Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky - PlayStation 4
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- 50 hours of gameplay, power ups, skill customizations, side quests, secret bosses and hidden dungeons await!
- Your choices dictate the fate of your party and offer multiple paths to unique endings.
- Mixing and combining attacks will affect your party chemistry. Trigger special events and attack combos by balancing your Friendship, Affection and Rival levels. What insane skills will you unlock?!
- Each character attack corresponds to a button that unleashes massive devastation. Maximize the punishment you dish out to enemies by building powerful combos!
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Exist Archive: The other side of the sky - PlayStation Vita
12 youths have reached an Underworld called Planet Protolexa. They have been granted immortality but possess the choice to be mortal again. Unfortunately only 11 individuals can be revived, leaving one to be lost forever to the Underworld.
RPG masters tri-Ace present their latest action RPG opus! 12 youths die in a strange explosion in the heart of Tokyo. They awake to find themselves in a mysterious world, where they have been granted immortality and god-like strength. For what purpose have they been brought to this land? What unknown truths will they unravel along their journey?
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Characters and Story - It's a lot of metaphysical stuff involving life and death. Without throwing out major spoilers the story basically involves teenagers being ripped from their world and placed in another and the trials and tribulations that happen to them after that. I found the story, while not thrilling, to be the most interesting aspect of the game. The characters aren't anything to write home about although I found most of them interesting enough.
Exploration - There is an overall map where you can select destinations to travel to. Each destination has an overall quest to complete (such as fully explore the cave or get to the ground floor of the forest). When at a destination exploration in done on a 2D side-scrolling plane. While exploring you have the ability to jump (X button) and attack (circle button). There are mild platforming elements as you can jump over platforms, fall into holes etc. At first you will only be able to do a basic jump with other powers becoming available to you later. Enemies appear in your path and combat is initiated when you run into or attack them. By attacking them in the dungeon screen you can better set yourself up for combat.
Combat - This is the hurdle for me. The game will give you some very brief explanations of the basic mechanics and the general gist isn't hard to get. In combat each character is assigned a face button on the controller. When in the combat phase (one of two phases) you can press the buttons to "queue" character attacks. The limiting factor is "AP" or action points. Each attack a character uses takes action points and once you're out of those, the attack phase ends. In the defense phase enemies attack you and you have the chance to press the face buttons once again to tell your characters to guard, which just reduces the damage they take.
That's the combat in a nut-shell. Press the face buttons and actions are queued up and then carried out. The problem is the system seems so much deeper however the game doesn't make much effort to explain any of it. For my part, I played through many hours of the game just pressing the square button which just had the main character attacking multiple enemies with his sword. This doesn't seem "right" to me however the game doesn't let you know what "right" looks like and so far it has worked for me just fine.
The game mentions to you that enemies also have weaknesses which are represented by icons next to their health bar. Hitting an enemy's weakness with the proper attack gives you an increased chance at getting an item to drop from that creature (I think). The problem for me was the game never said what each weakness symbol meant so I never really knew what I should be attacking with, hence I always just pressed 'square, square, square, square, square' and attacked with Kanata (the main character) almost every time.
To explain it a little differently, imagine you and I just met and I am giving you the opportunity to drive a shiny new car. I tell you "Everything should be fine, the break and accelerator are there, the turn signal there, and the wheel moves like this." You say "OK, not too hard." I agree but also say "However! Be careful and watch the dashboard, there are many lights and they each mean something different." You of course would look at me and say "OK, but what do each of those lights mean?" To which I would say "Off you go! Have fun!" and walk away, you none the wiser as to what those lights really mean. This is what it's like playing this game. Stuff happens, and the lights are on, but you're never really sure if those lights are a sign of something good, bad or otherwise.
I tried searching through the help menu for more information but never really got any of the information I was looking for. Since I don't know if the way I am playing is right or wrong, I keep just trudging along pressing the square button to queue up the same attacks from the same character. So far it's been quite boring but the random insertion of character exposition has been just enough to keep me awake through the boredom.
Looking more into the game after the fact it appears this game plays very similarly to older games called Valkyrie Profile. I recall the names of those games but I never played them. If you happened to play and enjoy those games in the past though, it sounds like you'll enjoy this one too.
