Graphics:
7.3
Gameplay:
8.6
Sound:
7.9
Control:
8.3
Replay Value:
8.5
Overall Rating:
8.2
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Sega
Developer:
Tri-Ace
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
RPG
Release Date:
March 16, 2010


When I first heard about the concepts behind Resonance of Fate , I was excited and skeptical at the same time. The excitement was due to the difference in style; the modernized take on the standard role-playing adventure that once boasted swords and staffs and now features hi-tech weaponry. The skepticism resulted from the following sentiment: “that combat mechanic just sounds totally crazy.” Now, after playing for quite some time and finally getting a chance to wrap my mind around the intricate, challenging, turn-based/real-time hybrid system that is battling in Resonance of Fate , I’ve come to the conclusion that my skepticism was well-founded, but even so, pushing through the difficulty can be intensely rewarding. And while I’ve always been partial to the old-fashioned settings in RPGs – not so into the sci-fi environments – the highly stylized atmosphere in Tri-Ace’s latest effort is quite appealing. In the end, provided you’ve got the patience, this one is definitely worthwhile.

The graphics are an interesting mix of awesome choreography – both in the CGI and the Hero movements in combat – and a somewhat disappointing assembly of bland, stark, even fuzzy environmental design. As you might expect, the world of the distant future is inundated with fancy machinery and given the precarious situation of humanity, the adventure should certainly be painted in dark, gritty brushstrokes. But this is a little too harsh; the cold browns and grays dominate just about every area and sadly, there isn’t much diversity. In fact, I’d say the atmosphere is downright depressing and unappealing in some respects. However, that being said, the solid character detail, the aforementioned cinematography and choreography (which is almost always kick-ass), and the imaginative creation of some exotic enemies makes the game leap off the screen at certain times. If you can handle the somber look, you’ll have a blast watching the sparks fly when bullets start to rip up the battlefield.

The sound suffers from spotty voice acting and a lack of combat music variety, but at least the soundtrack works very well and the English voiceover work can actually excel in certain story scenes. The sound effects are crisp and in-your-face, which is perfect for a game that relies heavily on the intensity of battles; the comments made by your characters and the enemies are even quite welcome. The spice and flavor of the combat, thanks in part to the sound, drives this game forward. There’s also an appreciated slickness and professionalism to the music composition, which effectively accompanies our questing without lagging or letting us down. I just wanted a few more tracks for some of the battles. While the boss encounters might greet you with something new, you likely will hear the same ol’ same ol’ during your mission pursuits and random encounters. But much like the graphics, the good outweighs the bad and the positive result leaves us with a very cool – and fitting – presentation.

The first two cut-scenes in Resonance of Fate , one featuring a super-hot battle between two gun-toting dudes and the other including a young woman apparently leaping to her death, set the tone for your perilous adventure. The developers do a great job of intermingling genuine, silly humor with the ceaseless, crackling intensity that encompasses the gunplay. One minute, you might be laughing at some bizarre character antics and the next, your palms will be sweating as you desperately attempt to stay alive versus the more intimidating foes. Granted, some of the story sequences are a bit more painful than comical or engaging and the storyline isn’t quite fleshed out enough, but the intrigue generated by the gameplay should grab you. The only question is whether or not you’re willing to invest the time and patience into understanding the complex combat mechanic within. It’s never easy and the learning curve is a bit too steep even for hardened role-playing veterans, but perhaps you’re up for it.

There are random encounters along with dungeon areas where you must clear out each area while pressing forward. Once combat has been initiated, the throwdown begins and suddenly, you’re facing one of the more demanding combat systems you’ve ever experienced. You can move your characters about in real-time and this movement is absolutely crucial to your ultimate success. The closer you are to enemies, the faster you will charge an attack but of course, you’re tossing yourself into harm’s way as well. Furthermore, you’ll want to keep a close eye on how you position each of your characters; this positioning could result in a special Tri-Attack that rains death on your foes from above. In the meantime, your best friend will be the Hero maneuvers, that lets you run in a line, avoiding enemy fire while nailing the target as many times as your action bar will allow. You can leap into the air with the Square button (firing from above will hit the main body and random body parts), press X to attack once your Charge meter is full, and select special Tools (like health items and grenades).

But really, that’s only the beginning. There are objects in the field, too, like bunkers to hide behind and explosive crates. There’s the careful allotment of oh, about a half-dozen different meters and statistics that will either destroy your enemies or leave you cowering and shaking in the midst of a hail of bullets. Now, you do have time to plan your attack before combat begins but once you start, your opponents will fill their own Charge gauges and attack at will, so you had best be precise and decisive. A lot of depth typically makes the experience that much more involving and rewarding if the system is entirely turn-based, but when things are happening in real-time (even if it’s quasi-real-time), you tend to get frustrated. You have to watch so many things, and it can be ridiculously annoying to lose an entire turn without executing a single action just because you got pelted with bullets and moved around a bit. You’ll learn as you go, but there’s virtually no hand-holding going on, so you really have to feel your way.

