Resonance of Fate: review

There is often a learning curve in games. New mechanics to get the hang of, new implementations of old systems or just methods that aren’t considered to be the norm. Resonance of Fate (known as End of Eternity elsewhere in the world) joins the ranks of games that have a wall of understanding that needs to be penetrated to really get into it, a wall so thick you might need to lay siege to it for a few hours before you even make a dent.

The plot is that of an Earth which has failed to heed Sting’s warning and had an apocalypse of sorts. Poisonous gas now means the only place Humans can exist is in a tower called Basel, which is broken into rich and poor areas and is regulated by a benevolent machine which decides when people die. The focus is on a team of three guns for hire called Zephyr, Vashyron and Leanne who live in the poor levels of Basel but work for the occupants of the rich levels.

From left to right: the moody one, the perverted one, and...the girl one.

Like we mentioned at the start; Resonance of Fate has a very different way of doing things. It can be thought of as an RPG that takes the best of an over the top John Woo gun battle, mixed with stereotypical animé clichés. We would still be trying to explain everything by the time we reached a few thousand words and by then you’d be keeping one eye on the review, and the other on the noose you were tying with your mouse cord; so what follows is an explanation in the simplest possible terms.

Battles are turn based and you can, if you like, simply stand still or move about and fire one of the three weapon types (handguns, machine guns and thrown weapons) but this means the enemy fights back. You can instead use Hero Actions. These use up one bar of the Hero Gauge and allow you to trace a line in the battlefield for your character to dash through. During this headstrong charge they leap and flip about to dodge all incoming attacks and allow you to fire multiple times at multiple enemies. If the Hero Gauge is totally emptied you enter an incredibly vulnerable state, so you need to balance how much you use it with restoring it via destroying shields or body parts of enemies, and defeating them outright. You also need to balance how long you let a single attack charge up to increase the multiplier bonus on it or to have a chance at activating a special skill.

Throw into this already complicated sounding mix two types of damage. Scratch Damage hits high but slowly regenerates and can’t kill an enemy. Real damage hits for tiny amounts but any existing Scratch Damage on the target adds onto it for that hit. That means mixing enough Scratch Damage with real damage on top of it. There’s also Knock-downs, Bonus Hits, Gauge Breaks, and Resonance Attacks. Oh, and let’s not forget gun customisation, clothes customisation (reflected in cutscenes) and levelling (which is determined by the total of your proficiency in each weapon type). Your eyes are starting to glaze over. Needless to say: there is a lot to get to grips with. Also, just when you think you’ve worked it all out (around a few hours in) the enemies will step up a gear and you’ll need to re-think everything you’ve been doing up to that point because it just won’t cut it any more.

Nolan North continues his epic battle with Johnny Yong Bosch for the most video game characters voiced in a lifetime by lending his oft heard vocal cords to Vashyron. As usual he puts in an above average performance and for the most part the rest of the acting is up to scratch too. The music is a little bland, but does have a couple of decent tracks.

For an RPG, the main plot is quite thin – at least until around chapter 8 of 16. It’s a little disappointing given the scope it could have had, but it focuses on the relationship between the three leads more than anything else. Their various back stories are still interesting and sometimes funny (even if they do rely on the comedy punch or kick to the gut a bit too much) and although you’ll work out bits and pieces by yourself pretty early on, the grand scheme of things will take a lot of commitment to see through to the end.

It certainly might be off – putting that time needs to be invested to really understand how to actually play this game, and that a fairly steep difficulty curve as a result might also provoke frustration. Couple this with a slow burning main story and you don’t have a hugely good mix. However, those looking for a 50+ hour challenge or who simply like the mixture of bullet ballet and RPG elements would definitely find satisfaction in Resonance of Fate if they can make it through the initial learning curve.

It’s hard to tell whether Sega were being brave or foolish releasing this so soon after FFXIII, but either way it would be a shame if it were completely overlooked as a result. It does demand patience; but Resonance of Fate deserves a chance if you’re into action RPGs and defying the laws of physics while spraying copious amounts of bullets into enemies.


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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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