Review by Kakarot181
"A great plot, but only a decent game"
Activision's Orphen: Scion of Sorcery is the story of an incredibly powerful sorcerer, his two pupils, and three mysterious wanderers as they try to unravel the mystery that is Chaos Island. This Playstation 2 game is based off a Japanese anime that was popular in it's home country, but never really took off in America. In this game, you'll be able to fight in 51 fierce encounters with your enemies, play three unique storylines, cast over 30 different spells, and view over a half dozen anime cutscenes. While Orphen is marketed as an RPG, it's really more of an action/adventure game. Before I can really review this game, it probably would be best if you knew a little bit about the main characters.
Orphen: Despite being very sarcastic, immature, and lazy, Orphen is undoubtedly a very powerful sorcerer. He was trained at the legendary Tower of Fangs, but he has long since turned his back on the old order and has ventured out into the world. When he's not fighting monsters or giving pointers to his pupils, he makes a living through his work as a loan shark. Despite the fact that he has no desire to be a hero, you can count on Orphen to more then hold his own in a fight.
Magnus: The younger and more respectful of Orphen's pupils, Magnus has shown great potential as a sorcerer despite his young age. He is always willing to do whatever it takes to please his master, but both he and Orphen know that Magnus has to grow a backbone to fully realize his potential.
Cleo: Despite the fact that she's one of Orphen's pupils, that doesn't mean that she shows any respect to either her master or her fellow student. Cleo is what you could call a spoiled brat who's only looking to challenge herself. Even though she seems to be slightly weaker then Magnus, she has already claimed to have learned all that she can from Orphen. Now, she just follows him claiming that she's his partner. However, when a fight comes, she's usually willing to let Orphen take the lead.
Zeus: An incredibly powerful swordsman who works as a mercenary, Zeus is probably only second to Orphen in battle skill. He wields a massive sword that looks heavier then Cleo, and appears to be a veteran of many battles.
Sephy: A very beautiful dancer who somehow has an impressive fighting ability. It seems odd that such a woman would go to Chaos Island all by herself. What could she want to do there?
Mar: A young and talented musician who spends all of his time looking for his long lost mother. All he has to remember her by is a song that she played when he was just a baby.
Volcan and Dortin: They're two brothers who owe Orphen a very large sum of money. It's because of their claim to be able to pay him back that this whole adventure begins in the first place.
The one thing that you must remember in this game is that the characters are crucial. It's not like the many games out there where someone could be removed and have the plot still work. Anyway, that's enough about the cast. Let's get on with the review!
Plot: 10/10 - This is the strongest part of the game. The plotline is very well written, and you won't see a plot twist coming even if it's just an inch away. The characters in this game are also very well developed and you actually feel sorry for them when trouble occurs.
Gameplay: 4/10 - While I like the idea of this game's unique battle system, its controls are rigid. Also, the character movements while not in battle are somewhat frustrating in that they sometimes don't respond.
Graphics: 8/10 - The graphics in this game are somewhat realistic, and the characters and monsters are in great detail. However, the picture quality becomes slightly fuzzy when you're fighting a large group of monsters.
Sound Effects: 7/10 - The sound effects weren't fantastic, but they weren't bad either. There's nothing really worth mentioning here.
Music: 10/10 - The music was great and fit in with the game perfectly.
Difficulty: 5/10 - While there are several hard bosses in this game, most of the main enemies that you face are fairly easy to beat. Had Activision put random battles in the game, it would have made the game much more enjoyable.
Overall: 7/10 - Orphen: Scion of Sorcery is just a step above average. It had the ability to be a great game, but there were just too many minor problems in it to be considered a classic. However, I think that this series has a good enough premise to make another game or two out of it.
Rent or buy? Rent the game if you just want to play a fairly good action/adventure game. But it if your an anime fan.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 09/04/03
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