Resonance of Fate was developed by Tri Ace, the developers of the Star Ocean series and Published by SEGA. It is also known as End Of Eternity in Japan. The game is inspired by action films like Rebellion and especially Western made films like The Matrix and elements of John Woo films. You play as 3 different characters Zephyr, Leane(Reanbell in Japan) and Vashyon, freelance mercenaries called “hunters” in the game who take on different jobs for the right price.
The story takes place in the near future on earth in a location called Basel where the world is now heavily contaminated with pollution and the atmosphere is being depleted day by day. The city is run by the upper class called The Cardinals who hold a major control over society in Basel and they live in decadence and privilege, while much of the middle and lower classes live at the bottom. Each of the cardinals are very eccentric in their own ways and their lives of self indulgence comes at a great cost to other citizens not so fortunate.
The tower of Basel functions as an air purifier and protects the citizens from contaminated air but the tower is degrading over time. As the story progress, there appears to be a strange conspiracy among the cardinals regarding Basel and the toxic environment of earth.
Compared to other JRPGS of its genre Resonance of Fate is focused on gun combat rather than magic or swords. The action is mixed with tactical style combat and third person shooter elements taking place in real time instead of turn based. You have to hold down the x button to shoot an enemy. It is much quicker and more powerful up close but also more dangerous. The complex Tri-attack-battle combat in the game is the main highlight.
There are two types of damage you can use in the game. Scratch damage comes from machine guns while handguns or grenades deal in direct damage. Scratch damage is meant for a temporary take down of an enemy’s health, while direct damage is used to permanently weaken enemies while their health is down. Scratch damage is also converted into direct damage when you use direct damage on a temporary weakened enemy. Scratch damage is much more frequent and quicker than direct damage so you are going to have to mix up your strategy for each fight as you cannot use the same attacks all the time throughout the game.
Another part of combat is the “Bezels” system. You fill up your hero gauge by finding by finding Bezels in order to perform more powerful attacks on enemies instead of the regular attacks. Bezels also act as form of protection but use bezels wisely as they drain through usage. However, you can recharge them by destroying a piece of armor, by killing an enemy, or by finding them scattered in the battlefield.
Hero actions allow you to travel to a pre-determined path you have set and movement is a key element of survival during combat as you are going to be moving around from place to place often. Tri attacks are collected by Resonance points which allows you to take down even more powerful enemies than you usually fight. You can inflict elemental status effects like fire to enemies depending on what ammunition you are using. Aerial attacks inflict massive damage to enemies and send them flying into the air. You can also use smackdown attacks to enemies while in midair to force them down on the ground and they lose any items that they are carrying.
There is a wide variety of enemies to fight and each has their own strengths and weaknesses to exploit. They won’t go down easy but they do fight fair mostly. Even under leveled enemies put up a tough fight. Each character has their own hero actions which allows them to perform their own special attacks.
It has a different take on leveling up than other RPG games. Leveling up is mainly based on the equipment that you use so the more your weapons level up, your character levels up as well, so it is best to use all kinds of equipment in the game to see which works best for you. Bexels are used as protection during combat. Finding enough of them will increase your protection which is obviously a good thing.
The game is really long and there are lots of stuff for you to do. There are 16 chapters in the game and each of them focuses on the backstories of the characters. Each chapter in the game is divided into different missions, one main mission and several side missions. It uses a overarching narrative to form into a bigger story.
It has a different kind of exploration system in order to explore different areas of the game. You can buy energy hexes or pick them up from stores to open up new areas. The way you place energy hexes serves as a form of puzzle in the game. You have a variety of different shaped hexes and when placed in a certain manner, you get a brand-new area to explore and the world becomes more habitable as time progresses.
Across the map, terminals are placed throughout the world. Once you place a certain amount of energy hexes wherever it is located, it automatically connects. You are then given a plethora of effects like item rate drop is increased whenever you are fighting in a dungeon. Some energy hexes are color coded and require a certain color like red or yellow to access that area in the game. You can take on a variety side quests from each different location across the town in your current location. When completed successfully it raises your hunter ranking and you can unlock different parts for guns and earn rubies which is the main form of currency in the game.
