Star Ocean Universe

Resonance of Fate Review


Resonance of Fate is set in a distant future, where Earth itself has decayed to a point of been unlivable, as the land and water has polluted with dangerous toxins.

This caused a number of the human species to die out, while those that survived then created a gigantic mechanical structure which is embedded deep into the Earthís surface to purity the atmosphere in attempt to regulate the environment, this enormous structure is called Basel.

The remaining members of the human race clung to Basel in droves as a means to survival, over time life began to reassert itself as civilizations have developed right around Basel, controlled by the Cardinal.

As a result the human race has begun to forget its past, and even now Basel is starting to malfunction due to its high demand and usage.

Our story begins with two elements, watching Vashyron perform an assassination, with a man with a wide brim hat at his side. While a young lady appears in the skies, she appears to wish to die by her own decision. She jumps and Zephyr makes a heroic attempt to save her.

A year later the game begins at Vashyronís home, with Zephyr & Leanne. They work together as they perform a range of hunter duties, whether it be to assassinate someone, provide an escort, transport cargo, basically anything to make them some coin. Which in fact are known as Rubies in the game, not Fol like every other tri-Ace game before it.

You can roam around the town akin to movement in Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria. Only left and right movement is allowed as you navigate your way around any civilized areas. Itís relatively simple and easy to make your way around.

Unlike most RPGís you arenít restricted to the one character to run around with, and you can adjust their attire to several different outfits as well. If running around with the main character Vashyron seems to get old, switch to Zephyr, or Leanne. If their attire starts to feel stale, buy a new outfit at the Boutique, or change parts with those you have found. Any costume changes are effective everywhere as well, story scenes, battles also will adjust with the new clothing. Itís a very refreshing addition to the game which, one I toughly enjoyed.

While outside of towns you will see an overview of Baselís gigantic, cog ridden structure. This is how you will navigate between the various areas of the game. However due to Basel beginning to malfunction, movement between areas is becoming increasingly difficult; the power to the structure is weakening. As a result youíll need to accumulate several items known as ĎEnergy Hexesí to clear paths throughout the world to restore energy to the structure, allowing you to move to new areas.

You will at times be given some for your missions or find them as items, but most of the time youíll accumulate them via battles.

As you roam the world there are safe areas, known as Thoroughfare, while elsewhere there are a number of unsafe areas, such as closed roads, back alleys etc where battles may take place. In these areas battles will occur randomly, while if you stick to the thoroughfare areaís are much as possible you will be able to minimize the amount of random battles you face.

While in dungeons battles tend to occur once per area, any dungeon may contain 5-10 areas to navigate. Generally all of them contain enemies, while some of which may contain Bronze, Silver or Gold Boxes, which contain items for collection. Typically the Ďdeepestí one will contain an area boss, which is typically the end of most missions.

Battleís themselves are simplistically difficult, if that makes any sense. It will take you some time to come to understand all the elements of the battle system, and you will probably find yourself spending a good half an hour Ė or more at the training area of the nearby arena.

In battle, similar to Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria nothing happens unless you move, when you move, so do the opponents. So if things are getting tough remember to stand still and re-assess the situation.

The basic fundamentals revolve around the two different types of guns, Handgun & Machine Gun. A handgun, while generally much weaker in power is capable of Direct Damage, typically irreversible damage to the enemy, and necessary in order to defeat an enemy. While a machine gun, capable of much greater damage can inflict Scratch Damage. Itís a form of substitute damage which turns your health bar blue, gradually over time it will recover, and can also be restored with some healing functions.

The order of battles it to inflict Scratch Damage, then follow up with Direct Damage then completely removes the Scratch Damage and converts it to Direct Damage. In summary, attacks will the machine gun first, then the handgun, repeat. Guns will always have ammunition; you can fire at your heartís content and never worry about having to buy more rounds. Unless of course you decide to use more advanced rounds, which are consumable, but are capable of more damage and other bonuses.

You can also customize your weapons to your liking, if you prefer to have more rounds per shot, add a larger magazine case. If you want more accuracy, add an additional grip. If you want better charge speed, add more barrels and sight devices. There is a range of various parts you can add to your guns, use this efficiently to boost what are your strengths in battle to advance them further.

The next type of weapon available is Grenades; these like the Handgun can also perform Direct Damage. Depending on the type of Grenade can perform significantly more Direct Damage, and some of which can also cause potential status effects. Such as freezing which temporarily disallows movement. These two, like advanced magazine rounds are expendable, so use them efficiently.

