Review by tollbooth

"Could'a been, should'a been.. a great game."

Intro: Orphen give you a taste of a real-time action RPG but is hardly a meal. Orphen and crew are shipwrecked on chaos island. The air is thick with monsters and there are a few loose ends to tie up before you can move on.

Gameplay (7/10): Orphen's gameplay is truly unique. It is set up basically like an RPG (and I use the word basically as it is the bare bones.) You can pull of as many moves as you want as the old turn-based system is thrown out the window. Most of the time Orphen is accompanied by two helpers, however, the Gamer has no control (that I can see) over these helpers. You can not access the items menu during battle, nor can you equip your other characters with the few weapons you find throughout the Island. This game play could have been just phenomenal, but it comes off as sluggish, unresponsive and lazy. Battles are few and far between, and it's a pity because they are really a lot of fun. The boss battles are especially fun, but I found that it is almost impossible to die. When not engaged in a real-time battle, the characters sometimes come across an assortment of baddies to battle with Orphen's Sword and a projectile. Another great concept that ended up being nothing to write home about.

Story (6/10): The story kept me involved the entire time. Shipwrecked on Chaos Island, Orphen and his crew must help either a little boy find his mother, a Dancer find her fiance's grave, or a Mercenary find his lost daughter. Each story is touching in its own right and is deeply in- twined with Chaos Island. It was a pity that Orphen was not able to wrap up each loose end in one play through, because you end up having to beat the game three times to see the real ending. For this, I give a good story a six.

Graphics (4/10): While this was one of the PS2's original titles, there is still no excuse for how bad the graphics can be at times. I felt like I was playing a PSX game. However, the game has it's shinning moments. Some of the boss animations are really neat. However, some of the environments are so sloppy and blocky that I didn't know what I was looking at. It's best to just close your eyes and press on.

Sound (2/10): Some of the worst voice acting I have ever heard. It gets two points only because there was voice acting and not just script.

Music (8/10): One of the best parts of the game. I found myself humming a few tunes in the shower. It was touching when it needed to be and fast-paced when a battle was a'foot.

Playtime: You can look forward to a good 12 hours on this game. For me, the hardest part about the game were some of the jumps. The controls are so clunky that a mere jump here and there came close to ending my run forever.

Replay: Since the game has three loose ends to tie up, the replay is pretty high. However: after those are fixed I see no reason to continue. There are a few movies and pictures to unlock, but nothing to split hairs over.

Extra: I have to give this game an extra point for its camera. Orphen had a feel to it that Activision rushed through it faster than greased meatloaf down a metal slide, but it's simplistic camera was fantastic. It was easily maneuverable and always in the right place. I suffer from horrible dizzy spells, and I've found that Orphen is one of the few next-gen games that hasn't sent me spinning at least once.

Final Recommendation: I wouldn't pay more than 8 bucs for this game, but I would suggest you play it. If anything, it is a reflection on what RPG's could very well be in the future. It was a great recipe, but there just ain't enough sugar in the dough- if you know what I mean. Definitely rent it though, and give it a whirl.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/28/04

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