Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Asdivine Cross Review (Nintendo 3DS)

Written by: Patrick Orquia


Title: Asdivine Cross
Publisher: KEMCO
Developer: Exe Create Inc.
Genre: RPG
Release Date: July 13, 2017
No. of Players: 1 player
Price: $9.99
Platform: Nintendo 3DS



A couple of months ago, I reviewed the game Dragon Sinker, developed by Exe Create Inc. and published by KEMCO. I enjoyed playing that game. And now, I got my hands on Asdivine Cross for the Nintendo 3DS, also coming from the same teams. Like Dragon Sinker, this game is also a port of a game that was originally released for iOS and Android a few years back, sharing the same game and battle mechanics. It’s like Exe Create just used the same template to create this game, they just changed the story and the graphical style. Not that it’s a bad thing. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right?

Speaking of story, in the game you play as Harvey, a member of a band of outlaws called the Watchers, who, at the beginning of the game, gets imprisoned for thievery. He finds himself in a castle dungeon, and meets Amelia, also imprisoned for allegedly impersonating the princess of the castle. Amelia says she is the real princess, and as Harvey escapes, he doesn’t want to leave behind Amelia, even if he doubts the things she says. After escaping, the two find themselves off to a great adventure, and with the help of other cast of characters such as Amelia’s sister Lucile and the priestess Olivia whom they meet along the way to join their party, they set to unravel the mysteries that could save the land of Asdivine from impending peril.




The story isn’t really that much to like, it’s just there to let the characters travel from one area to the next, fighting enemies along the way, like a typical RPG from the 90s. It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey, as the old saying goes. And in this game, the journey is quite a ride.

The game doesn’t provide lengthy tutorials. The player is given instructions to different game mechanics once as they are encountered or unlocked, with the option to have them repeated as many times as needed, but they are not really that complex. Since this is on 3DS, the touch screen provides easy access to these game options and the world/dungeon map, with a dedicated button to open the said options and one to save the game (you can save anywhere in the game). And like Dragon Sinker, everything is laid out to the player: where to go (highlighted on the map), what to do, whom to talk to, etc. I think since this is originally released on mobile phones, the game has been streamlined for people who are always on the go and don’t spend much time in exploring on their own. So having removed that element from the game, much of its length come in the form of exploring vast dungeons and caves. Again, everything is already laid down on the map, including hidden rooms, and what the player needs to do is move from one point to the next and battling random enemies. The encounter rate with these enemies can be adjusted, from just half the normal rate to double it. If the player wants to level up fast without having to go in circles to grind, a double rate of enemy encounters will more than suffice. Every third battle earns the player ACPs, or Asdivine Cross Points, again, similar to Dragon Sinker, where it is called DSP (Dragon Sinker Points) on that game, but still serves the same purpose: to buy special items and equipment that can be accessed via the game menu.




There are some unique game mechanics that is in this game and not in Dragon Sinker. The first of these is the Trust Charge Gauge, which can be used for limit break attacks or party buffing moves when full. This Trust Charge Gauge gets increased per move of the player’s characters and then when it’s already full, it can be used either for multiple hit attacks on all of the enemies of the screen (Harvey), heal the entire party (Amelia), steal from enemies (Lucile), or inflict debuffs on all enemies (Olivia). After use, the Trust Meter gets fully drained and then it has to be filled again in the next battles. The Trust Charge Gauge also gets drained when a character dies in battle. Another unique game mechanic is the ability of each of the characters to level up not just their own character levels, but also their magical attributes: Void for Harvey, Light for Amelia, and Shadow for Oilvia; Lucile doesn’t have one, but she has her own unique skill: she can learn any attack or buffing/debuffing move done to her, like attacks from enemies or healing skills from her teammates. As these magical attributes level up, new moves/attacks get unlocked. Each of the characters, except Lucile, can also learn the other characters’ magical attributes and level them up if they wear the respective magical jewels. The third unique game mechanic is the ability to upgrade weapons and to attach bonus effects, such additional HP/MP, ability to induce paralysis and other negative status effects, etc. To upgrade weapons, other weapons must be absorbed by the base weapon. As the weapons get upgraded, they become more powerful with more attack points and higher bonus effects. With this game mechanic, the weapon of a particular character needs not to be upgraded with another one bought from shops or found in dungeons like in other RPGs.




Overall, Asdivine Cross, though a bit more into the generic side in terms of story and battle mechanics, is one good game. It tries to provide a Final Fantasy vibe in how it looks and sounds (the victory fanfare sounds very similar to that in Final Fantasy games) but also does enough to still somehow stand on its own merit. This game will not be hailed as one of the best RPGs of all time for sure, but if you want a good RPG without having to spend a lot of money, this is a good choice.



REPLAY VALUE: Medium



PROS:
  • Good visuals, soundtrack, battle mechanics, character customization, and leveling up system
  • Good variety of enemies
  • 20+ hours of gameplay
  • Provides a good Final Fantasy vibe while still doing enough to stand on its own merit
  • The dual screens of the 3DS is put into good use: the lower touch screen constantly shows the game map and dungeon maps (very helpful while in dungeons, as the map is already shown complete right on the get go, which shows all possible paths that can be tackled) along with other options that are readily available to the player
  • Everything is already laid down to the player in terms of what to do next and where to explore on the map, perfect for people who are always on the go and just plays in short bursts

CONS:
  • Not in stereoscopic 3D
  • Most of the character and background graphics are pre-rendered
  • Not much character development for any of the characters
  • Dialogue is not streamlined, resulting to hundreds of lines of texts that the player has to endure (there is no option to skip them)
  • Dungeon design is a bit uninspired, with lots of meandering yet linear paths that only serve to pad the game


 RATING: 3.5/5 overkill attacks