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For summary judgment, skip to the very bottom.

I'll never understand Sega's game release date logic. They often release some simply outstanding games (Skies of Arcadia, Valkyria Chronicles, Sonic Adventure, NiGHTS on Sega Saturn, Shining Force, and now this), but when they release them, it's amidst larger, more notable games, and as a result the Sega games get kicked to the curb. In particular they did that with Valkyria Chronicles - it was released, surrounded by two of the largest games at the time, Call of Duty: World at War and Gears of War 2. It never stood a chance. Nevermind the fact that Sega never even bothered to advertise Valkyria Chronicles in GameStop or Amazon or any other game store. I only knew about it because I specifically target RPGs. We've got people who are just now playing the game, realizing that they skipped over a classic.

Resonance of Fate is/will be such a game too.

Overshadowed by the hype that is Final Fantasy XIII and God of War 3, I fear that this one will go under the radar and not get played for two years like its brother. If you're reading this review, hopefully you're at least curious, or maybe you just weren't impressed by Final Fantasy XIII. I suppose it's possible you already beat that game and moved on. In either case, this review is going to be a bit difficult to follow, because I have to exert extra effort into how to express what I think about this game. Not bad, just...different.

RoF takes place in the distant future, where humanity has so destroyed the world that the majority of the population is gone and dead. Before their end they created a large machine, called Basel, that is designed to purify and replenish the earth. It was not able to do this, as the remaining population decided just to live on some of the levels of Basel and ended up ruining it. It's livable, but not able to do what it's designed to do. The story unravels slowly as you are introduced to the various characters of the game. Unlike other RPGs, there is no "meeting" your party. You start with all three of the characters you'll be using, and though one or two may leave or be otherwise not available at times, generally you're working with the three. There's a reason for this - the battle engine, which I'll get to later, works best when you have a full staff. IT's not for nothing though: there's something to be said about a game that actually shows its male characters watching porn while the female character is taking a shower...then cracks jokes about the size of said female character's breasts (no, there is no nudity displayed!)

The graphics in RoF remind me a lot of Infinite Undiscovery, Star Ocean: The Last Hope or Magna Carta 2 - where everything looks like the screen is at maximum contrast and sharpness and things just "pop" at you. This can be good or bad - it's an acquired taste and certainly not nearly as visually stunning as Final Fantasy XIII, but it's not a horrible looking game, either. In fact some of the towns and buildings you'll visit are quite detailed, down to things moving in the background and the changing from day to night (something very few RPGs do anymore, by the by) as you adventure. There are a given number of game engine cutscenes, and a select few CGI full motion ones. What is there, is fairly short and not designed to be the focal point of the game by any means. The cutscenes last barely a minute each, and are snippets of the overall story. The majority of it is told through the quests and the dialogue between the characters, so if you're not a fan of reading, you might want to skip this game.

Don't expect to see the usual swords and spears of other games. RoF uses guns and other artillery to get the job done. These guns can be customized with different parts to make your characters as powerful as you want them to be. Your weapons also have levels of their own besides the characters' levels. As you level up, you gain various skills and enhancements that make your characters more potent in battle...and trust me, you'll need them. Some battles are extremely simple, but you get to bosses that use certain strategies that will push your skills to the limit. In regular battles there are times you seem invincible; some bosses can bring you to your knees with a few shots. It's that random. You can run and shoot in given directions, jump and shoot your enemy into the ground, or juggle your enemy into the air from below. There are a variety of other techniques that you can leverage to assist you, all of which require a lot of multitasking to do. It's not the type of game you can button mash your way through - maybe a few of the regular enemies, definitely not the bosses. For example, you might run, but be stopped by a boss who levels you with a major attack. Depending on how much damage you'd taken up to that point, you might be sent into critical mode, which makes you so weak that all you can do is shoot and run away; no fancy tricks. One more hit, you're dead, and have to try all over again.

