Review by Lucied1
"One of the most overlooked games on the PS2."
Back in 2001, the Playstation 2 didn't have many games to thrill all the RPG fans out there. One RPG, though, that most people didn't even know existed at the time, was Ephemeral Fantasia.
A story very different to the genre, this one is devoid of almost every cliche. Ephemeral Fantasia follows a young man named Mouse who gets invited to a place called Pandule Island, at a request to play his guitar (named Pattimo) at a wedding ceremony. When Mouse gets there, he discovers that the island has gone into a time loop, and he seems to be the only one who realizes that he is living the same 5 days over and over and over. Mouse has to find a way to stop the Sephiroth-clone, Xelpherpolis, from reversing time, and to do that he must get the help of various people around the island.
For the time this game was released, these graphics are pretty darn good. Almost on par with Final Fantasy X, the characters have distinct facial expressions, and there are no graphic spikes at all in the game. Whatever you need to see, you'll see. The environment also moves smoothly with the game, so it feels more like a real world than just a game.
The awesome part of Ephemeral Fantasia is how non linear it is. You can go wherever you want, right from the start, and are able to advance the story at your own will. Wanna go level up? Sure. Wanna go shopping around town? Go for it. You can do whatever you want. The only set back to this is the fact that time is looping, so after 5 days, you go back to the first day losing all your items and accessories (though there is a way around that).
The battles are similar to most RPGs. You walk around, screen changes with flashy colors, you're engaged in ATB, or Active Time Battle. The battle system is pretty similar to something you'd find in a Final Fantasy game. There are 3 characters allowed in a battle at one time. The characters have a bar that fills up, and when it gets filled up, you can select a move to execute. What's different about this, though, is that different moves can effect how long it takes your bar to fill up again, which leads to some strategic thinking.
Skills are learned as you use another skill enough times. Some skills can be learned from other characters as they use them as well, similar to Chrono Trigger. There's even one battle skill that lets you go wherever you want to go on the island with the press of a button.
The controls are fairly simple. Moving around uses either the joystick, no D-pad in this game. X-button executes actions, Circle button cancels, etc.
You could have a blast even when replaying this, though you may have to wait a while after playing it the first time through so you don't get burned out.
Overall I give this game a 9/10, it's definitely one of the most overlooked, under rated PS2 RPGs available. It loses a point because it's kind of short.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/26/04
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