yes, Resonance Of Fate’s storyline doesn’t really progress until the halfway point, and even so, there isn’t as much depth to it as you would expect. However, what it has is an excellent, excellent battle system and challenge just enough to keep players engaged... practically from the get go. In short, Resonance Of Fate is a very good game you should buy.

That’s okay, take your time.
The story revolves around a world practically poisoned and on the verge of destruction by pollution. Survivors take refuge in the Tower of Basel. Unfortunately, even that is starting to fall, and the machine that once supported life is now turning them into monsters. Rather than some tale of a valiant hero out to destroy the evil, it’s centered around three people working as Hunters, hired guns willing to kill monsters for a few bucks.

Now, if you don’t like this premise, you better make sure you’re here for the gameplay (this IS a Tri-Ace game, and we all they won’t settle for a generic battle system), because up until the halfway point, it doesn’t progress. What you’re focused on is the characters, and you’d be surprised at how awesome their personalities are. If you’re a fan of tongue-in-cheek dialogue, immature humor (not to the level of Family Guy, but eh) and wacky situations, you’ll really enjoy these characters, because it’s all delivered on a level that will keep you thoroughly entertained until the story starts to progress.



Purification by the elements.
In order to progress around the world, you’ll need to purify the surrounding areas. When you destroy monsters or complete story events, you’ll earn an Energy Hex, which can purify an area it’s placed on. It’s a nice little touch, making you feel that you probably should go and do some sidequests and other stuff so you can explore the rest of the world. Even though sidequests are often fetch quests that take more time than they probably need to, eh, it’s still worth it, just to get a piece of the rest of the world. You may also open up certain terminals scattered across the map. By connecting them to dungeons via colored hexes you gain their bonus effects while in those dungeons. It's adds a nice strategic element to exploring and building the overworld. There’s a fair amount to do outside of battle, really.



Bang bang!
When you see that Tri-Ace logo on the front cover, you know you’ll be in for a pretty damn good battle system (or, if anything else, something different from the norm). In this case, it’s three people with guns and grenades, killing whatever stands in their way.

If you don’t take the tutorial, things may get hectic, as you scramble to learn how it all works. Oh, you’ll figure it out, and hopefully, before you get too frustrated. Of course, this is in relation to the more complicated aspects – the simple ones, like moving around and firing shouldn’t be too hard, especially if you’ve played Valkyria Chronicles, as the basics here work a lot like combat does for there. The major difference is that Resonance Of Fate is much more intense, with flips, rolls, running, and pretty much anything The Matrix did, only not in slow motion.

There is more to the battle system than just running and gunning, and they involve the Hero Gauge and Resonance Points. The Hero Gauge will lose a mark when you activate a Hero Action, and you’ll be invulnerable to damage while in this mode. It also sets you across a linear path, allowing you to pull off Matrix styled maneuvers while shooting enemies down. There is a drawback – activate this mode too much, and you’ll destroy the Gauge, which will prevent future usage for the rest of the battle, and it’ll severely lower the amount of actions you can do in combat. Amongst that, all three members of the party will take more damage than normal. It makes for a fairly good risk/reward system, making you have to think of when to use it, and when not to, especially since if even one character dies, it’s game over, so if you’ve got a character low on health, you really need to make sure not to make them more vulnerable. Want to restore it? Kill some enemies.

As for Resonance Points, if you perform a Hero Action that crosses between the line of sights of the other two fighters, you’ll gain a Resonance Point, and that’s all you’ll need for a Tri-Attack, which involves switching positions while attacking. The more points you get, the bigger the attack is, though as easily as you can gain them, you can also lose them – if you perform an action other than crossing between the other two fighters, you’ll lose all of your points. More of that risk/reward stuff, which really forces you to strategize, to plan ahead. The need to perform big, bombastic attacks is very tempting, but there’s more temptation in not accumulating the points, so... yeah, just plan ahead, and you’ll be fine.

Argh so hard!
Now, you’ve probably heard that this game requires a lot of grinding, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever done too much grinding here... at least, not on the default difficulty setting, anyway. You’d probably have to do a fair amount on the higher levels, but on the default level (which is medium), eh, it’s not as big as what IGN and all them would say. Yeah, there’s some involved, but it’s not just for statistics; it’s also to figure out what strategies and what combinations to use for your guns against the next boss.

