Review by solidsnake0928
"A New "Old Skool" Classic"
To call this game "Old Skool" is an understatement. This game would have fit in the time line after the old point and click adventures on the PC and before Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior.
Everything in this game is difficult, from choosing which items to keep and which to throw away and winning the massively challenging battles to choosing which of the beautiful damsels you are going to concentrate your affections on.
Riviera offers gamers a change in how their RPG is going to be played. Everything is menu driven and can get frustrating when you run into a particularly tough battle. I thought it was a breath of fresh air to not have to wander the landscape to find my next objective and the battle system is simple and yet very deep at the same time. I was disappointed with the fact that everything, from potions and elixirs to the weapons, except the main character's primary weapon, is consumable, but that is soon forgotten when you have to start dropping items because you can only carry a total of 15 at any time and only 4 into battle. This makes inventory management a mandatory evil and can save you a lot of replaying battles if you do it correctly.
When I play an adventure game, the story is what keeps me playing until the end. And while this game has a very cliched story line that you can see in every Japanese hardcore RPG, it still is very well told and fleshed out in a defined narrative that will keep you hooked right up to the final plot twist that starts with a loss that you really don't want and ends in a final battle that you definitely don't expect.
Dated and repeating graphics are this game's biggest problems. If that statement is true then this game has a lot going for it. The watercolor landscapes will get repeated, several times, but with the sleek elegant battle system and excellent narrative pushing you along, you will not care that the background didn't change from the last scene to the next. However, unlike the backgrounds, the Sprites are very well done and the overlay pictures of the characters really show emotion and decent development. When the final plot twist happens and the main character suffers a loss, you feel connected to him and the others in his party, and feel the loss for yourself because of the emotion they have shown.
The music is great and the voice acting, understandably short and sparse, is better than that of any other GBA game I have played. While the music can get a little repetitive, it does change from section to section to keep it fresh.
Replay Value 10/10
With five different endings to see and different sections to unlock and complete in the "Extras" Menu, Riviera gives you a lot to do, before you can say you have mastered this game.
Rent or Buy?
If you are a fan of Old Skool RPGs or want something a bit more difficult than the other RPG offerings on the GBA, I recommend this game to you. If you don't fall into the first category, you should borrow or rent this game first.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/17/05
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