Without going into too much detail about the battle engine, know that it feels like a mish-mash of a number of games from the past: Max Payne, for the acrobatic gunslinging; Wild ARMs, just because; and a pinch of Dark Cloud, in that the enemies you defeat hold the key to "rebuilding" the world around you. As you slay each enemy, you'll gain energy hexes that are used to navigate the world. This naturally forces you to do battle in order to advance in the game, and discourages you from running from every enemy. You really shouldn't be about running anyway...because you'll come up against a boss that will mop the floor with you in short order if you don't keep your party sufficiently powered up. If you're feeling adventurous, RoF features a number of difficulty levels that you can unlock as you beat the game, each one incrementally more challenging than the ones before it, with the base level being difficult enough as to frustrate most reviewers. If you're a glutton for punishment, the game will give you what you came for. However, I want to warn you: The battle controls are a bit difficult to learn. There are so many controls that make use of basically every single button that they can be overwhelming. There is a full on training section; use it. DO NOT try to just jump into the game and start playing without going to the training, because you will get killed and you will get confused, I promise you!!!

Resonance of Fate is a throwback to older games such as Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man and the NES versions of Metal Gear, where you'll encounter bosses that are so cheap that you feel compelled to defeat them no matter the cost. To the game's credit, it never feels like you're underpowered or underleveled, because you were forced to grind to unlock the energy hexes. But it's the tactics used by the bosses that will frustrate you - attacks that take nearly 10x the damage you're accustomed to taking up to that point, attacks that go the full range of the map, and attacking you from behind cover. But it gets better: the game rubs this dynamic in further when you die, because you're given essentially three options. Load your game, which means you're strolling back however far from wherever you last saved; Retry, which lets you try again to beat the boss without walking back to him at a cost of 200 Rupees, or Retry in Hero Mode, which lets you try again to beat the boss without walking back to him AND gives you enough power to do some major damage, at a cost of a staggering 20,000 Rupees. It's entirely possible these amounts go up as you progress each chapter; I didn't die enough times to verify. But you can't help but be absolutely livid at the notion that a boss used a cheesy tactic to take you out, costing you precious money to get a second shot at him. It actually encourages and energizes you to beat the snot out of him when you regenerate. What's worse though, is that if any one of the three characters dies, it's Game Over. There is no reviving in this game, which just adds to the challenge.

IF I had to note the most impressive thing about the game, it's the music. Clearly, Star Ocean was inspirational when deciding what tracks to compose for this game, because it's just as well orchestrated and intricate as SO. Every theme you encounter has an epic feel without being too overpowering or loud; and the battle music changes depending on what you're doing at any given time. I can assure you that I'll be getting the soundtrack...that is, if one is ever released, which it probably won't be.

In summary: do I recommend it? Absolutely. This is a sleeper hit for sure. It's a shame that it is being overlooked in favor of other more notable games, and it's even more a shame that Sega has not pushed this one harder. It almost seems like Sega has just stopped emphasizing the US market since the failure of the Dreamcast which is unfortunate: if not for them, we wouldn't have the types of games we have now. Resonance of Fate is a must try. Even if you don't feel comfortable buying it just yet, rent it at least.
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on September 2, 2010
First of all let me say that this game is not for everyone. It is not any easy game, the battle system takes a lot of time and patience to master. (at least it did for me, and I have been playing RPGs for a good 20+ years) So if you are looking for an RPG that is easy to pick up and run with you might want to look some place else. That being said, this game is wonderfully challenging, and deliciously different. It is not another Final Fantasy clone, it is something much better, and much much deeper. It took me a good 10 hours before I figured out the battle system well enough to pull off a Tri-attack, and another 10 hours before I actually 'got' it. Once I did get it was just so satisfying and I was instantly in love with this game. I love the characters, I love the challenge, I love collecting hair dye & eyeglasses, and upgrading my weapons, and most of all I love the story. This is a beautiful game.
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on July 8, 2011
WOW! I am in Iraq and I was so bored after I had gone through all of my rpg's on the xbox 360. I finally did a little research on the web and found this game Resonance of Fate. It looked good but I had never heard of it before so I was skeptical. I have been playing it for a week now and I love it!

