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About the product
- Battle in fantastic cinematic action as your characters wield firearms in a Semi-real time game play system; invincible mode
- Unique story Built around a gigantic clock tower like machine, the story will delve deep into fate and the machinery that controls it
- Beautiful environments Masterfully crafted environments pepper this title to illustrate the deep tapestry of this dystopian world
- Customize your characters and give them a unique look within the game and cut-scenes
- Extensive Weapon customization allows your character to have specialized weapons from parts unlocked or bought throughout the game
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Face opponents in fantastic, cinematic gun battles with a fighting system that blends real-time and turn-based gameplay. Built around the gigantic machine city, the story delves deep into fate and the machinery that controls it. Masterfully crafted environments illustrate the deep tapestry of this dystopian world. Customizing your characters and weapons changes your playing experience visually and within the gameplay.
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There are a lot of fascinating idea's in this game (world traversal, for example, is like a version of Tetris where you build the road). It has some old school elements (save games) and the story never reaches a conclusion - I think that's what really prevented this game from becoming an all time great classic. There needed to be a third act to really tie some things up. To be clear, I don't need everything to be wrapped up in a bow and everything to explained - I am fine with ambiguous endings - but this story felt like it was missing the final chapter that all the events were leading up to. DESPITE that, as someone who is willing to put up with really bad game play for a good story, I would still recommend that people buy this game just to experience the interesting things that were done here.
I have finished the game (it took about 80 hours) so here is the final review. I have also added combat tips to the end.
First of all, I love the game. The combat is awesome if you like strategy games. The game has more in common with strategy/rpgs rather than traditional JRPGs. As in any rgp you can roam inside the cities, get side quests, and explore the world map. However, the combat and the missions are very much like that of turn based strategy games. In fact, ROF is more like a strategy game under a JRPG disguise.
Although the combat looks flashy and cool, as I saidbefore, RoF is not an action oriented game. The combat is very deep and strategic. Also learning curve is steep, it takes several hours to learn all the intricacies of the combat, and I will not attempt to explain it here. (I have added some tips and tricks at the end). However, the turn system is very similar to Valkyria Chronicles, it is a mixture of turn based and real-time (while you are moving the enemy also moves and can attack you). Flanking, timing, the type of attack etc. all plays a key role in combat and makes it very satisfying. They are nice to watch too, although your eyes would be on the action gauges most of the time.
There is a tutorial that introduces every battle action but it does not tell you about the tactics. (Think of chess, you can learn the rules in half an hour but you'll have absolutely no idea about the tactics). So the game got better as I played because I began to discover some of the mechanics and the tactics not described in the tutorial. It also has some real-time elements that require timing, which keeps things interesting and gives you some more tricks to help you. (For example, you can manually evade physical attacks if you time your movement right). It takes a long time to master every trick of the combat, but it is very satisfying when you discover something new.
Leveling and customization is all about the guns not the characters. There are 3 types of weapons (handguns, machine guns, and grenades). As the characters use a weapon they get more proficient with that weapon and level up. A character's level is the sum of all 3 weapon levels. For example, a level 20 character can be level 15 handgun, level 4 machine gun, level 1 grenade. As they level up their hit points and respective gun weight limit improve. Also they gain some additional effects (5% stun chance for instance).
You can only customize your weapons. Guns have 5-6 attachment slots (magazine, grip, sights etc.) that you can upgrade with the parts you found. Also you can add extensions to all slots(e.g. adding another barrel to the barrel). However you have space and weight limits that you need to consider. Finally, you can also craft special parts from the basic materials you get from monsters. There is no other customization. There is no armor either, however characters can equip two rings some of which are protective. You can buy a lot of different dresses but they have no effect other than changing the looks of your character (this also affects cutscenes as they are done with the in-game engine).
The story is slow to start. It starts to pick up after Chapter 5 (which would be 10-20 hours into the game depending on the number of sidequests you do), but it is one of the weak points of the game. It does get interesting, but a lot of things are left unexplained even after the game is finished. Simply put, this is not a story-driven game. There are a lot of fetch quests at the beginning but at least the NPCs are quirky, and the interaction between the characters can be funny sometimes. Later on, I got more interested in the story but game only hints at what's going on and never fully explains the background or the motives of the characters.
