Septerra Core: Legacy of The Creator
|a game by||Valkyrie Studios|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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The designers of Septerra Core have clearly spent a lot of time playing the Final Fantasy games. They must have liked them too, because this game wears its influences on its digital shirt like a large shiny badge. There's nothing wrong with that, up to a point, all the greatest games have drawn their inspirations from old classics, but this one quite simply takes the p*ss. The anime-style characters, the turn-based combat (complete with energy bar, which must be full to perform the strongest attacks), the slowly unfolding plot with token love interest, the OTT animations for spell effects, all of it is very, very reminiscent of Final Fantasy, sometimes to the point where it is almost laughable.
Is this a bad thing? Well, it depends how you look at it. It's one thing to take an established series and improve upon it. It's quite another to rip it off shamelessly and make it worse. Septerra Core falls soundly into the latter category of imitate 'em ups. The visuals are crisp and clear, but lack the panache of FPs beautifully-drawn backgrounds and character animations. The cut-scenes are passable, but nowhere near as good as the breathtaking interludes in FF (some people are happy to play ffjust to get to the next cut-scene. Sad? You wouldn't say that if you'd seen them). Admittedly, it was never going to be easy to emulate one of the most famous RPGs of all time, but if you're going to do it, do it right, right?
Going Through The Motions
Oespite its lack of innovation, Septerra Core proves to be perfectly playable, and at times even quite enjoyable. A typical mission consists of entering the defined quest area, disposing of bad types, flicking switches, pulling levers, finding 'key' items, and buggering off to the next mission to do exactly the same thing all over again. This may sound dull on paper, but in practice it can be quite fun. You are never left in any doubt as to what you should be doing next or where your next mission is, and the battles, although derivative, can prove quite challenging (particularly in the first quarter of the game). There are many side-quests, which are not particularly exciting, but are handy for levelling-up your characters if the current main-quest area proves too difficult for your team. Towns and villages are liberally scattered throughout the game world and in this department SC shines: all the locations in the game are densely populated with people you can talk to in order to further the plot, and places you can go to buy new weapons, armour, and magic items.
There are, however, a few major minus-points worth mentioning. The character-movement interface is utterly awful. All too often your main character (Maya) will get stuck in the play area and much messing-about with the mouse ensues to get her out. Other members in the group often get in her way too, so pacing up and down the environment until they move out of the way is common practice. Also, the first half of the game is very linear. You can't explore the game world freely until you get your own ship late in the game (this is also true of FF, but at least FF has glorious FMV to keep you interested until the game itself opens up). So, Septerra Core tries to beat Final Fantasy at its own game and fails, but proves to be mildly entertaining nonetheless. A hint to SCs developers: next time, try harder.