Resonance of Fate, one of the best JRPG no one played


#1

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Do you know about Resonance of Fate ? If you don’t, I don’t blame you. Sega decided it would be best for the game to be released the same week as…Final Fantasy XIII. This wise decision threw Resonance of Fate into oblivion for all but the most hardcore of JRPG players. It was secretly the game to get that week.

Tri-Ace, the studio known for Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile finally managed to create a bigger production with the help of Sega. The result is a wild, mechanically exotic JRPG that replicates the feeling of some of the best anime around: as funny as it is serious, with a heightened sense of melancholy permeating the universe.

No swords in this fantasy world

The most surprising aspect of its gameplay is that there is no close-quarter weapon. You fight with guns, and your enemies does too.

The weapon types are divided into handguns and machine guns. In order to whittle away the health bar of your enemy, you have to deal scratch damage with your machine gun, and then confirm it with your handgun for direct damage. This means that the whole idea is not about who has the strongest weapon, but teamworking with your party of three as they only have two weapon slots. Your levels are also determined by your proficiency with a weapon type, which means that specializing yourself into a single one is a huge mistake. There is also another type : grenade. They’re not part of the general equation but they can deal different types of damages or status effect that can be very beneficial. You always have to diversify yourself, may it be dual-wielding, having an item box, two different weapons, etc.

There is also the hero gauge. On the bottom of the screen, there are bezels that is your health and your ability to do special actions. If your life bar reaches 0, it doesn’t put your character into a downed state but it shatters a bezel. When all the bezels are gone, you reach critical state where your characters cowers and runs around frantically. Their aim are reduced and they receive more damage until you manage to get a bezel back.

But what is the most important about these bezels are the hero actions. A hero action is a straight line starting from your character to any direction that allows you to move and attack at the same time. If your line goes through the line that connects the two other characters, then it creates a tri-attack that allows all your character to do actions at the same time, for the cost of only one bezel. Think of it like a baseball field, but it is much better to understand with a video.

There is so much to do with the gameplay, it is also very overwhelming and will very much require some additional reading, but the outcome is worth it. If you’re willing to work a lot to make your gun look like this, then you’re all set to go.

Customization

Maybe the best thing to come out of this game is the customization feature. You can buy or find clothes for your character to wear, and it will be visible in every fight and cutscenes. It ranges from down-to-earth jeans to wild animal costumes. You can even wear anime t-shirt, like i’m sure everyone of us do in real life !

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A different vision

What will be most striking with the game is that it does things very differently in the JRPG landscape. While quite open-ended, the game is cut in chapters that are more the kind of Cowboy Bebop episodes. They are loosely connected but it all works towards a finale. This means that you will not get the high of meaningful story development for a long while, it will mostly be about the characters and the world they live in. The focus is put into the general atmosphere that you get while playing this game, the playful nature of the team doing contract work and the interest you might have for the background of the characters.

It doesn’t hold your hand in any way, which is why it is a game few played, fewer got past the first few hours and almost nobody managed to get to the end. It is an anomaly, even today, but it is a game that offers a lot and offers something completely new and refreshing. Going through the tower, listening to the beautiful music by famed anime composer Kohei Tanaka with the help of Motoi Sakuraba, fighting your way through enemies with a lot of banter between characters, it holds many of the tenets that makes successful games in our current landscape. It was at the same time too late and too early. Trying new ways to engage the player in the JRPG formula while going back to the storytelling and atmosphere of classic animes.

It’s an oddity, but it is one that is worth playing. I especially like is the introduction FMV, that will tell you everything you need to know about what the game will try to convey through the whole game, definitely worth a watch.


#2

Man, this game always comes into my head when folks talk videogame fashion. One of the few games where people have legit good looks as opposed to “videogame character design” good looks. Like, I’d wear what they wear and look fuckin’ great.

I’ve got a copy on PS3 but my access to that console is limited, I wish it would get a proper re-release some day so I can properly get into it. Everything it’s putting down is extremely My Jam. Loved the little home drama scetches at the start of the chapters I played.


#3

I bought this game at launch but found the combat super confusing and gave up lol. Might be time to give it another go.


#4

This sounds extremely awesome? The way you describe weapon types reminds me of certain strategies for playing Halo on Legendary - the shields/health dynamic means different combinations of weapons can be very effective if you know how to pair them (the most famous obviously being the noob combo).


#5

I got this sitting on my shelf barely played from years ago. I assume it’s not backwards compatible on Xbox One? Might be worth pulling the 360 outta retirement…

I remember trying it out and feeling really overwhelmed with the systems, but I just might not have been in the right head space at the time.