I wonít go into every aspect in detail, as it would make this review potentially twice as long, but again Iíll repeat spend time at the arena to learn all of the different aspects of the battle system.

The most important of them to grasp however is Charging, and the Hero Gauge.

As you level up, your weapons are capable of charging. During your attacks once you reach one full charge you can unload a full magazine on your opponents, however if you allow your gun a little more time (Providing you have enough time left on your turn) you can charge your weapon further. For a handgun it gives you an increased chance to break the enemies HP gauge, while for machine guns it increases the direct damage you can deliver. Typically youíll try to charge your guns as much as you can each turn to maximize your damage potential.

While the Hero Gauge represents the number of hero actions you can perform, these allow you to move while attacking, and generally give you more time per turn as well Ė increasing your attack potential even more. By moving you can also close in on your target at a distance which can also aid in getting more shots per turn. The Hero Gauge also doubles in full scratch damage restoration.

Typically your characters will take scratch damage each time they are hit, if their scratch health hits zero, the Hero Gauge will then recover all of their hit points, at a rate of 1,000HP per Gauge point.

If you lose your entire Hero Gauge you fall into situation critical which is a dire situation where your characters will panic will move much slower, fire much slower and have no hero attacks available. It can quickly spell in game over if you cannot recover.

Therefore the key is keeping the Hero Gauge high, in order to do that keep in mind how to recover it. Every time you defeat an enemy, or even an enemy part you will recover one point to the gauge, you will also recover a point to the gauge if you reduce an enemies HP below a break point Ė this is where the handgun while weak in direct damage can still be valuable, not just for finishing opponents off.

By using hero attacks efficiently and restoring the hero gauge as much as possible during battle are the keys to success.

Summary:

Story: The story revolves around Basel and the Cardinal in charge within it, youíll perform duties for the Cardinal as the story progresses, while you also learn more about Basel and the Cardinal at the same time. Vashyron himself is quite a sarcastic and laid back guy, making some scenes quite entertaining. While other aspects of the story are at times ambiguous and really get you thinking. Definitely a little bit different with some attitude thrown in, I think itís just great overall. 9/10

Gameplay: While difficult to grasp, itís technically sound and very enjoyable. Itís well worth spending at least Ĺ an hour, if not more to really understand how it works. The Ďsemi-activeí nature and difficult of tough battles can really get you on the edge of your seat. Overall I find it to be a very entertaining battle system & challenging battle system, making it a real joy to play. 9/10

Graphics: One word, beautiful. Itís got Star Ocean: The Last Hope & Infinite Undiscovery covered in this department, so who needs Square Enix? I actually gave The Last Hope a 9 when I originally reviewed it, but have since knocked 0.5 off it after playing this, maybe deep down I prefer realism to fantasy? Who knows, but I believe this is even better. Resonance of Fate is one of the most beautifully detailed games on the Xbox 360. Even the shadows and reflections off the cogs throughout the world areas of Basel is superb, I was almost blinded by the exquisite reflection by to the sunís position at one stage, I honestly thought I was actually looking at a sun reflection and wanted to close the window. To get even the finer points like that down pat, while providing high quality, realistic scenes is fantastic to see. Typically the PS3 can produce even better detail, for that reason and that reason only I canít quite give it a 10, so. 9.5/10

Music/Sound: Yet again Motoi Sakuraba leads the composers, this time for a more action, western fuelled score. Really depicts some of the scenes and battles well. Some of which I thoroughly enjoyed. 9/10

Replay Factor: Once you start to understand it I believe youíll want to keep coming back to push further, even if the story itself hits difficult points there are many other areas to explore, sub missions to attempt and an arena to keep things rolling as you develop your characters further. For those that want to do it all over again, there is new game + option as well, allowing some carry over data and a tougher difficulty for hardcore gamers. 9/10

Final Thoughts: I believe itís one of the most enjoyable, unique RPG experiences out there. With a loosely linear story & many diversions to explore if you wish, while the story itself is fascinating with an excellent battle system and great detail all round. Itís entirely possible though that itís unique, western feel may turn away some fans of the genre, but not for me. Iíd certainly say itís one of the best games this gen at least.

Rating: 9.1/10

Opinion by Fayt. Review based on the English, 360 version.