In sum, this is not a traditional JRPG like Final Fantasy or Lost Odyssey, it is more similar to strategy games like Valkyria Chronicles. Also if you want fast paced, action oriented, quick resolution combats (e.g. Tales of Vesperia) then this is probably not the game for you. If you like turn based strategy/rpg games (Jagged Alliance, Front Mission, Valkyria Chronicles, etc) with a lot of depth then I believe you will like this game.
*** Some Combat Tips and Tricks ***
In ROF, you have access to the full combat from the beginning (opposite of Final Fantasy XIII from what I hear). However, as you play you get a better understanding of the mechanics and the tactics. In other words, the combat opens up naturally and always stays fresh. Below are some tips but I believe half of the fun is discovering them. If you feel confused, then these might help. Also the guy next to the billboard in the guild gives one new tip each chapter. Always talk to him.
-The letter next to the enemy bar indicates which one of your characters the enemy is aiming.
-The enemy won't shoot until the end of the turn (even if their aiming bar is full) unless they are aiming at the character you are moving. If they are aiming at the character you are moving, they'll shoot in real time when their aim gets full.
-During hero runs you are invincible and also you can regenerate more because the turn lasts longer (depending on the distance). However, that also means enemies will have longer time to aim at characters.
-The circular green bar around the enemy is their equipment health (weapon, armor, shield etc). You will not be able to damage their body until you create/find an opening. The green bar is not always a full circle and if that's the case, you can make a hero run (or walk around while they are aiming at somebody else) and shoot when you have the right angle to hit the body. Or if you jump during hero run you randomly hit all body parts, you might get some hits to the body even if they are shielded.
-Getting rid of the enemy parts (equipment) will give you materials for upgrades.
-Try to set up the tri-attacks in a long range. The longer the running distance, the more time to shoot (and regenerate).
-You can make a tri-attack even with 1 resonance point. This can be helpful if the distance between the characters is long. You can also use it to move one of your characters to safety if he is going to be shot as soon as you end the turn of the current character.
-Charge acceleration is very important. Try to add barrels as much as you can. Also try to shoot at the highest possible charge to activate the skills.
-Dual wielding helps a lot in the later game(after chapter 10-11). It doubles your damage and chances of activating skills even if the second weapon may reduce some of your stats.
-During a tri-attack, the enemies inside the triangle won't move, the ones on the outside will.
-If you are outnumbered stun and electro grenades can give you valuable time.
I'm giving this five stars based on my overall enjoyment. I'm almost done with it and I didn't find too much of it to be frustratingly challenging and the parts I did were eventualy passed. I don't normally play many rpg's or jrpg's so I wouldn't know much about the criteria for a good one, but I think this one's pretty solid. The combat mechanics are what really makes it shine.
The story gets three and a half stars: three for content, half for effort. It feels like the creators tried really, REALLY hard to make this deep and amazing story that would just suck you in but... it fell kind of flat. Don't get me wrong, the character stories are excellent and their interactions are often hilarious and very worth watching. The main story, the one you should be paying attention to, is pretty much non-existent until much later in the game. Sure, there's some foreshadowing and a few cryptic or vague hints at hidden goings on, but all in all you'll find yourself more concerned with the day to day lives of the protagonists than what's going on in the background. At least until they both come together. Sort of. I kind of wish that there was a little more exposition to how the world works or happened. It's just sort of flung at you like, "this is how life is," leaving you with quite a bit of questions that don't seem to have many answers, if any. It's an interesting concept, so I can't understand why it wasn't expanded on more clearly. A lot of parts in the story are left to you to try and piece together. Personally, I thought most of it was a little hard to understand and figure out, but with the characters it's not hard to get through. Just know that that's what's going to hold your interest.
Overall, I really love this game despite it's, well, somewhat lackluster story and I recommend it to anyone who likes any sort of rpg, action game, or anything to do with guns. There's even a little of strategizing thrown into the mix. Oh, and one important thing: when the game loads it plays a pretty epic cutscene with one of the characters. After this comes the title screen, but instead of pushing start just wait for it to finish and it will play a different cutscene that actually does give a little exposition to the game. It helped things make a little more sense and it would've been really nice if this played on it's own and not when you were too distracted to hit the start button right away. Hope this review helps.