|[eM] eNCHANT arM
||[Nov. 30th, 2006|11:21 am]
I finished it. Impressions?
Graphics: Gorgeous in some locations, not so attractive in others. Certain places seemed very sparse, though one could argue that was intended by what they were -- deserts, etc. Overall, one major problem was that everything was shiny. Everything. Rock walls suddenly gained specular reflection like you wouldn't believe. However, there were spots where the graphics took your breath away, like the waterfall outside of Kyoto City.
Battle System: Innovative, with a surprising amount of depth to it. You start every battle with full life and EP (which are used to do any action, not just magic). The points that go down with time are your Vitality Points, the maximum value of which varies by character. Atsuma, the main character, comes in at around 100, the most I know of in the game. The Blood Fencer comes in at 35, and most of the human characters hover around 70. You can recover Vitality Points by going to recovery points. You lose them by being hit, being killed on the field, or taking a turn. The best course in a battle is to blow everything you have to try and kill the enemies before they get a chance to attack you.
However, the strategy is extreme. Everything is determined. The amount of damage you do is determined by the PP of the attack, modified by your appropriate skill. This is the amount of damage you do, period. There is no defense. You can't evade or block. This number is clearly displayed when you are perusing your attacks, so you can calculate to the inch whether you will kill the enemy or not. There are elemental affinities, which do modify the damage. If the enemy is of the same element as the attack, the damage inflicted by the attack is halved. If the enemy is of opposing element, the damage is doubled. Also, there is the 'cover', technique, which affects 'Direct' style attacks. If an enemy is behind one enemy, damage is halved. If an enemy is behind two enemies, damage is eliminated. Of course, all of this applies to your characters as well. You can view the enemies' stats, so you can tell what they can do to you, but, of course, you don't know what the computer will do when its turn comes. The positive effects of combo damage are the only things where the information on exactly how much damage you do is not put directly in front of you.
The only unfortunate thing is that, while the combat system can be fun to someone in the appropriate mood, the frequency of random encounters can be frustrating. There is an auto option, but I didn't use it much.
Story: For all the problems it had, I was satisfied with it in the end. Overall, the story moving techniques were heavy handed and somewhat repetitive. I felt that there was too much time spent getting from point A to point B, travelling over the same land. There are functionally no means of teleporting anywhere in the game. Some of the plot points felt like filler. The characters were often stereotyped.
Yet, somehow, I actually grew to like them in the end. And the story, while predictable, was frankly satisfying in a way I feel a lot of RPGs have missed in the frenzy of unrelated plot twists in the end. They were trying to tell a story with a theme. The story began with a goal, and it ended providing the answer that the goal implied. You didn't start out trying to steal something and end up saving the world.
Honestly, I wouldn't have finished this game if I weren't an obsessive completionist. But I'm very glad I did. I'm not sure I'd fully recommend the 70 hour slog to someone who has a lot of better things to do, but if you have a 360 and are feeling willing to put in the time to get to the chewy center, well, I liked it. And that's about all I can say.