You start a game viewing a map of the wondrous world of Orsterra; it’s here that you’ll choose one of eight travelers for your journey. Moving from one character to the next on the map will give you some information on that character. Along with some background information, you’ll also be given their Name, Profession, Path Action and Talent. The character you choose will determine whereabouts in Orsterra you’ll start your journey. It doesn’t matter which character you choose to start with, as they all start on level one.
As you progress with your character and make your way around the world of Orsterra, you’ll be able to unlock new characters. Which ones you unlock first will be determined by your first choice of character, their starting position and the path you then take around Orsterra. I decided to play as Olberic, a warrior and once-proud knight of Hornburg, who now serves as a master-at-arms for a remote mountain village. Olberic’s story starts eight years ago in a bloody coup in in the lands of Hornburg, where his liege, King Alfred, is slain by someone he called friend and brother, Erhardt!
Now eight years later in a remote mountain village, Olberic awakes from his sleep, like so many nights since his King was slain, having had the same dream about the day that his friend betrayed him and his King. Nowadays he helps the villagers by teaching the young men how to wield and handle a sword, and in defending the village from bandit raids. A young whippersnapper named Philip comes calling, with word that the Village Headman would like to talk with you. So, you leave your home, taking in the brisk mountain air as you make your way through the village to see what the headman of the village wants. This is where your journey begins ...
Each of the eight characters has their own story, split into chapters. As you progress, more character chapters will appear on the world map; it also lets you know the recommended level a character should be when attempting that chapter. When you visit one of the characters by travelling to where they reside, you can tell who they are by the green speech bubble above them. After talking with them you can then add them to your group (you can have a maximum of four members in your party at a time while you travel around Orsterra). Although your party can consist of four members, you’ll only be able to change three of them; the character you choose from the start can’t be swapped for another group member.
You can swap group members in and out of your party by speaking to the barman at taverns. The barman also offers you certain options: Equipment, Hear a Tale, Restore Reputation and Travel On. The recommended levels will increase as your group’s experience and levels increase. You’ll need to complete a character’s Chapter One. In doing so, that character will then join your group, and their second chapter will be revealed somewhere. Your new member will start on level one and may be quite some levels behind the rest of your group, so you’ll need to level them up as quickly as possible. Playing through the first chapter will give you the chance to level them up; then they can catch up reasonably quickly. At the end of the chapters you’ll engage in a fight with a boss of some type.
The characters all have different Path Actions, which can be used to Inquire, Steal, Purchase, Challenge, Summon etcetera. These Path Actions depend on the character. Olberic can challenge folks to a duel, where he’ll go one-on-one in battle. Tressa can use Purchase to maybe get you a lower price by haggling with folks. Therion can steal items from folks, and selecting this option will give you a percentage of how successful you may be if you attempt to steal something. If you happen to fail when using certain Path Actions, then your reputation in that village will decrease. This can be repaired by visiting a tavern and speaking to the barkeep. The Path Actions are very useful and can be used to overcome obstacles, so take advantage of them whenever you can.
The characters also have Talents which can help in battles, opening certain chests, concocting potions and destructive substances, or spotting money left behind from fallen adventurers or merchants. Some can be used in battle, while others can be used while wandering from screen to screen. To help you even more, each character has Skills they can learn, which can be purchased with Job Points that you gain as you progress and are successful in battles. You have a few skills to choose from, and after each one you purchase, the number of job points required for buying another will increase. Once you have purchased four skills, you will unlock a Support Skill. There are more support skills available to you after learning, five, six and seven skills.
As you travel around the world of Orsterra, you’ll encounter random battles with various enemies. When in battle you have several options to choose from, depending on the character: Attack, Job Skills, Summon, Defend, Item, Flee. Depending on the character, you may be able to swap between two weapons with which you can attack your enemies. Job skills vary, again depending on the character, and there could be several options to choose from. You can use items that you have in your inventory, such as items to replenish health or skill points. Each new turn of a character in battle will give you one battle point, up to a total of five. You can use these points to upgrade your attacks, although if you do use these points to bolster your attacks then you will not receive a battle point upon your next turn.
In the many villages you come across, you will find people with orange-coloured speech bubbles. These are side quests that you can participate in and earn rewards of some sort. Using Alfyn’s Path Action, Inquire will allow you gather gossip from the villagers. This gossip can lead to discounts at the inn, being able to buy new weapons, or finding items hidden around the village. Once you have visited a village or town, you can then fast travel back to it should you wish to at any time by selecting it on the world map from the menu screen.
Also on the menu screen you’ll find a Journal, where you can find information on that character. Inventory is where all your items, weapons and armour etcetera are stored. With Healing you can use a character’s healing skill in between battles if required. Equipment is where you can equip new weapons, armour and accessories. In Skills you can use your job points to unlock new skills and support skills. Status gives you details on your character’s attributes, weapons, Path Action, Talents, Primary Job and how many Job Points you currently have, as well as how many experience points are needed until your next level up. The World Map is also here; this will show you where you have been, but the map is under a fog of war, so you’ll have to venture out in order to reveal what lies ahead.
In the Game Options you’ll find: Text Language (English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Japanese), Voices (Japanese or English), Message Speed (Default or Quick Vibration, Enabled or Disabled), Remember Battle Cursor Position (Revert to Original or Remember), Graphic Options (Display Resolution), Display Mode (Full Screen, Windowed), Preset Rendering Options (Low, Medium, High, Highest), Rendering Resolution (Low or High), Rendering Options (Anti-Aliasing, Post-Processing, Shadows, Textures, Effects and Auto), Corner Shadows (Enabled or Disabled), Screen Brightness slider and Restore Default Settings. In Volume you have sliders for Voice, Music, Sound Effects and Ambient Sounds. You then have Gamepad, Keyboard and Mouse options. There are twenty-four game save slots available to you and you can save the game at various points around the world.
I love this type of game and so far after sixteen hours game-time I’m loving playing this one! I like the eight different storylines and the different character types. The graphics are great, the stories of each of the characters so far are good, the music and sounds are also great. I know I’ve got quite a way to go yet but I will most certainly enjoy what lies ahead in the game.
I know some people say that the price is way too high, so to those people I would say - wait until it’s on sale. I remember spending fifty quid on Final Fantasy VII way back in 1997 for the PlayStation. I didn’t bat an eye at the price, especially after the number of hours I spent playing it, so it all boils down to how you value your game time. I’d certainly recommend you get the game and if you consider the price too high then wait until it’s on sale. The only negative thing I can say at this point is that while using my Xbox360 pad and trying to switch between two weapons, sometimes it would move down to flee and select it so I would then leave mid-battle. This might not happen with you; it could be that just like mine, your gamepad is knackered and on its way out.
BIG THUMBS UP!!!
Review written by Piston Smashed™ for Zeepond.com!
Positives+ Great graphics
+ Good music and sounds
+ Multiple characters
+ Multiple storylines
Negatives- Switching between two weapons it would select flee instead
Set out on an epic journey as you travel through the wonderful world of Orsterra, unlocking eight different stories from eight very different characters.
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Zeepond Rating: 9/10
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