I’m not a huge fan of hand-holding tutorials but in this case, I really could’ve used some help early on. I very nearly had to stop more than a few times, just because the frustration – caused by nothing more than random encounters – was beginning to mount very quickly. And in fact, if I didn’t have to do this review, I may not have continued. But I buckled down and read that combat manual very carefully, and then just kept fighting until I finally started to get a handle on the fighting. This has caused two things to happen after many hours of playing: 1. I’m still learning new stuff, and 2. if you don’t grind, you may be sh** out of luck if you advance the story too quickly. Perhaps in a nod to old-school RPGs, grinding is almost a necessity; not only to power-up your characters but also so you can learn more and more about the intricate battle system. I’ve never really had a problem with grinding so this doesn’t bother me at all but I know some find it irritating, so this is a fair warning.

Due to the necessary grinding, the pacing is really erratic but the good news is that if you can really dive into the combat and immerse yourself in the challenge, you’ll enjoy yourself. Furthermore, the micromanagement outside of battling, while not really affecting characters like the Crystarium in Final Fantasy XIII , can have a drastic impact on your performance on the field. Customizing your weapons is essential and doing so is sort of like putting together a puzzle: the upgrades and extra pieces of equipment you can affix to your firearms are coded with a certain symbol. This symbol must match a part of the weapon; if it doesn’t match anywhere, it won’t fit on that weapon. It’s simple but still relatively interesting and it’s fun gathering up the requisite money and parts to purchase these upgrades from the town “tinkerer.” You can even dismantle unneeded equipment for valuable parts and yes, you will level up with gained experience in battle.

Exploring is a bit of a disappointment; it only involves moving a cursor around a world map divided up into hexes. But perhaps as a way of combating this very impersonal form of wandering about, we have yet another unique trait that involves the aforementioned hexes. See, some hexes aren’t passable at first and you earn Energy Hexes from battles; using these Energy Hexes will allow you to cross those previously impassable sections. However, you need to follow the rules- no part of the Energy Hex (these can come in various shapes) can be on a building or off the map, and one of the hexes must abut or overlap a previously opened hex. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t. It’s kinda cool but at the same time, it’s a little strange and can detract from the immersion and gameplay by making it feel too much like a silly puzzle game. It’s very weird to bounce between the complicated combat and maneuvering about the world map in this fashion, that’s all.

Overall, being able to explore the suspended city can be entertaining when more of the area has been opened, the storyline and character roster is decent, the presentation is slick, and the combat is extremely demanding yet still rewarding. You just need to accept the fact that Resonance of Fate will inevitably frustrate you, especially at first, and you have to resign yourself to grinding very, very often. I still think the combat is overly complicated, which causes the balance to go screwy, and I felt overmatched far too often. The feeling of satisfaction can be almost unparalleled in the RPG realm, though, and if you can stomach the learning curve, you can really indulge. The stark atmosphere lacks vibrancy and color, the voice acting bounces between mediocre and great, and the uniqueness of certain features may or may not appeal to you. For me, a once-hardcore fan of the genre, I’m likely more partial to this style than others but I still believe a turn-based mechanic would’ve allowed the obvious depth and intricacy to be more easily embraced and appreciated. So sue me.

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OtisFeelgood
OtisFeelgood
11 years ago

Thanks for the review. I'll probably get this game sometime this weekend.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Sounds decent enough, thanks for the heads up on this Ben. I think I'll buy it at around $30 and play it some time when I'm not swamped and when the jrpgs dry up, which should be any time now if not now. Sounds like something that needs one's full attention. Do you plan on ever finishing it Ben?

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

I paid $36.99 for it and believe it to be worth it.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

thanks duder, where'd you find it for that? I can't find it for any less than $45, used or new doesn't matter to me.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/20/2010 11:06:34 PM

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

I used my FF XIII and GOW III pre-order money from Amazon on it and lowered it to 36.99.


Last edited by tes37 on 4/20/2010 11:17:54 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I'm not sure…the game is fun and it's CRAZY entertaining…but only when things go well.

I'd certainly recommend it to RPG fans who aren't afraid of a challenge.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

I regretted buying it before I understood the fighting, so I agree with you Ben. I'd get irritated at some of the battles that advance the story so I'd wander around or hit the arena. There's somewhat of a challenge figuring out what strategy to use sometimes.

