Evolution The World Of Sacred Device
|Editor Rating:||5.5/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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There are certain RPGs out there that openly forego the necessity of story and plot to deliver a combat-heavy dungeon crawl. Look no further than Enix's Torneco series, or Square's Chocobo RPGs as recent storyless megahits. Dreamcast's first U.S. RPG falls into a similar category, except it lacks the franchise recognition of the aforementioned. But that's basically the sort of context you'll need before you go playing something like Evolution. It might look nice, but it wasn't meant to out-epic Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. As a dungeon RPG though, Evolution is plenty fun. The combat system in Evolution is slightly similar to Grandia's, albeit not as deep or flexible. For instance, the character development system for magic directly apes that of Grandia's. It's nice, but it's not as well-developed or blown out. During combat, each character can "move" between several different ranks on the grid. This adds a bit of positional strategy, but nothing that turned the tide of victory. I wanted to give the randomized dungeons in the game a chance, but in the end, they were just too bland and populated by some of the tamest bosses I've ever faced. Unfortunately, 16 hours was all it took to finish this game, and I took my sweet time with this one. As it is, Evolution is a perfect game for first-time RPG virgins.
You know when you really, really want some games to be good? Evolution is something that made me feel like that. Imagine the immense disappointment after a few hours of playing time when I realized it wasn't anything special at all. You can finish the whole thing in around 16 hours, it's repetitive and the lack of a coherent, involved story makes it difficult to feel inclined to stick with it. I like the combat system, but ultimately the whole thing left me cold.
The RPG genre could not have gotten a less memorable start on stateside Dreamcasts. Evolution is adequate from a combat and graphical standpoint, but just about everything else is bland - especially the dungeons. You don't really find a dungeon that's interesting to look at and explore until the very end (probably because the final dungeon is not randomly generated). But the game does look nice, especially some of the spells.
Randomized dungeons don't really work in an RPG of this sort. I like a random dungeon when it's an Action RPG like Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon or Torneco, but when playing Evolution, I didn't come away feeling as fulfilled as a dungeon from an RPG that's got fixed maps. As the first RPG on Dreamcast it's not bad, but those looking for Final Fantasy won't find it here. It's a light RPG that won't take long to finish, but I need a more involved quest.
Download Evolution The World Of Sacred Device
Now that Sega's Climax Landers has been delayed until February, Dreamcast RPG fans are going to have to look elsewhere for that "next-generation" RPG experience this holiday season. Fortunately, there's a pretty solid alternative in the form of Sting's Evolution: The World of Sacred Device, which is coming to the U.S. courtesy of Ubi Soft.
In Evolution, you play as Mag Launcher, an enigmatic young treasure hunter with a cybernetic frame (known as a "CyFrame") strapped to his back. Mag's goal is to scour the dungeons of Northrop in search of valuable treasures, which can then be traded in for cash at the mysterious "Society," an organization dedicated to excavating ruins. He can be joined by up to two (of a possible four) companions, who help him out on his journey.
The first thing you'll notice when you pop in Evolution is its incredible graphics. The Dreamcast handles the game's beautiful 3D world with ease, providing visual splendor that, while not quite as artistically satisfying, puts Final Fantasy VIH's otherwise amazing aesthetics to shame. Everything moves quickly and fluidly, even when manipulating the camera (which can be rotated 360 at any time). But despite the fact that the game is overflowing with eye-candy, it's not Evolution's best asset. Rather, that would be the game's well thought-out battle system, which should keep fans of battle-heavy RPGs rather pleased for the 20 or so hours it'll take to finish Evolution.
Since over 90 percent of those 20 or so hours are spent exploring the game's massive randomly generated dungeons (yes, all the dungeons in Evolution are random), it was rather important that the developers incorporate a battle system that's not only user-friendly, but innovative and fun as well. They did. First of all, since you can see enemies in the dungeons, you can try to avoid fights if you wish. If not, you can actually give yourself an advantage by approaching an on-screen enemy from behind (giving you a slight head start in battle). Of course the opposite is true as well, so it's important not to get ambushed. Once in battle, the turn-based action is relatively straightforward, though the tactical elements (which are ever so important in an RPG) are in full force. The best of these elements is the nifty meter to the right that shows the order in which people--companions or enemies--are going to attack. This is a great feature, as it basically forces you to plan and prioritize your attacks with care. Of course the amazing graphics and spell effects don't hurt, either...
If there's one thing that's holding Evolution back, it's that it's pretty short. Still, it's a lot of fun to play, and fans of RPGs will no doubt enjoy the game's quirky characters and fun battles. Let's just hope Ubi does a good job with the U.S. localization...