Being an RPG fan, I typically have to put aside my favorite genre and tackle action/adventures, FPSs, and a myriad of other genres that get far more attention in the early days of any new hardware generation. I don’t mind doing this in the slightest but after a few years, I begin to pine for the new role-playing experiences. Thankfully, many are a-comin’ for the PlayStation 3 (the likes of Dragon Age: Origins , Demon’s Souls and Alpha Protocol will launch before 2009 is over), and another that has snagged my interest is Tri-Ace’s Resonance of Fate , which will be published by Sega and is also known as End of Eternity in Japan. We’ve already seen the introductory cinema – awfully pretty! – and a great gameplay video , so of course, we needed to pin down some concrete details and provide you with an interesting preview. We know you RPG buffs are lurking out there, and you’re well aware of Tri-Ace’s triumphs in the past; names like “Star Ocean” and "Valkyrie Profile” should ring a bell.
First of all, perhaps the developer is following in the old-fashioned footsteps of the original Wild ARMs in more than one way: obviously, this RPG is more about guns than swords, but also, it appears we’ll be taking control of three mercenaries right from the start. For those of you who remember the first Wild ARMs , you were introduced to three main characters at the beginning of the quest, and they would be with you throughout; no switching in and out of other party members. We’re not sure if this will be the case in Resonance , but we just wanted to make the observation. Anyway, those three characters are as follows: Zephyr, a young, mysterious man who can wield a firearm with the best of ‘em, Vashyron, a veteran gunfighter, and Reanbell, a shy girl who may utilize magic or other special abilities. It likely won’t surprise any who are familiar with this genre to learn that each character has a back story, and you’ll discover those details as you progress through the plot. But no giving away of any crucial storyline segments here…
Now, the combat: it’ll be quasi-real-time like most of Tri-Ace’s productions. But there’s one unique feature that strikes us immediately and reminds us of the battle in Eternal Sonata . See, the enemy won’t move until you move, which implements a certain amount of strategy and even instills a sense of tension into the combat. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, but in addition to this, you’ll also be able to “shatter” your foe’s health bar into smaller sections, which will therefore make the assailant easier to defeat. If you factor this into the bullet-time feature, which we’ve already heard about, than you’ve got one hell of a dynamic system that ought to be loaded with a continual flurry of entertainment. And as far as we can tell, this is indeed a fantasy world devoid of blades, as your entire arsenal will revolve around modern-day and/or futuristic firearms. Pistols, rifles, machine guns, shotguns and a variety of projectiles (grenades, Molotov Cocktails, etc.) will be at your disposal, and yes, combination attacks and skilled maneuvers will add to the overall spice.
As for the setting, it is “fantasy” but it could also be construed as a fictitious earth city, as you’ll only find humans (no Moogles here) and examples of impressive machinery and other technology. From what we’ve seen in the new media, most backdrops appear to have a stylized industrial-type flair, in that it may feel like a cross between current steampunk fashions and a straight-up sci-fi environment. The most intriguing aspect of the story is the “villain;” a “God-like” machine that, unknown to the peasants of that civilization, actually controls their actions and thoughts, and even dictates when they are born and when they die. The nobility is aware of this and for some reason, they don’t wish to do anything about it, so you may have to stare down the barrel of your gun at them, if you desire answers. Like most JRPGs, the game will clearly focus more on plot than so-called freedom, but you will be able to take on multiple side-quests as time goes on. Signing up for missions at the various Guild Halls in the city will grant you extra experience and more insight into the current predicament. This is a format that should come together and work smoothly; we certainly expect a nicely paced adventure.
Sega has said they want to cut down on the localization process for Resonance of Fate , so hopefully, American gamers won’t have to wait too long after it arrives in Japanese stores. The tentative release date for Japan is Q1 2010 while the North American date could be Q2 or Q3 2010, but we desire something more concrete than that. We’ll let you know when Sega or Tri-Ace is more forthcoming with exact dates.