Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Symphony Of Eternity - 8.99 (Kotobuki Solution/Kemco)

I’m not personally a big fan of turn-based RPGs. Though there are a couple that have really had an impact on me, but only a handful. Turn-based RPGs just aren’t really my thing, though the ones that I have enjoyed, I enjoyed immensely. What does this have to do with anything? Well, when I first saw that a new RPG had been released for the iOS, I didn’t even think for a second about checking it out until I heard a friend at work talking about a new amazingly immersive game he just bought. Symphony Of Eternity, released by Kotobuki Solution, just so happened to be that game. I ended up checking out some information that night when I got home, and when I read that it was a lot like the older Final Fantasy games, I immediately became intrigued as the old FF games are some of the very few turn-based RPGs that I have enjoyed to no end.

So, first off, the graphics. Symphony Of Eternity looks the part of an old-school game. However, there’s a modern feeling to it as well. The text parts are accompanied by pictures of characters faces that look pretty detailed, and some of the enemies that you’ll encounter have some pretty nice animations and elaborate graphic styles, as do the environments you‘ll fight them in. The world map, within towns, exploring certain areas, and the menus are all old-school styled though. It’s a nice mesh of old-school and modern styles, and all fits together very well. Nothing feels out of place, and the animations are well done. The music is very fitting of a turn-based RPG game, and actually reminds me a lot of some of the Final Fantasy soundtracks, and just like it did with FF, it adds quite a bit to the atmosphere and feeling of the game.
There are three control schemes; you can tap where you want to move to, or use one of two d-pads. One stationary, and one that centers where you set your thumb down onto the screen. The joystick/d-pads can seem a little unresponsive at times, but really, they just don‘t leave room for error. You will need to constantly make sure that your finger is still within the circle of the joystick, as going out of it even just a little bit will make your character stop walking, and because of this, it can kind of feel out of place until you get use to it. You can change the control set-up at any time from the game’s option menu. There are also options to change the fighting speed, conversation speed, and set the BGM and sound effects volumes. Along with these options, there is a very nice and in-depth help section in the pause menu, telling you how to do everything and what everything does. Accompanied with 5 save slots, and an Auto-Save, it’s very well rounded out in the options aspect.
Now, in the game, you’ll control a party of 3 members, a young man named Kreist, a special golem named Dauturu and a princess who they decide to let join them in their quest, named Laishutia. You’re on a journey to find the weapon, Regratlute, which grants it’s holder any wish they desire. I don’t want to give away much more of the story, because as you might have guessed, it’s a huge part of the game. In fact, it’s very well written, and very immersive. The way the characters interact with one another and reveal their strengths and weaknesses draws you in, and makes you feel for them. The closest game I can compare it to is Final Fantasy 7. The way it’s written, and how the story is presented reminds me of the way I felt when I first played FF7 many years ago, and because of this, it’s looking like Symphony Of Eternity will make it’s mark on me.
The battle system is like your typical turn based game. You’ll be able to choose between using your basic weapon attack, an item (healing or mana potions), a special attack, or choose the characters stance. Once you decide what action you want a character to take, you’ll then either tap on the enemy you want to attack, or on the character you want to use the potion on. Since the characters are pretty close together on the iPod Touch screens, it’s nice that the developers made it so that you can also tap on the character’s stat section on the bottom of the screen. In the characters stat section you can see how much health and mana you have, as well as a bar with a percentage above it. This is your break bar. Like Final Fantasy, this bar is filled when you attack, and when you are attacked, and once it is full, a “Break” icon will appear in the top right corner, which you can tap, and have the character with a full break bar (or choose the character you want to use their break ability, if you have more than one character with a full break bar) attack no matter who’s turn to attack it is. As you can imagine, this comes in handy, and can change the tide of a battle in seconds with the break attack being very strong. Also, if you happen to attack with your characters one right after the other, you’ll get a combo increase on your attack power, which goes up with each successive attack. All of the enemies also have week points which you can see if you decide to use the Princess’s power to do so. Doing this, you can find out what their week points are, and what magic does the most amount of damage to them. This does come in handy when fighting some of the stronger enemies. Once you finish the battle you will be awarded with experience, gold, tablet points and any items that the enemies might have had.
As you gain experience, and level up, you are able to distribute Merit Points among each of the characters. These will increase the characters offense, defense, magic abilities, magic defense, speed, and more. There are also tablets that you can have your characters equip. Each of the tablets gains points after battle, and gives each character certain abilities and has special skills and effects, like increased defense, a special attack, and adding to the character’s HP, all of which grows as you gain tablet points. So, there is obviously a ton of customization to play around with in the game, and all of it, of course, has an effect on how you end up playing the game.
Kemco has done an amazing job with Symphony Of Eternity, and I feel like I owe Kotobuki Solution for bringing it to the platform. I have seriously not had this kind of gaming experience in a long, long time. Everything about the game is top notch, and so incredibly well done, it’s really not so hard to believe that the only other games like it in the AppStore are the re-releases of Secret Of Mana, and the Final Fantasy games, and Symphony Of Eternity fits extremely well within that small class of astounding turn-based RPGs, that are all well worth their premium price-tags, if not more. It is $8.99, and very much worth the purchase. If you’re a fan of RPGs, or really just exceedingly well written, very immersive adventure games with loads of customization, you’ve got to pick up Symphony Of Eternity. It will grab your imagination and suck you into one incredibly amazing world.

Symphony Of Eternity gets a perfect score of 10 out of 10.


Version Reviewed; V 1.0.0
Reviewed On; 4th Generation iPod Touch - iOS 4.3.3


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