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Review of Ara Fell by Badluck

Reviewed by Ii Shenron

Plot: ( 20 points )

Take 3 pounds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, slice and dice, and simmer over a hot fire. Add 1 1/2 cups of Terranigma and a few dashes of Slayers Next!, and you've got Ara Fell's story. Yes, it would make quite an interesting anime.

Thumbs up for:

Though the game abuses a great deal of cliches, such as the infamous "Chosen One", the story is well crafted and well told. Many of the events and plot twists you can see a mile away, but they're still great when they happen.

Thumbs down for:

Nevertheless, a few more surprises would be nice in upcoming episodes. Given the setup, that's easily possible, and would help Ara Fell to feel more like its own unique story.

Total points: 13.

Characterization/Dialogue: ( 20 points )

It is quite clear that Badluck put more effort into this area than he did in pure storyline. Each of the major characters is well characterized, and well thought out, even if two characters did remind me of Buffy and Angel at times. :)

Thumbs up for:

When Lita isn't doing her impression of ... ok, I'll leave that alone. Lita reminds me quite a bit of Arielle from Tarion Star, except much better written. She's a fun character to play as, and the rest of the cast compliments her spunky personality quite well.

Thumbs down for:

There were grammatical and spelling mistakes here and there, but not enough to lower the score any.

Total points: 17.

Graphics: ( 10 points )

Badluck fancies himself as one of the best mappers in the community, and Ara Fell certainly backs up his claim, as in terms of layout and chipset usage, Ara Fell can compare favorably against almost any other Rm2k/3 game out there. Using almost exclusively REFMAP graphics across the board gives the game a uniform feel.

Thumbs up for:

Some have criticized the overabundance of "critters" all over the place in Ara Fell, but it helps to build the "fairy-like" atmosphere that this game is going for quite well. Also, creating battle backgrounds from the REFMAP chips was a nice touch.

Thumbs down for:

The stock lighting effects quite frankly choked the life out of the game in several spots, as I had to strain at the screen to see what was going on.

Total points: 8.

Music: ( 10 points )

Music in Ara Fell comes from a variety of sources. Games, movies, animes ... and all of it is used very well.

Thumbs up for:

Though this isn't music, it may as well go here; Ara Fell makes excellent use of many different ambient effects which help add even more life to the game world.

Thumbs down for:

There may have been one or two midis from popular Square games in there. A Kingdom Hearts maybe? Yeeah.

Total points: 7.

Gameplay: ( 10 points )

Ara Fell's gameplay is based around a number of simple but effective systems that we've seen elsewhere but used well here. PCs ( except for one ) can switch between Melee weapons for ground-based enemies and ranged weapons for air-based enemies, and these weapons can be upgraded at weapons shops using upgrade stones.

Thumbs up for:

The dungeons in Ara Fell are also very well designed. There are a number of skills such as jumping and crawling, along with items you acquire, that you must use to clear many of the dungeons. Add to the mix some really evil puzzles and this game ranks with the best of them in this area.

Thumbs down for:

The occasional enemy suffers from too much HP syndrome, and if you ever run into a battle you're supposed to lose, you won't know it and will probably wind up fighting for 10-20 minutes before you realize it. There is the occasional glitch and yes, my menu did lock up on me once during a lightning flash.

Total points: 8.

Fun Factor:( 25 points )

I had a great deal of fun playing this game, and it managed to totally disrupt my own Rm2k3 rhythm as I've gotten exactly bubkiss done since I started playing Ara Fell. Way to go, Badluck!

Total points: 21.

Intangibles: ( 5 points )

The release schedule of this game is patterned after The Way, in which each successive episode will be a self-contained game, often with its own individual enhancements. Nothing to complain about here, except I hope that the sidequests become a bit more involved than fetch quests in future episodes.

Total points: 3. ( SHURA AWARD !!! )

Overall: 77/100

Ara Fell rivals Diary of a Madman for the title of best Rm2k3 RPG available in English right now. Did it live up to the hype? Quite possibly. So in other words, quit reading this and download it!

Reviewed Games:
Ara Fell
Iron Gaia
Legend of the Philosopher's Stone
Love and War
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