Epic Battle Fantasy 4
This game I bought because the different art styles were all cute and interesting. What followed was a shockingly good experience that I really didn’t see coming.
This game is based on RPGs like Final Fantasy and Golden Sun, but where they can be very slow (the former, particularly), this one is incredibly fast paced. I’ve played a fair amount of FFXIII, but I managed to catch up to my playtime for that game in a much shorter span due to how enveloping this game can be; I’ve wiled away more than one night by just playing the story of this.
How Does It Play
Grinding is possible, but wholly unneeded. It seems most of the enemies have some kind of scaling, but maybe I was just at the perfect level for everything… Not being able to tell which it is is a very positive thing.
It also has a Game+ mode where you just restart the story with all your levels, skills and equipment. This is a nice feature, but I wish it had asked first as I was close to a few end game achieves that reset with the story.
The actual gameplay is, as I said, fast and flowing. A little less dependence on the mouse would have been nice (you need to click to exit combat, for example), but I still love the way this game controls. Although the interface is mind-bogglingly complicated when you first see it, everything has its place and all fits together surprisingly well for a system as detailed as this. There’re skill trees, equipment collecting, weapon and armour modifications, ‘flair’ trinkets, stat boosters, element resistance, buffs/debuffs… You get the point. But by a few hours into the game, I understood the majority of it.
Character balancing was a bit off for me… I dunno if it was bad use of stat items and skills, but my best fighter was also my best healer and had half the max health of my others. Due to the sheer number of options, I found it hard to keep it straight in my head which character should have which (I did consider making some kind of spreadsheet, but decided against it), but I managed to complete the game on normal difficulty without too much hassle. Don’t think I ever lost a fight.
Enough about gameplay, what about the story and tone? The tone is brilliant. Spot on. Phenomenal. It’d be worth playing this for the characters’ interactions alone. It plays beautifully with RPG and gaming tropes, references are everywhere and as I said at the beginning, the art style is amazing. Cutscenes are done in a felt-style looping animation, battles are anime and overworld travel are chibi things. They all work surprisingly well together and give the game a very lighthearted feel that becomes all the better when the team encounter horrific atrocities.
Also there’s a little easter egg that I stumbled upon entirely by accident, but could NOT stop laughing at. I won’t spoil it. But damn. It just epitomises the game.
Overall, this is a fantastic light RPG that is deep enough in gameplay to be elevated beyond the flash game it is and become one of my favourites. Resolution options are terrible, mind, and it isn’t integrated with steam very well. Still. Amazing game.