Review by HyperTails86
"Koorong - City of a thousand stories..."
Introduction: When I first picked up this game, I remembered the movie I saw of it 6 months before, with that wonder theme music and the appearance of the characters. I knew that when I played it, I wouldn't be leaving it behind for a long time, and you know what? I was right.
Gameplay: The game's battles seemed to follow that of a traditional RPG, but with several twists. I'll describe 3:
First, say goodbye to your precious level system, because your characters stats level up individually.
Second, there are a lot of ways to acquire different abilities: for spells, you can purchase some, and learn them all, but since the spells are split, you can't learn all of them. If you want light magic, you can't have any dark magic, and vice versa. you learn fighting and sword techniques by using a sword or a punch to attack in battle. You can learn monster abilities and Mystic abilities from other monsters, and Mech abilities are set right from the beginning. Some weapons have their own abilities built right into them. I'd go on with things like combos, but by then this review would exceed its word limit. Anyway...
Third, if you've played games like Ultimate SaGa or if you played Saga Frontier 2, you'll learn what they all have in common: Life points. Basically, the thing about them in this game is that you can't lose them, especially if you're the main character. If you lose them for your main character, game over right then and there, it doesn't matter if you got KO'ed. DON'T LOSE THEM.
Even though previous turn based games seemed pretty easy, you sure as heck do NOT wanna assume the same here. Losing life points is simple, and the learning curve is hard, depending on the character you start with (and when you start this game, you BEST start with Blue). Status effects run rampant, and sudden death moves are common. Going to the wrong places when beginning this can mean a quick ownage on your behalf.
The control is simple, not really much complexity. Oh, for those of you who like completing your games, prepare for an RPG that'll last you around 140 hours, because that's what you're gonna get.
Story: Remember the title of this review? Narrow that number down to 7, because you'll only be covering 7 different stories in this game. The stories vary in length and genre, but they all maintain themes you'd see in an anime.
Red: Red is driving with his father one day, and is driven off of the road. His father is killed, and he is left to fend off the assailant. Before this assassin deals the boy a final blow, the superhero, Alkarl, flies in and saves the boy, then gives him super powers. Great action.
Lute: After living with his mom for a long time, Lute leaves his home to find a job, and vows not to return until it's found. Very short, but this is the second most difficult character to follow just because of that.
Asellus: After being run over by the Mystic King, Asellus is converted into a Half Mystic, only to become the next mistress. A very dark, tearful story.
Blue: Blue just graduated from magic school, being the most powerful student, but still living in the shadow of his brother, Rouge, who was graduating at a rival university at the exact same time. Now, he must set out to learn more magic in order to kill his brother. It seems boring at first, but you learn a lot by the end.
Riki: His home planet is on the verge of extinction. Now, in order to save it, he must gather seven rings to grant his wish. This story is long and hard.
T260G: A robot that forgot its function. He is found in a junkyard one day by a little boy. After saving the boy with the help of the swordsman, Gen, he sets off to find his purpose. Very cool, especially since in this quest, you go to more places that aren't normally reachable than in any other quest.
Emilia: Her fiance is murdered by a mysterious man, and she is arrested because of it. Now, she sets out to seek revenge. Think soap opera/anime when you play this, and remember that she is the weakest character to start off as.
Those are seven previews. And don't forget that the other characters you meet up with have storylines as well.
Graphics/Sound: The music in this game is unforgettable, especially the boss music. There are four different bosses music, and different pieces for each final boss. The graphics, while seemingly unimpressive to those who simply watch screenshots, are wonderful and unique in motion. The game is sprite-based and adopts an anime type style. characters out of battle mainly only have moving sprites, waiting sprites, and occasionally sprites that express their current emotion. In battle, the enemy sprites have attack mode, ready mode, waiting mode, and hurt mode. Character sprites have ready mode, attacking mode, defense, hurt, and faint. The game itself moves a lot faster than RPGs at the time, and character movement is almost like liquid. You can blast through battle menus in about a second. The games graphics doesn't really push the Playstation to the limit, but it does certainly get the job done in a very pretty way.
Play Time/Replayability: Each story lasts about 10-20 hours, not counting Riki's which is around 30, so if you plan to do everything, prepare to dedicate over a hundred hours to do it. There is a secret for completing everyone's story, so you may want to replay it with all the characters before shutting it away.
Final Recommendation: Next to Valkyrie Profile, this was my favorite game on the Playstation. It's definitely a hard game, though, and it is long, so if you're willing to dedicate hours upon hours of playing, then by all means, buy it. Otherwise, just stay away.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/06/03
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