Resonance of Fate Review

PlayStation 3

June 9, 2010 by

Resonance of Fate Image

Guns. Banned in the UK, stylized in Hollywood movies and generally
pretty dangerous tools that typically allow one person to hold power
over another and sometimes even deal death. That they would be the
focus and weapons of choice in Resonance of Fate is no surprise but
this certainly follows the flashy side of gunplay that Hollywood so
often likes to advocate. The difference here is that you ge3t to
control the on-screen action. So, does Resonance of Fate actually make
you feel like a gun-toting pro, or does it make you feel like you are
merely watching the action unfold? Read on to find out.....

The system in ROF is something to talk about, thats for sure. JRPGs
are often criticized for sticking with traditional systems and being
left in the past. Not so with RoF. The game implements many
interesting ideas that not only provide the player with a refreshing
experience but show that the JRPG genre is not out for the count just
yet. Although the main means of attacking the enemies are with guns,
the process is not as simple as point and shoot. Players pick their
character, highlight the enemy and then press the attack button. A
reticule then begins to fill up and through this the player can attack
the enemy with a more powerful attack that can either stun the enemy,
knock them back or even off of their feet.

If the enemy is getting too close for comfort the player can use the
hero action ability, a move that costs one basel (a unit in a gauge
at the bottom of the screen) that allows your character to run through
and past the opponent whilst shooting them, on the ground or in the
air whilst dodging attacks and looking cool in the process. The
reticule again fills up as if doing the standard attack and will allow
you to carry out more damaging and often flashier attacks on the
enemy. Combine this with the ability to equip your characters with
variations of standard bullets, grenades and healing items and already
you have a robust system that offers lots of gameplay variation and

Another major gameplay element that is pivotal to battle is that of
scratch damage and direct damage. Players equipped with handguns or
grenades will deal direct damage which like its namesake damages the
enemy straight away. Scratch damage is inflicted when players are
equipped with machine guns and allows them to inflict heavy scratch
damage but this needs to be followed up by a direct damage attack for
it to count. Add to this the fact that enemies can recover gradually
from scratch damage and you have to weigh up whether to concentrate on
one enemy or spread your assault over several at once. That your
characters are subject to the same means of being hurt and you can see
that RoF has much to offer the seasoned RPG player. The tour-de-force
in your arsenal is the tri-attack, a move where all the characters of
your party participate in order to mess up the enemy big time.

Players can build this up by doing continuous hero actions that cross
the path of their comrades. Although you can set the tri-attack with
one resonance point it is better to activate this with three or more
points stored up as not only do your characters have more time to
build up their attacks but you can actually turn the battle situation
around and cause the enemy some grief (especially when it comes to the

With all these options at your disposal you would think that you
characters were invincible but this is not the case. Each hero action
takes a basel which is the equivalent of the characters bravery. If
these are used up the characters go into a critical state meaning they
cant use hero actions until their mental state is restored, their
aiming goes awry and they become more vulnerable to damage meaning you
have to strike a fine balance between using hero attacks , keeping out
of the enemies range and wearing the opponent down. As expected, RoF
gives you lots to consider in battle and although not the easiest
title to get to grips with it definitely expects players to get used
to the intricacies of the games system or they will experience the
game over screen time after time. That is not to say that RoF is hard
but it is not a breeze to play through either. Once you get used to
the system you will in that you will get the upper hand on most
enemies or figure out how to expose the enemies weaknesses and get
the better of them eventually.

The weapons upgrading and character customization are also very
thorough in RoF. Although the upgrading could have done with more
explanation one you get to grips with how you can tweak your guns
youll learn how to expand the magazine size, increase the guns
power, speed up the reticule charging among other perks the player can
utilize against the enemy. You can also mix the weapons your
characters have and can switch between either duel-wielding, using a
handgun or machine gun to damage opponents. It provides the sort of
versatility that is vital to progressing through the game. Although
you are only given 3 characters to play through the game with the time
you spend with them and the level of customization available means
that you wont get bored of playing with them anytime soon.

