End of Serenity Review – Yet Another Handheld RPG (PSP)
The PlayStation Portable may be coming up on a decade since its release in Japan, but don’t tell that to RPG developers. Kemco has released End of Serenity on the PSP, after it spent some time titled End of Aspiration on the Google Play Store on Android, with Natsume publishing. Read on through to find out if this game is worth your time and money.
EoS stars five different protagonists, who are so easily replaceable you can change their names at any time. You’re on a quest to save the world, as a shady-acting gang called The Underworld is looking to harvest the power of the mystic atomigems for their own nefarious uses, and it’s your job to stop them. Using a variety of attacks, skills and super attacks known as “Familiar Spirits,” you plow through your foes. If it all sounds familiar, that’s because it really isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. You slowly level up your characters with ever-increasing stats, and upgrade your weapons and armor as you find or buy pieces.
Graphically, all you SNES buffs will go crazy with nostalgia. EoS looks like it was stripped right out of the 1990s. To be honest, it looks like it uses a generic RPG Maker template, with minimal thought put into level design and menus. There’s no cinematics to speak of, with a whole lot of text for you to read in their place. Audio has been given the same treatment — lackluster, short music tracks play over and over, and by the time you’ve reached your 50th battle, which won’t take long, you’ll be done hearing that same tune.
With a length of 10-15 hours depending on your particular speed, this isn’t exactly a Final Fantasy epic in terms of length. The game may start out with relatively challenging opposition, but in short order the random enemies you encounter do zero damage to your party, and you’re basically just mashing the X button to run through the battle as quickly as possible. If you’re into grinding to see your party become ever-stronger, this is the game for you.
Natsume is currently asking the rather high price of $14.99 for End of Serenity. With its average storyline and characters, this is a hard enough sell. But there are also in-app purchases of a special in-game currency! You can use this currency to buy game-winning items to boost your stats, or unlock dungeons and areas that are otherwise unavailable to you sooner in the game. While you can technically earn everything that these IAPs buy you, it would take countless hours of pointless grinding to do so. This is more insulting when you consider that the very same game originally launched at almost half the price, $7.99. It is now on sale for a measly $3.99. For $15, I’d have expected to at least have some of the in-game premium currency available to me.
The bottom line? If you’re looking for a serviceable JRPG to give you a nice nostalgic feeling, this is it. However, it is hard to recommend the PSP version of the game when the Google Play Store version is currently less than a third of the price. In fact, for that same $15, you can grab the Play version and 1,250 in-game credits, which is enough to purchase at least one of each premium item pack and several premium locations. If you absolutely must play this game on the go, and know that it’s going to be an average experience for an above-average price on this platform, then have at it. Otherwise, wait until an inevitable sale.
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