Kevadu
Kevadu
11 years ago

The JRPGs won't be drying up for a while, World. We should be getting Trinity Universe, Atelier Rorona, and Valkyria Chronicles 2 this summer. And don't forget 3D Dot Game Heroes, though that isn't really an RPG.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Aren't those all more strategy? The only strategy game I've cared for is VC, and VC2 will be outside my grasp for being on psp.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/21/2010 4:28:56 AM

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
11 years ago

Why are they putting VC2 on PSP? That seems dumb logic to me. Put the second on the same platform as the first. If you want a PSP VC game, call it something other than VC2.

This just in, Uncharted 3, only available on PSP.

Same way it was dumb to put Dead Space Extraction on the Wii, when all the fans of Dead Space experienced it on the PS3 and 360.

Tristan
Tristan
11 years ago

I'm probably gonna skip this one. Im saving money for Red Dead Redemption.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

This can be a tough game, so I make sure not to skip any side missions. Some of the rewards are very well worth it too. Very thorough and accurate review here Ben.

The graphics have to be my biggest complaint. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish certain detail in the environments because it all kinda blends together.

After getting a handle on the battle system, the fun factor increased dramatically.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

The core elevators are quite annoying.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

alas the multiplats all must suffer in graphics, and rpgs the most out of them.

shadowpal2
shadowpal2
11 years ago

Nice review man…once I get a PS3, I want to get this…just probably will be frustrated with its difficulty. We'll see how it goes.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

as long as it isn't as difficult as Demon's Souls

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I know that because I mention the steep learning curve, people will start comparing it to Demon's Souls, so let me make one thing clear-

DS is hard because it's so unforgiving. RoF is hard just because there's so much going on, and it can be difficult to get everything right. Both are unique in their own ways and both will challenge you in different ways.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

No worries for me, from your detailed explanations I totally understood, being an RPG vet it is easy to tell the difference between these two types of games and their difficulties.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/21/2010 12:03:43 AM

chewy102
chewy102
11 years ago

You forgot to add that ROF supports custom music.

sonic1899
sonic1899
11 years ago

I didn't know that. :O
Thanks for the info

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

I didn't even know. Not something I normally look for but I should start. 🙂

chewy102
chewy102
11 years ago

I wish custom music was used in more games. If only M$ didn't patent mandatory custom music. Id take custom music over cross game chat any day.

Arvis
Arvis
11 years ago

Who the crap would use custom music in an RPG? I guess it's good when you're grinding, but I don't really want Weird Al playing during an emotionally charged cutscene.

-Arvis

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

Good score
Seems like a pretty good game overall

___________
___________
11 years ago

this game is proof of just because something sounds good on paper, does not mean it is a good idea.
a traditional RPG styled game, but focused on guns and acrobatics how could that go wrong?
oh, boy was i in for a surprise!

nier is by far the better game, picked it up yesterday along with dead to rights retribution and am quite enjoying it.
nier that is, dead to rights SUCKS!
i was worried it would and well for once a game has not disappointed me, except WTF is with the black and white?
this is freaking 2010 not freaking 19 diggidy 2!
the sabotuer did that, but at least they had a explanation, and reason too, plus its only short.
they copped the sh*t for it, and now other devs follow suit.
WTF?
dont developers watch other companies and try to learn from their mistakes?
obviously not!

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Er…Nier isn't due out until next week.

tlpn99
tlpn99
11 years ago

Sorry to go of topic here but when you say Dead To Rights sucks, is it that bad ? It is due out here on Friday and I was wondering if a purchase should be had of it or not. I did worry though that the last 2 or 3 was it were rubbish too and this one is going to continue the trend.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago
Rings0fUranus
Rings0fUranus
11 years ago

calm down, twitch

___________
___________
11 years ago

it got released here early for some reason.
dead to rights is ok if you like that type of game, im enjoying it but its really bugging me with the lack of color.
why the hell did they make this a black and white game?
that aside the missions with shadow are so much fun, playing cat and mouse with your enemies.
love doing that, just teasing them that was the best part of batman AA.
got a decent story too, its been a long time since a game made me cry but dead to rights really hits the old pace maker.

slimey
slimey
11 years ago

really good informative review, but it read slightly lower than an 8.2. I will skip this one. RPG's are such a time sink that there's no point investing all that time & money if you anticipate dollops of frustration

just2skillf00l
just2skillf00l
11 years ago

Good review Ben. This game is pretty amazing IMO. I was also a little frustrated in the beginning of the game not so much with the combat mechanics but with the hex placements. They didn't exactly explain the ins and outs of hex usage but I figured it out after a while.

