JRPGs are a fairly underpopulated genre for Xbox, but things are gradually picking up as the console receives more games in this style. The latest release, Revenant Dogma
, is developed by a company that has already brought two of their games to consoles this year alone (Fernz Gate
and Asdivine Hearts
). Exe-create's newest Xbox release has all the standard JRPG elements but unfortunately falls short in a number of places.
The story begins in a world called Aldora where two races, humans and therians, coexisted happily until the issue of divine power divided them. While the therians were granted this by feral gods, the humans had no such luck and resented the therians for this, and went around finding their own way to get power. The opening sequence of the game gives you all of this backstory straight out, and the rest of the game follows the same style of spoon-feeding you its story.
You take control of Caine who, with the help of his friend Julie, are looking for a feral relic, and eventually end up being sucked into the fight between the humans and the therians. The story twists and turns through kidnapping, betrayals and more than a few fights, but it does feel a little bit all over the place. While the story basically takes you a linear route from town to town, a lot of things are left hidden to you until nearer the end, which makes for quite a confusing journey along the way before it's all spoonfed again.
While some elements of the story and backstory are overexplained and spoonfed to you through character conversations, some of the gameplay elements are poorly explained. Monsters will attack you in the map, and you fight them in a turn-based style, which is easy enough to understand and well displayed on the screen. You have different skills and forms which you can use, which are more effective against different types of enemies, but it isn't always obvious which enemy is which type on first glance. More so, other fighting elements feel like they aren't explained at all, for example, I didn't even realise there were defend, item and flee option until I accidentally clicked a button which moved the in fight menu to the right.
The enemies in the fights are also fairly underwhelming, with basic names like Wyvern and Bluefish. The bosses are a little more flashy but somewhat harder to defeat, obviously, so expect a fair bit of grinding to level your characters up, or face the wrath of the restart screen (or as the game says, 'retart'). It is these kinds of mistakes that make the game feel amateurish and having common spelling mistakes in the final version of a game does feel slightly embarrassing.
Tell me where the restart button is
Although the game was originally released in 2016, its less than impressive graphics actually make it feel a lot older. Facial features don't quite fit faces, dungeons seem a little underwhelming and poorly designed, and overall everything just feels a little flat. While the game offers lots of bright colours and nice costume designs that are typical of this kind of game, there's little else for your eyes to enjoy.
The game is not without its positive elements though, and the soundtrack is a real plus. When you are continually fighting enemies for XP or exploring the nth floor of a dungeon, you'll always have an upbeat and pleasant tune keeping you company. Whether you defeat an enemy, enter into a fight or progress to an important part of the story, you can rely on the game to pull out a funky tune, which is a good thing too as the repetitive gameplay and need to grind will have you hearing it a lot.
Some of the conversations are rather bizarre, with sexual and religious elements both present, and some of the text feels like it is there purely to explain some of the backstories and doesn't feel natural at all. Along with this forced conversation, one of the most bizarre things I came across was one of the characters asking me to review the game in the middle of a conversation. The characters in the game seemed as baffled as I was that I was being asked to do this, and is something I have never come across in a game before.
Saving the world will have to wait, I've got a review to write
In terms of achievements, the game only has 30 but a fair few of them will take a lot of grinding to achieve. Going through the story will earn you various achievements as you complete certain tasks, and completing the full line of sub-quests will earn you another achievement. You'll also want to fight a lot of enemies, walk a lot of steps and use a lot of skills. It is a more than completable list but will take a fair amount of time to do so.Check out our Best Xbox RPGs Available in 2017 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.
feels like a game of missed opportunities. The story is either much too confusing or later all spoonfed to players. Spelling mistakes and subpar visuals make the game feel too rough around the edges. The characters' conversations only tell, never show and the gameplay soon gets repetitive. For genre-deprived fans, it may be enjoyable enough, but for anyone looking for a great Xbox JRPG, Revenant Dogma
- Enjoyable soundtrack
- A decent JRPG for fans craving more on Xbox
- Rough around the edges
- A lot of the conversations feel unnecessary
- The story alternatingly hides every detail and then spoon-feeds them all
The reviewer spent approximately 12 hours fighting enemies and searching for relics to save Aldora, unlocking 9 of the game's 30 achievements. A download code was provided for the purpose of this review.
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