-Great customization of the weapons
-Unique world with original enemies. I fought a little gremlin with a tire on his head. I fought a mafia boss. i even used exploding enemies against themselves as i shot the gas tanks on their back, instantly knocking out the enemies in the proximity.
-The Arena is a great place to level up, practice, or make money. I wish this was in all rpg's.
-You never stop changing tactics. No one way is the best way in every situation so you are constantly on your toes learning to most efficient way to defeat enemies. I get bored of games that use the same (buff my team, debuff the enemy, kill the little guys, then kill the big guy) Resonance of Fate keeps your team on the move with different obstacles to use toward your advantage. Barriers to stop bullets, ramps to use to get the high ground, and even barrels to lure your enemies into a little firey surprise!

The only thing about this game that is bad is the lack of advertisement Sega has given it. This game deserves much more respect than it gets.

GET THIS GAME!
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on September 23, 2014
Very addictive and fun after you get used to it. This game play style felt entirely new to me and I really enjoyed it. The extra costumes and gun customization really make it feel like you can make your own experience.
Only downside I felt to this game was how there are so many difficulties and you have to start completely fresh each play-through except for costumes, and getting all the rare gun parts again just wasn't as fun.
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on December 30, 2010
Essential points:
Graphics - 5 stars
Character Design - 4 stars
Ease of Use - 3.5 stars
Battle System - 4 stars
Story - 5 stars
Enjoyment Factor - 5 stars

I don't have a very big game budget, so I have to choose my titles with care. After doing a bunch of research and reading all the reviews, I decided to try Resonance of Fate.

-The graphics are lovely. Ebel City is a wonderfully layered steampunk setting, its small size offset by its detail. At first it was almost overwhelmingly busy, but as I got used to each layer of detail, there was still one more and one more after that to see. Beautiful. The world map is totally functional in design, but it suits the mood of the game.

-I didn't like the choice to make all of the playable characters blond, particularly since two of them are shown in the beginning cutscenes with dark hair. For one of them, this makes sense, since he's "in hiding" and supposed to be dead. I don't understand the rationale, but it's still workable. All in all, the characters are attractive, distinctive, and have believable personalities that interact well.

-I bought this game with the strategy guide, because I like to have backup if I can't figure something out on my own. The negative reviews definitely are not true; there are 16 total tutorials offered in the arena area, and I highly recommend doing each until you understand it. They are repeatable, and for my first few game sessions I repeated at least one tutorial (mostly tri-attack) for review before moving out into the world map. Even with all this, there will be times when you get whipped and have no idea how it happened. Just keep trying!

-The battle system is easy to get the hang of, but very hard to master. The vast variety of options available to you means you can enter the same area against the same enemies and begin the battle in the same way, but one time you win handily and the next time you get handed your heiny on the way out. The trick is paying attention to the changes - what works and what doesn't? If you pay attention to detail, the combat system is much easier to understand.

-I am not a "hard-core" gamer, just a major dabbler. I played and loved all the Final Fantasies (that were released in the U.S.) from 1 through 13, excepting 11 which I played but which was kind of terrible. I've played JRPGs from Lunar: Silver Star Story to Eternal Sonata, and I love the genre. I don't typically like the gun based ones, hence my hesitation to buy Resonance. I'm incredibly glad I did, though. Story is the main reason I enjoy playing these types of games, and Resonance's story is more sci-fi than most RPGs I've played, making it a fun change of pace.

-Despite occasional spikes of frustration, this game is entirely enjoyable if you take the time to figure it out. I'm so very glad I did. If you want something mindless to play, this is not, repeat NOT the game for you. You do have to strategize, to think several steps ahead of both what you are doing and what your enemies are doing. If you aren't capable of putting in that effort, don't bother buying this game, because you won't like it. If you are, get this game NOW. (I bought this game last week (before Christmas '10) at 13.99, and the price has increased twice since then. Just a word to the wise.) I'd also strongly recommend the strategy guide; since this game has not been as popular as others of its genre, online walkthroughs are scant.