The story was generally ok. There was a good combination of comedy and drama. The designs for the main characters were generally good and each model was highly detailed for its time. They had their own distinct personality and charm and most were likeable. The movements were lifelike movement and detailed expression for each of the characters were a bonus. I like how it shows the main characters trying to survive in a world where humanity is slowly dying off and how they start to uncover much a bigger conspiracy relating to the government. The characters also have very good chemistry with each other. There Is pretty good character development as you learn more about them bit by bit as the game progresses. The back stories for them were interesting to learn about. Having a small cast gave a more personal and focused touch. This was a welcome variation as many JRPGS have a large cast of characters.
The storytelling is quite slow and it takes a lot of time for the story get moving.
The steampunk art design and aesthetics are well made along with the background design of the world. These features were outstanding elements of the overall game design. It has a bleak atmosphere which goes well to the grim storyline and world design.
You are free to explore each sections of the world wherever you like and loading times are fairly quick in my experience. Graphics are pretty good and they look a lot like the Final Fantasy series graphics. The in-house engine was modified for the game so it can utilize high dynamic-range rending, advanced lighting techniques and a variety shader tools to create advanced shadowing effects for the game.
The visual style while it does match the post-apocalyptic tone of the game, would often make the game look visually bland because of its heavy use of gray and much of the locations don’t look that much different visually. There is the occasional streak of other colors like red and its mainly reserved for the more upper-class areas showing the contrast of wealth and those who do not have it.
The game has a very in-depth customization system. You can customize guns in a various amount of ways like selecting foregrips, grips, scopes, barrels and handguards. Each improves a certain aspect like accuracy and damage. There are a variety of ammunition to choose from such as elemental rounds or hollow tips and there are grenades as well. There are three different types of weapons in the game handguns, machine guns and grenades.
You can buy protection to reduce damage dealt from enemies as a precaution especially later on in the game. You can even unlock costumes for the characters and you can buy clothes for the characters and there is a wide selection of them for you to uncover. Some of the costumes are unlocked by pressing a certain number of buttons like the famous Konami code. In addition, you can customize your characters bodily appearance.
Items are scattered all over the area for you to find to help you throughout your journey, either walking down the streets or in the battlefield. Some items can be used for synthesis which is a useful feature where you can combine more than one item to form either a bexel or energy hexes.
The musical score is pretty good and each location has its own soundtrack. It uses a mix of electric rock and a more orchestral score. The music changes quite quickly in combat, it can be more subtle and low key to energetic and fast paced depending on the situation. The sound design was top notch and it goes well with the steam punk design of the world. Each gun shot and explosion sounds quite realistic and the ambient sound effects felt good. The voice acting of the main characters were good and they help make the characters much more lifelike. There is the option to switch to English or Japanese voice acting so ifyou enjoy either dub or sub, there is a choice for you.
There is a lot of replay value in the game. Once you complete the game, it unlocks new game plus and a new difficulty level harder than before. There are up to 10 different difficulty levels in the game.A few Easter Eggs and hidden secrets are there to discover.
As a side note, there is a unique thing that the trophy system does for the game. When you complete all of the chapters from the prologue to chapter 16, and when sorted from top to bottom, it forms the entire tower of Basel where the game is set.
Neverland is an endurance round where you fight off against the most powerful enemies by accessing the hidden elevator only after you find the rare black hexes. At night whenever you visit the Café at level 11 gremlins, will be there and they will leave behind thousands of dollars in rubies for you to discover.
There are a few shortcomings in the game that prevents it from being a 5 star game. The game has a steep learning curve that throws you off a bit. If you don’t come properly prepared, you could die a lot. Some of the battles can be highly challenging for newcomers and there is a difficulty spike that often changes, one battle can be easy another can be very difficult. So leveling up, preparation, and right planning for moves is key to winning. Enemies sometimes would spam attack a lot to the point you can barely make an accurate shot. You can retry any fight as many times as you like as long as you have enough rubies. There is a sense of satisfaction when you win every fight.
The tutorial does not do a good job of explaining things and it can be a very confusing if you are new to the JRPG genre. Some of the dialogue can be really awkward and out of place and dialogue for enemies can be repetitive.
Backtracking and going back and forth to complete a single objective does happen and enemies will respawn when you return to an area that you have cleaned out. Filler appears in the story just to pad out the length and these could have been taken out entirely without affecting the overall game.
Overall, Resonance of Fate is an interesting take on the JRPG genre and a pretty good game. It was fun and challenging to play and I highly recommend it.
It gets 4 stars out of 5.
If you are a veteran of JRPGs and like highly challenging games like the Devil May Cry series, then you should be able to enjoy this.