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Resonance of Fate is my SEGA game of this generation!

August 31, 2011

With every generation of consoles, something like this always happens, there is one game, which is that game. It speaks to me, it feel like it was made to cater my tastes and Resonance of Fate just happens to be the one.

You might wonder, how could I enjoy such a difficult game with very punishing gameplay, let alone consider it to be my own intimate personal favorite, not just as a JRPG, but personal favorite title of this generation? It’s simple really, as hard as the game punishes me for failure, every time I overcome a seemingly overwhelming and impossible obstacle, I feel a true sense of joy and I am compensated in the best possible manner.

It’s also the little touches, you see, I like the fact that it’s gameplay seems like an unholy and bizarre mixture of a Strategy RPG such as Shining Force and the blast processing, so to speak, of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s also somewhat refreshing to see a plot that doesn’t involve some sort of doomsday countdown scenario or having to fight a major monster towards the end that is the all-knowing Deux-EX Machina of the game. On top of it all, the game allows you to replay the game from the start with everything you saved up at that point. Am I the only one who finds this particular aspect worthy of praise above all else? It’s because of something as simple as this,  that I will never play anything like Final Fantasy XIII or Lost Odyssey ever again. But it makes Resonance of Fate worthy of some replay value.

Though it’s setting is a post-apocalyptic scenario, much it feels like a Western that happens to feature some interesting insights on Christian mythology, so in a sense, a spiritual western. Issues like revenge, redemption and the afterlife are explored a lot in the game’s plot which is heavily focused on our three main protagonists: Vashyron, Leanne and Zephyr.

I’ve kinda covered a lot of what I had to say about them in this earlier piece, but I feel I need to go even deeper, on the surface, they appear to be run-of-the-mill character templates (ergo stereotypes) of just about any RPG you’ve played over the last years. But I noticed something… something that I haven’t seen since the days of Skies of Arcadia. They talk and act like normal people (as normal as possible considering the game’s setting), they are not saviours of the human race, nor the chosen ones. They are people who have jobs just to make ends meet.

And by the end of the game, you can make out a lot of distinct personality traits (some of them pretty quirky and others carrying serious dramatic weight), but it all boils down to this, they are nothing special, is not who they are underneath, but it’s their words and actions that drive the story forward and keep the player interested in the outcome. On that level, Resonance of Fate handles all the characters fairly well, because, cut scenes and the dialogue within are kept to only the bare essentials, it’s nice to just watch a 3-5 minute cut scene and get all the necessary information out it, without getting a philosophical lecture (you get that sometimes here, but not a whole lot of it)  for about 20 to 30 minutes until the game decides to let you touch the controller again.

As I mentioned before, Resonance of Fate is a sucess in the sense that it feels like en epic adventure with great presentation, but when you actually start to break down every aspect of the game, you realize that Tri-Ace has obviously cut corners, but you’d never notice that just by taking the game on face value alone. It’s impressive, because all of the major big budget JRPG productions that have come out on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 have not had very lucrative results and it shows. So many resources wasted on a big budget game that will likely never make it’s money back, though Resonance of Fate did suffer a similar fate (releasing it in the same month as Final Fantasy XIII was a very bad idea) in which it got marked down a few months past it’s release, it was more than likely a sucessful experience in making a cost-effective JRPG that’s made for the people who own HD consoles and want a great presentation on their HD TVs. A formula that I think  other RPGs developers (especially those with good brand recognition) should copy in order to compete with the major Western RPGs.

It is unlikely that such an experiment will be repeated ever again, but who knows, right?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2011 6:02 pm

    I have read a few reviews of resonance of fate, but only after reading the praise you heap on the game did I realize that I need to experience it. Your comments remind me of the impact shenmue had on me (i played shenmue on the Dreamcast and I imported shenmue2, upon it’s european release, and experienced it on Dreamcast as well). You used the phrase, the game “speaks to me.” I’m leaning towards the view that games which are in some way innovative (not necessarily groundbreaking but hinting at the potential for gameplay beyond “the tried and true” approaches that we are inundated with) are the games likely to speak in influential ways. For example:
    “there is nothing “unrealistic” about someone in a future post-apocalypse having a
    clock on a heads-up display. But there is definitely something more engaging about
    having to study the environment for clues to your survival. It requires the player to
    engage in second-order thinking based on the rules of the game world, which in turn
    entails a certain internalization of those rules. That is why people who’ve been
    playing Tetris for hours look for ways to complete rows on supermarket shelves:
    they’ve thoroughly internalized the rules of that game world. People have reported
    this same phenomenon with Portal: after playing for hours, they find themselves
    scanning smooth surfaces for places to set up portals.” (-CraigStern “in Defense of
    After reading your article I remembered the feeling I had right after finishing shenmue. It was a sunny afternoon and I put my system away, went for a walk and then to work (at the time I worked a closing shift at a supermarket deli). For the next few hours all my conversations and interactions with people felt like some sort of QTE, and the events of the day began to flow with a dream-like quality. I remember the lingering feeling of mild amusement over the comical nature of each real-life workplace conversation. As I continued working, I became more focused and by nightfall I had returned to my more serious self. However, it was a nice buzz while it lasted.

    again, sounds like resonance of fate should be an innovative and immersive experience worth checking out!


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