Cheers!
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on April 9, 2011
First off, I have been playing this game since it first came out and I am on my 4th play through , so it's replay value can be pretty high.
This game came out around the same time as final fantasy 13 and was put aside because IGN, Gamespot and Game informer hyped final fantasy through the roof knowing that it wasn't any good. This is the game they should have been excited about had they not been payed to say other wise.
Resonance of Fate is a tactical real time / semi-turn based rpg action game, i dont know how else to describe it. You go about daily jobs and missions while experiencing character development and a story that you piece together. The world is based on a tower with many floors that you fill in with hex pieces that recreate the area hidden.
The game lets you customize any weapon with grips guards barrels clips and sights as you see fit. Also you can customize the appearance of your three heroes.
Game play consists of setting a path for a character, then pressing a button to make them start running to said point, as you run you pick targets and gun them down in a big flashy noisy way that blows any other rpg attack out of water, as you do this you can jump into the air and keep blasting until you hit the ground. All enemies have shields but with the scratch damage made by using sub machine guns you can nullify those shields making the next direct hit a kill. You would probably just want to watch a you tube video of this cause its too much to go into here.
So in conclusion I love this game, people say its bad but its so not, on here alone there are so many people giving reasons why its the best in thought out rpg entertainment. SO, awesome story, great characters, super good voice acting, innovative game play, amazing graphics, hundreds of enemy types that are really quite bad ass looking {no blue bunnies throwing rocks here ff fans}, hours upon hours of game play my first play through took 63 hours and amazing action based combat that will leave a feeling of nothing has ever done this , this well and probably wont, all hail SEGA
thank you
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on July 7, 2011
The game reviews are pretty accurate. You will die MANY times in this game until you grind/level up your players and grasp the concept of combat in this game. The combat is unique since it involves a mixture of turn-based and real time JRPG combat. It can be frustrating sometimes. There is an arena that teaches you the bare basics of combat, but it's the combat that seems to be the kicker in this game. It will either keep you wanting to perfect your approach or make you want to slam your controller down to the floor. This game is not particularly easy. A lot of patience and strategy is required. Again, I was practically confused on the storyline of this game. Then again, most JRPG storylines are hard for me to grasp and it could be a culture clash thing or not. The gunfights are spectacular and the game reminds me of Final Fantasy with guns and grenades. After a while, you'll bypass/ignore all the fancy gun toting flips and jumps and focus more on your next move. It's all about strategy, 'scratch' damage, hero actions, tri-attacks, etc. etc. If you have the patience and tolerance (since it's guaranteed that you will die a lot in this game), this game is quite rewarding and a joy to play overall.
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on January 18, 2014
At first, when I had to learn the controls, I was SO frustrated. It can be hard to learn but once you do, it's so much fun! I love it. Making this review, I'm reminded I want to play it again. The story is so great and it's so fun and unique. I'm glad I bought it c:
It has a quirky final fantasy feel but is easier and unique :D
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on September 12, 2013
When humanity has grown too large and life can no longer be properly sustained on Earth, measures must be taken....

Story

In an unknown era, the human population has increased to such a number that the planet has been ravaged by pollution and depleted of resources; people are forced to live on an ancient structure. Peoples' lives must be controlled, their lives and deaths in the hands of an unknown God, Zenith. In order to control when people die, a system was put into place to easily control the population via a special stone that each person has assigned to them, a Quartz, upon its destruction, that person would die.

A young women, Frieda, believing people should be allowed to live there lives how they want, free of destiny, spoke of her dream often her ideals attracted many followers, the most loyal being made Cardinals, she was seen as both a visionary and a radical. Because of this, she was ultimately killed. Cardinal Rowen continued to carry her ideals more so than the others, he was determined to change the system Zenith had in place and commissioned Cardinal Sullivan to find a way to do so.

