Most JRPG fans are currently abuzz about Dragon Quest XI. It caught my attention, so I hope to hear more about it. (Should I dig out my GBC copy of Dragon Warrior III?) Then there’s the upcoming PC release of Grandia II.
But since we seem to be in some sort of JRPG renaissance, we’re going to talk about a different JRPG recently unveiled, Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky.
Over the past week or so, Spike Chunsoft teased details about its new game developed by tri-Ace. It was finally revealed as Exist Archive for the PS4 and PS Vita, and the first details about it have reached us thanks to Famitsu.
(Note, all of my details come from Gematsu, since putting that Famitsu page through Google Translate really won’t help.)
An evil god named Yamatoga kills the game’s 12 heroes in an explosion. They become immortals, with part of Yamatoga’s soul inside of them.
Another look at the game from Gematsu suggests this makes the 12 characters “evil gods” as well, but that’s unclear. Either way, you can use this evil god soul power for powerful attacks in battle.
Story details are pretty scarce so far, other than that these characters get caught up in arguments between the gods, but the premise is interesting. It’s the gameplay that caught my attention.
It’s a side-view RPG, although the characters in dungeons will be 3D chibi models. In the dungeons you explore, you’ll have to use skills in order to solve puzzles. I enjoy puzzles in my RPG dungeons, so that sounds great! Enemies appear on the screen, and once in battle, you’ll use the “Active Chain Battle” system.
Each of the four face buttons corresponds to a party member, and you can chain their attacks together in different orders to get a higher battle score and increase your chance of getting rare items from the battle. (I would guess these attack chains form combos, with different combinations being more effective than others.)
Fans have said this battle system is similar to that of Valkyrie Profile. I haven’t played it–perhaps I should. Can any Valkyrie Profile fans weigh in on this sort of combat?
Party members can also be swapped between the front and back rows during battle. As is typical for battle systems that use rows, characters in the front deal more damage but will be attacked more often, while characters in the back deal less damage but are attacked less often. I’ve seen this system in many RPGs and have generally enjoyed it.
The developers also said there will be an important choice that influences events in the game, it will be about 40-50 hours long, and it’s not a “typical rule of right” story. Moral ambiguity and shades of gray since the characters are all evil gods, I guess?
It has the director and writer Masaki Norimoto from Valkyrie Profile, character designer Mino Taro from Love Plus, and composer Motoi Sakuraba, who did music for games like Valkyrie Profile, Star Ocean, and Tales, among many others.
Anyway, Exist Archive has my interest. I’m not very familiar with Spike Chunsoft, but I want to play its Danganronpa and Zero Escape games. Chunsoft also developed the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, which I also hope to try. Meanwhile, tri-Ace (not to be confused with tri-Crescendo, a mistake I tend to make) has an entire lineup of games I want to play: Star Ocean, Valkyrie Profile, etc. The founders of tri-Ace also have ties to Tales of Phantasia.
I probably should play at least a few of these before Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky comes out. Which games should be at the top of my list?
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