PS3 Review – Resonance of Fate

March 29, 2010Written by Thomas Williams

Even though the combat is a refreshing change from other RPGs, it isn’t without its faults. The battle system can be too complex, and it doesn’t help that Resonance of Fate is one of the most difficult RPGs that I’ve played in quite some time. When you enter into a new area and realize some enemies are ten levels higher than you, you know the game is going to require some level grinding. Is Resonance of Fate as challenging as Demon’s Souls? Heck no, but a couple minor mistakes can send you to the retry screen in no time flat.

Another factor that lends to the difficulty is the ‘hero actions.’ You can only use those actions so many times, as determined by a bar of ‘chips’ at the bottom of the screen. If you lose all of your chips, your characters will enter into ‘critical condition,’ which means you’ve lost all of your scratch HP, and any attack on your main characters will result in massive damage. Not only will you be open to health bar shattering damage, your characters also begin to shiver and run around for cover as if they just saw Large Marge from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure naked. If you can quickly kill an enemy before your HP is depleted (which is tough to do, since your characters are running around like dummies), the chips will be returned and everything will be back to normal.

My best advice? Make sure you go to the Arena at the beginning of the game and complete the battle tutorial. You’ll thank me for it later, because unless you do, combat can be difficult and confusing to figure out, and you’ll become quite familiar with the game over screen.

Unfortunately, though, it’s not as if you’ll really care about any of the characters or the storyline. Sega has recruited the voiceover master himself, Nolan North, to play Vashyron. As always, North does his best and puts 100% into the role, yet I’m sure he had much more difficultly voicing him than Nathan Drake. Why? Because some of the scenes in the game are just bizarre. Additionally, a good part of the game consists of running around doing errands, and the major storyline doesn’t even kick-in until half-way through the game! Perhaps Tri-Ace thought this would help you ‘connect’ with the characters, though if you would had given us some characters worth caring about, it might have worked.

At least the character models look good. Tri-Ace has slowly improved its games’ graphics with each next-gen release. Infinite Undiscovery looked like crap, Star Ocean: The Last Hope looked alright, and Resonance of Fate actually has some pretty nice visuals. The characters are way more detailed than anyone in past titles, plus the towns and environments are detailed down to the last gear and bolt. Note to Square Enix: Even though the towns in game are 3D on a 2.5D ‘plane’, they’re still rendered in HD graphics. Tri-Ace obviously doesn’t know that it takes too much time and effort to include towns in their next-gen RPGs. Perhaps Square Enix needs to give someone a call and learn a thing or two.

Speaking of Final Fantasy XIII, many gamers have complained that the title featured two of the worst opening hours of any RPG released on the PS3. I guess those gamers in question haven’t played Resonance of Fate yet. At least something action-packed is going on in FF XIII, unlike Resonance of Fate, which has you delivering a suitcase and taking a fake rose to a grave. Whee.

When it comes down to it, I’m sad to say that I’m mildly disappointed in Resonance of Fate. I was overly-hyped for the game, hoping it would deliver a new and unique RPG experience for me to love. While the battle system receives two thumbs up for trying, the rest of the game receives a thumbs down. The steep difficulty might turn off casual RPG fans, though hardcore RPG fans will enjoy the challenge. It’s hard to recommend Resonance of Fate to all the RPG fans out there, seeing as how there are much better RPG options out now for the PS3. Resonance of Fate will be played by few, remembered by fewer, and ultimately will be known more for what it could have been than what it is: another just above-average RPG from Tri-Ace.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Nolan North shines as Vashryon

Original and innovative battle system…

…with a steep learning curve and uneven difficulty

6 out of 10

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