The trio you use in RoF are quite a likeable bunch and although they
have their own issues (namely surviving after or being saved from
death) they get along like good friends should and are much more
relatable than characters from recent JRPG fare. Being able to
customize their looks also means that if you dont like the default
appearances of Vashyron, Zephyr and Reanbell you can alter tem from
the clothes they wear to their hair and eye color as well as switch
between an alternate default look that has the characters in more
casual attire than what they start out in. Thanks should be given to
Tri-Ace for realizing this if you are only going to control few
characters through the game that it is vital to keep your interest in
the characters you are going to use.

Stylistically the game does a great job of realizing the characters
and the world they exist in. Based in what is essentially a grand
mechanical tower made of gears and metal with many different levels
that are host to the towers residents with a gesselschaft and
gemeinschaft type of society at work with the poorer people living in
the lower levels and the wealthy living in the higher levels with the
basilica being on the utmost level where the cardinals (some of the
wealthiest people in Basel) tend to congregate. Basel is a
well-realised world with the distinctions between the levels fully
realized and although you may initially want the game to move away
from Basel you come to realize that the tower and its different areas
are enough to explore in the games world. The characters are well
realized and strike a happy marriage between fantastical and
realistic. Apart from the games intentional humor there are no
hyper-real characters and apart from Reanbell having a somewhat cute
look to her the way she is voiced and her play style suggest that this
more along the lines of mature-looking anime than your typical
shonen/shoujo-themed series. Add to this the soundtrack which is a
combination of two composers work, that of Kyohei Tanaka and Motoi
Sakuraba who marry a beautiful orchestral score together with suitably
rock-heavy and slick pieces to highlight the pace of battle and here
youre onto a winner. The voices are fairly well done as well and
whether youre a purist or like the voices to be easy on your ears you
can have the best of both worlds by choosing to have the voices either
in Japanese or English (both are equally good here but the Japanese
voices do just edge out the English ones in my book).

Up to this point you may feel that I have nothing negative to say
about RoF. As is ever the case with most games, RoF is no exception
here. I feel compelled to say that the story is nothing special here
and although it is somewhat refreshing to not have such a story-heavy
RPG the mission-based development of the plot may turn RPG fans off.
The high learning curve of the game could also deter new RPG players
as they may prefer more user-friendly experiences such as FFXIII and
its ilk. The modifying of guns is never really explained meaning
players end up going through a process of trial and improvement to
upgrade their weapons to more powerful variants. It may also seem
contradictory to mention but with the game only taking place in
locations around the tower of Basel players may feel that they wanted
the adventure in RoF to move to other areas than the tower you become
so familiar with in the game. Another issue that may bug the player
(it certainly bugged me sometimes) is some of the harder fights that
the player will have access to (shown as red-glowing hexes on the map
of Basel). If players try to access these fights when they appear they
will more than likely have their arse kicked in double-quick time. You
can try these fights over and over (for a small fee) but you will
quickly find that entering these without leveling up first may be your
biggest mistake. Youll then end up loading your last save up which
may have been hours up to that point (and no doubt frustrating if that
is the case). Therefore saving often is essential so as to not induce
a joypad-throwing fit. Be sure as well to stock up on and place save
stations carefully!

Despite these setbacks RoF is a good example of a Japanese developer
attempting to shake up the genre by introducing new elements and
attempt to marry Eastern and Western styles in a positive way. That
the game does this in quite a satisfying manner reaffirms that
Japanese developers and Tri-Ace are not out of touch with what gamers
want and expect, plus who doesnt want to look in battle, flipping
around the opponent with guns and grenades blazing? Resonance of Fate
is reassurance that Japanese developers can show us that there is life
in the JRPG genre yet. Fingers crossed for a sequel someday please

Rating: 8.0/10

Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.