Graphics

As is expected from a JRPG, the characters have a bit of an anime look, much like Final Fantasy games, but don't overdo it and characters are expressive and quirky. A big focus point for many is the environment, many believe it is too grey and dull, but come on, how many machines, gears, buildings and gravel do you see that are something other than black, grey or white? Not many, I'd assume.

This game is focused on technology, machines and sci-fi, or Steampunk as some call it, and the color fits right in with that classification. The areas will become very repetitive after a bit though, as many areas seem to be a copy and paste of previous sections you've already visited, even more true for the battle areas, which vary between 2 and 3 different layouts per type of layout.

Sound/Voice/Music

If you noticed, this game is done by Tri-Ace, the folks that did Star Ocean and some others, and the music reflects that, meaning it is very well done. There are two types of music that play, your standard normal battle music and your hyped up techno-y music that plays when you go into Hero Action, both work well.

Voices are done very well, with the exception of whenever someone cries (I've never liked characters crying, as they always sound so forced. Kill their cat, maybe then they'll get a bit of emotion going....). Zephyr also does very well when he's angry, which is most of the time, plus he's voiced by Scott Menville, who does Robin on Teen Titans, Lloyd in Tales of Symphonia and many other VO's. I love that guy.

Controls

Controls are fairly simple and require little to no effort to master. In combat, `X' is used to perform a Hero Run or `Hero Action', which allows you to run great distances and build up your attack gauge (more on that soon) faster. `A' either executes an attack when you have at least one gauge filled or begins filling your gauge.

Attacking is done in a seemingly complex way, but after a few battles, you'll have a basic understanding (if you played Eternal Sonata, you'll understand it fairly easily). You have a set time to do whatever you want, you can move, attack, use items, whatever, anything you do depletes your `Action Gauge', but stopping will stop the depletion (unless you get attacked, in which case it continues to deplete).

Enemies are the same, they have a Health bar and Action bar above them so you can see if they are about to attack you or not. The `Hero Action' allows for extended time while allowing you to run great distances and avoid damage from enemy attacks (you can essentially double the time you have to act, allowing to build massive gauges). PRO TIP: Jump at the very end of your `Hero Action' to get an extra second in there, this can help get those few extra charges to get the kill.

Other

Gauge strength depends on your weapon level. Unlike most RPGs, your level is the sum of your Handgun, Machine Gun and Explosive skills (all which can max out at 100), so you can easily level up even if you're level 100 by switching to a different weapon (as each weapon has its own experience requirement and does not rely on the others, i.e. a level 99 Handgun will require 1,000,000 exp to level up, where as a Machine Gun at level 1 will only require 500). So you can easily level the Machine Gun up at high levels and therefore, level your character as well.

As your weapons level up, the amount they can charge also increases (a level 10 gun can charge 10 times, level 20 can charge 20 times, etc) and also enable the use of skills. Skills are unlocked upon reaching a certain weapon level and can only be used if they charge reaches that level, so if a skill is unlocked at Handgun level 20, your charge must reach 20 to use it. Skills range from an increased chance to launch enemies to higher damage.

Experience is earned based on the damage inflicted on enemies, you don't get exp just for killing (or at all technically). If a Machine Gun user inflicts a total of 2,000 damage, they get 2,000 exp on the spot (not at the end of the fight), and same goes for the Handgun and Explosives user. There are ways to increase the exp earned through items and things called `Terminals'.

`Terminals' are simple spots on the map that give you bonus effects in battle, these range from 1.5x EXP, to Double Charge Rate and to Double Rare Item Drop, and can even be linked to allow all of these effects in one battle. Of course, they require a bit of effort to use effectively, and some terminals grant these bonuses to the enemy as well.

The Overworld

One very unique aspect of Resonance of Fate is the ability to customize your guns; this allows you to take a weak and slow gun and affix sights, clips, grips and additional barrels to make them effective weapons of death. The process can be intimidating to those who suck at Tetris, but for those who are good at the game, you'll be able to affix a half dozen sights, 3 or 4 additional barrels and a couple of extra grips to make you guns stupid fast when charging (this is important later in-game).