The combat was explained pretty clearly to me in the arena. Once I finished all the tutorials they had to offer I knew most of what I was capable of, however, I was unsure to what extent/level it could extend.

The graphics were definitely the low point of the game unless you loathe a challenge. I quickly noticed how dull and flat everything seemed. However, after playing and learning about all the different elements the game had to offer, I simply didn't care about the visuals anymore. When you master or get familiar with the combat system, overlooking the visuals is a trivial task.

Ben I agree with the fact that I always felt overpowered by the enemies while I was playing. The game never feels easy because you can pretty much lose to any opponent if you take them lightly despite being superior in level. It is important to notice an enemies type and weakness in battles in order to get the upper hand.

For the most part this game is great if you invest the time and can deal with short-lived frustration. Grinding is a must like Ben said but when you put in the time and find out all the hidden elements and possibilities of the game, you will find how deep, customizable, and enjoyable this game is to play.

Hope you guys give the game a chance. I can't guarantee all will like it as it caters to a niche audience of RPG enthusiasts, but it's definitely and potentially a fun game for those who can master it. Long rant…sorry for the boring and less impressive review…lol

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Just one note about the Arena and the tutorials therein: it's not available at the start. You'll be fighting for a while before the Arena even opens, which I think is wrong. They just dump you into battle without any help whatsoever and I was just like…"uh…..ooookay. Now what?"

But I agree about the rest. It really is fun if you put the time in.

chewy102
chewy102
11 years ago

Rule 1-
If you're having problems, go read the manual.

The manual tells you everything you need to know. Also the arena is the first place I went to after getting the mission details. I even only had to fight 1 battle before getting there, and that was because I wanted to give it a try before the tutorials.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

The manual really isn't that great. It does tell you MOST everything you need to know, but you have to continually pause the battle and reference it early on.

This is why an in-game tutorial was absolutely necessary.

And I played for a few hours before the Arena was ever open. I did like four or five missions.

chewy102
chewy102
11 years ago

Well that's odd. I was able to go to the arena before opening up the bridge. Maybe it's because I talked to just about everyone in town before leaving, a few of them told me about the arena so I just went there first.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

I went to the arena and I could talk to people and buy some bigfoot ice cream, but it wouldn't let me fight. The person said it wasn't open yet.

chewy102
chewy102
11 years ago

I couldn't fight in the arena either. Just buy ice cream (wth is it used for? A basic health item?) and do the tutorial (the guy behind the left stand).

Arvis
Arvis
11 years ago

The tutorial battles still give you a taste of the fighting mechanics, but they do a poor job of giving you the chance to really put EVERYTHING you're learning all together into one fight.

-Arvis

JackC8
JackC8
11 years ago

Sounds kind of interesting, but I dunno. When a hardcore RPG guy says he probably would have quit if he hadn't had to write the review, and here I am with 1 RPG under my belt…LOL. Might be best to wait until it hits the bargain bin because I think I might not end up getting too far into it.

sonic1899
sonic1899
11 years ago

I bought this game on day one. I think a lot of the reviews it got were too underrated, especially in regards to the battle system. It has a steep learning curve, but it doesn't take long to get used to and it's not overly complex (like how x-play said it was >_>).

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Sounds like a fairly hardcore RPG – nice…Another to add to my list. Once I get all these RPGs I won't be seen for months while I try to complete them all…LOL!

piratedrunk
piratedrunk
11 years ago

I am a bit surprised you didn't mention Nolan North in the bit about the voice acting.

I really enjoyed his work in this game some moments were hilarious.

Overall, I enjoy this game quite a bit but I need to take breaks from it because it can be a little too demanding if I'm not in the mood to grind.

Rings0fUranus
Rings0fUranus
11 years ago

looks like a buy for me!
i like jrpgs 🙂

Mr Bitey
Mr Bitey
11 years ago

Ha! I just started Star Ocean last night. So I'll be busy for a while. I am really interested in RoF. I'll get to it at some point.

AirplanePeanuts
AirplanePeanuts
11 years ago

I approve of this review overall.

As far as 2010 RPGs and me are concerned, Resonance of Fate is head and shoulders above FFXIII.

TheAgingHipster
TheAgingHipster
11 years ago

I've been waiting for your take on this game for a while, Ben, and now that I have it, I know what I must do–finish Just Cause 2, then purchase Resonance of Fate alongside 3D Dot Game Heroes. 🙂

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
11 years ago

will play it. i believe it will give me the same type of satisfaction demon's souls gave me. reward after hard challenge.


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 4/22/2010 12:48:39 AM