But yeah, this is a pretty tough game. With a battle system like this, I expected nothing less than challenging enemies. You really need to take the time to adapt to the battle system, because this is one of those games that will leave you behind if you fail to adapt, and it’s fairly tricky to get the hang of. There are often a few roadblocks like enemies that are just plain tougher than you, and even one wrong move can completely alter the tide of battle, so you should think ahead. If you can, well, congrats, because this game was made for you.

Not to worry, for the game understands that it can be difficult at times. Therefore, every battle can be restarted - for a very small fee - and allow the player another chance rather than have to walk back through an entire dungeon again. You're also able to Suspend the game anywhere on the world map or in dungeons, so long as you are not in a battle. This will create a temporary save which you can load next time and pick up right where you left off. This is such a simple thing to include in a game... I wonder why more games like this aren't doing it. Being able to put the game down almost anywhere and any time I want shows that the developers are thinking ahead.



Not a looker in the crow-- ooh, there’s one!
It may be no Final Fantasy 13, but Resonance Of Fate still looks solid. It has its moments of beauty, like the character models and their wardrobes (which you can buy new clothes for them at some stores, and it makes for a nice little touch, too), but given the circumstances of the environment, expect to look at a lot of depressing colors. The textures are also not up to high quality standards, but they are by no means terrible. Manageable is a good way to sum them up.

Your ears will love you later on for this.
The soundtrack is an absolute treat for your ears. It’s an excellent blend of jazz and hard rock, and it manages to reflect the setting effectively. Some of the softer moments are orchestrated by a slow tempo bass which emphasizes the serenity of it, while battles are often accompanied by hard hitting fast sounds which seem intelligent enough to distinguish when you're in real time and when you're performing a Hero Action.

Now here’s something you probably wouldn’t hear every day – A+ quality voice acting... for an English dub of a JRPG! Who knew such a thing could exist? Of course, when you got the guys behind Lloyd Irving from Tales Of Symphonia and Nathan Drake from the two Uncharted games, alongside a background character from Kingdom Hearts 2 that managed some stellar voice acting herself are the ones behind the voices of the three main characters, you know you’re in for a treat. It all manages to compliment the dialogue very well, and definitely carries excellent chemistry between each other. If nothing else, it emphasizes what your typical JRPG English voice acting probably usually doesn’t. I have nothing against a decent amount of the voice acting from those games, but I always keep thinking they’re just a group of misfits who don’t really get along, that they’re just in for the ride, which is something you never feel in this game, and for good reason – if you did, you’d probably switch off!

Resonate some hype for this game!
Resonance Of Fate is definitely something not worth ignoring, especially since it actually tops Final Fantasy 13... at least in this reviewer’s opinion. Fast and intense combat requiring some heavy duty thinking. If you’re one to try out new things, you should give this a shot. Actually, everybody should give this a shot, even those of you who don’t normally like JRPGs, because this strays a fair bit from the norms. Excellent characters, excellent battle system... Story could probably use a little work, but meh, that’s the only real problem, if anything.


Stats:
Story: 7/10
It has its moments, but it takes quite some time to really progress. The characters are the main highlight, providing some humorous bits and whatnot.
Gameplay: 9/10
Oh boy, what a learning curve. Once you adapt, you’ll really enjoy the battle system, as it’s definitely the highlight of the game. Unlocking parts of the world is often motivation enough to do some somewhat tedious sidequests.
Controls: 10/10
Tight, responsive, etc etc
Graphics: 7/10
Mixed feelings here. The wardrobes and character models look excellent, but the world map and dungeons look very “meh”.
Sound: 10/10
The soundtrack is varied and damn awesome to listen to. The voice acting manages to breathe a lot of life into a decent storyline.

Overall: 8.5/10

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ParanahJoe Oct 14, 10
Excellent review, I agree on all fronts. I wish there was a bit more depth in the story, but with the amount of polish this game has, I tend to excuse it.
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Hell Fire Feb 20, 11
Looking for a new RPG. Just read the 2 user reviews and I'm sold. Cheers.
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