An example of a fully customized Machine Gun, allowing
for massive charge in a short amount of time

At some point early on, you'll unlock the Arena; anyone who's played an RPG already knows what that entails. For those unaware, the Arena pits you against various combinations of enemies and you fight, simple. Resonance has 50 ranks, getting much tougher the higher you go (duh), after a victory you get a bit of cash and coins that you use in the Arena to purchase rare and helpful items, such as a scope for you gun that increases Charge Speed by 75 and gives you 4 more slots for more power, a must have.

As with most RPGs these days, you can play a New Game+ which you can do on the same difficulty with all your gear (minus key items) or a harder one at the cost of all your items and weapons; there are 16 (yes SIXTEEN) difficulties (only 1 when you first play) and the enemies get stronger as you get weaker, but they do offer more exp to compensate. However since there is no real reason for this extra strain (no extra scenes, no better gear, etc), there's no reason to play it past the standard difficulty.

Achievements

A good chunk of the achievements will be earned through natural progression, but the rest will require extensive grinding to unlock. The toughest, or most time consuming anyway, being to max every Arena battle. To max a battle, you must beat it 10 times, there are 50 battles so that means you'll be doing at least 500 fights in the Arena alone.

Overall

Resonance of Fate is a great breath of fresh air not only into the RPG genre, but into the stale number of RPGs offered on the Xbox 360, anyone who enjoys RPGs, witty back and forth conversations or anything that borders the insane, should check this game out.

9.0/10.0

Pros

- A great new addition to the RPG line-up
- Great voicing with an excellent script
- Fun and challenging combat
- Possibly one of the best openings ever (don't press 'Start' at the title screen)

Cons

- Combat can feel rather tedious if you're in one area for too long
- Not as many weapons as I'd like
- Story doesn't really take off till the end

(c) Andrew Mulligan & lvgrb.blogspot
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on April 30, 2010
Resonance of Fate does all the things Tri-Ace has been trying to accomplish for years. It succeeds in the areas their other games had failed in, topped off with what I believe to be their best combat system on the 360.

Eternal Sonata had a creative battle system and decent characters, but failed in premise, pacing, and (most of the) story.

Star Ocean: TLH had a great battle system, nice visuals, and interesting crafting but had abominable characters, the worst pacing I've ever seen, and a confusing, boring, and unnecessarily long story.

Infinite Undiscovery... Well, frankly it sucked. It was close to broken as far as gameplay, the story was a long string of coincidences with a vague "dumbass saves the world" plot, an unmanageable party system, and one-dimensional characters. I guess if there was anything positive... It looked nice and had nice music. That's really all I got out of it.

Resonance of Fate gets all these things right. I recognize the good aspects of all of their previous titles in this game.

The atmosphere and world they've created in Basel is a new take on the apocalyptic settings found in most FPS as of late, with a creative puzzle-style game mechanic on the world map. The mythos behind the world is slowly revealed, intermixed with the personal day-to-day experiences of your party.

The group of three bounty hunters are together at the beginning, and for the most part they stay together throughout the game. They are all complex characters, complete with reasonable responses to every situation. There is some over-the-top humor, but honestly it doesn't bother me that much. The game also delves into very interesting philosophical and religious questions, focus on fate (topical!) and personal choice vs predestination. The characters might look like your average JRPG characters, but they might surprise you in how they act.

The combat system, which is the core of the game, is very complicated and has been explained extensively in other reviews. I believe it's Tri-Ace's best work to date. In order to get into though, taking all the tutorials and investing in a lot a lot of arena practice is a necessity. Once you get into it (Which is not nearly as long or as difficult as some have said), the combat is fun, deep, and strategic. There are numerous strategies, a variety of weapons, and many useful and/or fun items.

The menus are clear and easy to navigate, the graphics, although not awe inspiring, look average to good for this generation.

My favorite part about this game is its value. I'm well over 50 hours (over halfway through in chapter 10) and it only gets better. There's a lot of content to get through, a lot of excellent story, and a lot of good times to be had.
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