|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tri-Ace||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 17, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
As SEGA's blue-blur mascot, Sonic, plummets further into disrepair, the publisher plows ahead with the release of more meaningful titles. Bayonetta, Valkyria Chronicles, and the soon-to-be-released Alpha Protocol show a company determined to continue to present gamers with compelling content in spite of a few missteps. Resonance of Fate is the latest adventure to break free from their vault, and with developer tri-Ace at the helm, they add another worthy contender to their roster of blockbuster entertainment.
Resonance of Fate puts you in control of a triad of hunters - Vashyron, Zephyr, and Leanne. Together, they eke out a living at the center of the Earth. As the story goes, mankind runs amok upstairs, causing mass pollution and unlivable conditions. Civilization now continues on underground in a world comprised of clockwork and gears called Basel.
The story in Resonance of Fate takes its own sweet time to get going, and unfortunately, the payoff isn't "all that." The characters and their mannerisms are cliché beyond description, and the adolescent sexual innuendo is laid on too thick. The interactions between the three main characters can occasionally be endearing, but "emo" antics and routine displays of macho coolness leave their yellow ring around the rim of this tale.
Resonance of Fate is one of those games that presents you with a baffling question, and then makes you wait hours upon hours for an unsatisfactory answer. The developers didn't seem to deem it necessary to clue us in on the gameplay basics, either. There are tutorials and manuals, but they're vague at best, and many features aren't covered at all. I spent the better part of three hours just trying to wrap my head around the mechanics, and I continued to learn fundamentals even late into the game.
Now, I know the picture I've painted of the game thus far probably doesn't put it in the best of lights. Sure, the story is weak, and the developers could have done a much better job showing players the ropes. If you can push past the pain and figure certain things out for yourself, however, you'll find a battle system that's exciting, rewarding, challenging, and fun. Imagine this: Final Fantasy Tactics meets Rogue meets Devil May Cry. Sounds crazy, right? The combat in Resonance of Fate is both familiar and like nothing I've ever experienced before. After muddling through a poorly presented introduction, the game was, simply put, blowing my mind.
Combat in Resonance of Fate isn't quite turn-based, nor is it completely action-oriented. Like a Rogue-like RPG, enemies react to your actions. Your three characters take turns during battle, but you can move them freely around battle arenas. In order to perform regular attacks, however, you'll have to stop and charge up your assault. A charge gauge revs up, and depending upon your character's level with a particular weapon, you can charge up an attack multiple times to do greater damage and perform special actions.
The whole time you're doing your thing - whether it's dodging incoming enemy attacks, moving into position for an attack, or charging up your attack - enemies are reacting to your actions. They too have a charge gauge, with an initial next to it to indicate who they're targeting, and the entire process is wonderfully tactical and tactile. There's immense satisfaction in charging up an attack and letting it loose before an enemy can interrupt your assault with a counterattack.
Of course, there are those moments when you simply cannot afford to have an enemy meddle in your assault, and that's where the Hero Gauge comes in. This gauge, comprised of Bezel gems, represents both your health and ability to perform Hero Actions. A Hero Action allows you to map out an attack route your character will run along without being interrupted by enemy fire. If you run into another body or wall, however, your Hero Action will come to a screeching halt. Each time you use a Hero Action, you'll use up one Bezel gem, and once all your gems are gone, it's condition critical for your team - your characters perform with nervous urgency, inflicting less damage upon enemies and, ultimately, fighting for their lives.