#6

The only thing I knew about Resonance of Fate before this very good post was this very very bizarre cutscene.
Warning: It’s explicit.


#7

I got the game a few years ago. The combat was super complicated but kinda fun. But the loose storytelling couldn’t catch me, so I just stopped playing after a while.


#8

Bought this day one. I sadly ended up trading it in fairly quickly. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the mechanics at all. It looked great, it was so stylish and super interesting to see a battle system based around firearms. Unfortunately, try as I might, the game felt like it was trying to put up a wall between itself and the player so I can’t say I have any fondness for it.


#9

I really like this game but I’ve never committed to finishing it, largely because I have bad time management. Realising the gun customisation requires non-euclidean weapon organisation is still the funniest thing in the universe.

PS FUCK THE STATUE ESCORT


#10

This is what peak performance looks like…

5po0oi


#11

The idea of a long RPG with sort of standalone chapters is really appealing. Given how often in games the long story arcs doesn’t work out, but short side quests shine, maybe this is something more developers should consider. (Not saying that exactly applies to this game)

Game looks pretty cool.


#12

This is one of my favorite JRPGs. The combat system is unlike anything else (closest is Natural Doctrine for Vita) and it just felt so cool. I’d love a PC rerelease like Vanquish or Bayo. It got screwed hard because of its release window.


#13

I played it. I actually have full 1000GS on Xbox 360. Liked the game a lot and remember it as one of the best JRPGs on the Xbox 360 last gen (game mechanics).


#14

This is one of those games that I tried many times to get into but I inevitably get sidetracked by something else. A part of me still wants to try again but I don’t have a 7th gen console anymore. I do remember really liking it’s style, there isn’t anything else like it.


#15

In regards to availability, it’s unfortunately not available anywhere else except PS3/360, not even backwards compatible on One. Also, it is one of the only games where a dualshock 4 will not work with the game on PS3 :frowning:

It definitely deserves a remaster, or at least a PC port.


#16

I remember buying this game at launch, but finding the core gameplay too complicated for my tastes. I traded it away to a forum rando in a week or so… given the love it seems to constantly get on message boards id be open to give it another try, but finding a copy will likely prove difficult (that, and Id have to reconnect my PS3).

Maybe we’ll see a Steam release someday!


#17

I think this official Sega video does a decent job of laying out the combat’s fundamentals.

Were I to only offer one piece of my own advice for the combat, it’s this: lean into Hero Actions. It’s quite tough at the beginning as you have limited Bezels, but in my opinion you should be using Hero Actions every turn, slaloming between your other two characters and consistently setting up flamboyant Tri-Attacks. If you’re ever shooting whilst standing still, or using the game’s cover system, then something’s gone wrong.

My reasoning for the above is:

  1. Hero Actions dramatically increase your damage potential, as you can reliably stack attack charges without being interrupted by enemy attacks.
  2. Jumping during a HA allows you to ignore enemy directional defences and prime all said defences with Scratch damage from above.
  3. Your characters heal Scratch damage whilst running during a HA, meaning you’re much less likely to be one-shot by enemy attacks.
  4. By picking your targets you can ensure you are always refunded the Bezels you spent on a HA, either by destroying an enemy or one of their barriers.
  5. It looks way cooler.

It’s a hard system to describe, and the game itself doesn’t do a great job of it, but I think RoF’s combat is significantly less complicated then it initially appears. Really it all comes down to two things: conscientious character placement and the one-two punch of stacking Scratch damage before finishing things with a Direct attack.

I would love for this game to get a release on Steam. It’s easily one of my favourite games from the last generation, and although this post has focused on combat mechanics the game has copious personality beyond them: the eclectic soundtrack, the fabulous fashion, the bizarre enemy designs, the hex-grid world map…


#18

Yeah, one of the game’s shortcomings is never in any way communicating both that it has a text tutorial you can see at any time and that you can freely try out everything in said tutorial at the colosseum, which doubles as a training ground. Utilizing the latter was probably the only reason I didn’t just return the game a day or two after I bought it.


#19

Always wanted to play it because I like different takes on JRPGs, other games were my priority though, then sadly my PS3 died.

Sega was absolutely bonkers for releasing Bayonetta on January, Resonance of Fate on March, Yakuza 3 on the end of March & Alpha Protocol on May 2010. Absolute insanity.


#20

If they make a sequel, they should make your gun mods visible during combat.

I really want to see a 34 barrel gun in action.