One thing I would like to mention that might help new players is to go through the menu options and select each one. The game will only display the initial tutorial screens for things when you select them (and the game will never instruct you to select them).
Overall, it's been a disappointing purchase for me (they can't all be winners though). I might be less bummed about the experience if I bought it for the current price (at the time I am writing this) of $20. I however paid the full $52 (after Amazon Prime discount) price tag. For $20 I would suggest giving it a try if you are into JRPGs. Go give some of the review content for the game on YouTube a look and see if any of it interests you. I would definitely not recommend the game for full retail price however.
Compared to other recent low-budget JRPGs, this one at least has a competent story. There's a worthwhile goal you're trying to reach, relatively believable characters, a few story twists during your journey, and three possible endings. There's a few unbelievable things that happen during the story (based on the game's universe), but those are forgivable considering this story is made to appeal to teens. And thankfully, there's no power-of-friendship nonsense in the game.
To summarize the story, you and your friends apparently died, were sent to another world or the afterlife, and are trying to get back. You meet a few inhabitants of the world that are basically trying to use you so that they can accomplish their goals.
You'll be spending most of the game finding the other 11 playable characters and looking for their memories. For the most part, they're teens, so they get worked up about silly things that don't actually matter. Though a few of the characters have more mature backstories and memories that are a bit more interesting. So as long as you like JRPGs in general, you should be able to find at least one character to like.
There's the bad ending, cliche (good) ending, and shocking ending. Before you start playing, you must read a wiki to find out the requirements of each. The requirements are very easy, though it's easy to make a mistake and do the wrong thing before the game warns you about it and get stuck in the bad ending.
The game takes place only in the other/alternate world. The world is really just a menu system where you choose which dungeon/area to go to. I really hate when games replace their world map with a menu system. It just makes it feel less like a game and more like a spreadsheet. What's strange is that there is an actual world map in the background of the menu system. Why didn't they just get rid of the menu and let us walk around on the map?
The gameplay areas consist of 2d platforming sections. You jump around this relatively beautiful world until you reach your destination, which is always either a boss or item. It's beautiful at first, then you realize that all areas in the game look almost identical. There's 4 different types of areas (forests, more forests, caves, and ruins), and each one has the same recycled sub-areas that are stringed together differently based on what area you chose from the world map menu.
Enemies on the areas all look the same. When you come into contact with one, battle begins
Combat is a complete letdown. It's turn-based, and that's where the positives stop. Here's a list of negatives:
- Too easy
- Some weapons (job types) are worthless
- Most skills are worthless
- Some combat and defense skills don't work the way their descriptions say (mistranslated)
- Blocking mechanics are bad
- You attack in a diamond formation and defend in a square formation
- You're limited in how and how often you can change your formation
- High-powered spells are nearly useless because they prevent that character from doing anything for several turns.
- It's difficult to cast spells: it's necessary to go though a separate menu
- Character actions are completely canceled if the enemy you're targeting dies, even if your additional attacks would have hit other nearby enemies.
It seems to me like they had big ambitions for the combat system, but it either turned out too complex or had other problems, so they greatly reduced the difficulty level. Really, all you have to do for the entire game is give a whip to a high-strength character and watch him/her decimate everything. And you'll need at least two mage characters to heal you or to cast magic at things that are resistant to physical damage.
Item acquisition is quite silly in the game. You get new weapons, armor and accessories constantly. For the most part, you'll be upgrading all of your characters' equipment each time you go through a dungeon. Thankfully there's an auto-equip-best-items option.
Also, turn on auto-saving since the game is known to crash.
Expect to spend 30-40 hours for your first playthrough. Add 4 more hours for other two endings (as long as you have saves before the decision points). New game+ lets you start over with all levels, equipment, and skills, so if you mess up, you can breeze through the game and get back to the decision points again in about 4 hours.
Overall, I'm glad to have this game in my collection, but it could have been much better. I would have been upset if I paid the full retail asking price.
The Story while not a masterpiece is good and charming, most of the characters are likable... if you like Jrpgs this game is a good choice
I forced myself to keep playing for 5 hours and sadly the game just has not gotten any better.
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