Alphadia Genesis (Wii U) Review

By Albert Lichi 25.05.2015 1

Review for Alphadia Genesis on Wii U

The year was 2007 when the first Alphadia game hit the mobile market in Japan and it has now become a mainstay. Since its inception, there have been over five releases, but only a couple ever made it through localisation and being on mobile only certainly didn't help the RPG series from getting to its core audience in Western territories. Alphadia Genesis marks the first Alphadia game to be localised since the original in 2011. How does it fit into the grand scheme of the other games, though? With so many of these, it can be frustrating to figure out where to begin, especially when most of them have never been translated. Should anyone bother with Alphadia Genesis? Find out in this Cubed3 review…

The first two Alphadia games localised were simply titled RPG Alphadia and RPG Alphadia 2 and were on mobile devices only. They were milquetoast RPGs at best, but offered lengthy adventures and brightly coloured, expansive worlds that could be played with during boring day jobs. Alphadia Genesis continues the tradition of mediocrity, yet with the notable distinction of having fully 3D polygonal graphics for the random encounters. Exploring out of combat, its world is illustrated by 2D graphics, rendered somewhat flatly and without the widest range of colour, making the overall aesthetic feel a bit sterile. The aforementioned 3D graphics during the combat look fine at first glance, but soon the shock wears off and it becomes obvious that the choice may not have been that great.

Screenshot for Alphadia Genesis on Wii U

The 3D models are very poorly animated and have a very robotic and stiff gait to them, also coming off as very half-hearted and looking cheap. The 3D visuals may be terrible, but maybe the 2D art looks better, right? Yes and no; the 2D art is technically better, however, it manages to have even worse animation than the 3D because there is so little actual animation for the sprites. The original Suikoden on PlayStation had more expressive characters and sophisticated animation! When Alphadia Genesis has characters emote on screen, their little sprites just bob up and down, like a small child playing with paper cut-outs. The most extensive animation for these characters is their walk cycle, which is basically a sprite flip, making a total of about two frames. These methods are usually chosen for efficiency purposes and never because of creative choice…

The story revolves around a fighter named Fray who is given a raw deal by the king and is generally pushed into situations he cannot control. Fray and his sister, Aurra, meet a clone named Enah, who is connected to a long and convoluted back-story of the "Energi Wars." The Energi Wars is actually a reoccurring concept in the Alphadia games, stretching back to the first title and while it is nice to have the continuity, the whole Energi Wars slant is really confusing and hard to follow at times. Even during the main plot, which involves a lot of mediaeval-fantasy bureaucracy, it is tricky to follow and it's hard to pinpoint if it is due to poor writing or the fact that there are five of these titles and how this particular one fits into the sequence is very vague. Even the fantasy elements are strange because Alphadia Genesis presents itself as a mediaeval-fantasy epic at first, but soon indulges in science-fiction by having lost advanced technology show up and genetically created humanoids, or "clones" as the game calls them.

Screenshot for Alphadia Genesis on Wii U

While the translation is quite spotty, there are some genuinely amusing character moments (particularly Walter), which are easily the highlights of the story. One quirk that is very unusual is how the voice acting is handled. While it isn't unusual for some games to be localised with their audio track left in the original Japanese voices, the way Alphadia Genesis does it is very erratic. Oftentimes, the game will have long stretches of just normal text, like in any RPG, but then suddenly the text will be accompanied by Japanese voice acting and the effect is very startling.

Anyone who played the previous Alphadia games (or any RPG for that matter) may find some of the game design choices to be questionable, especially when it comes to the combat. Contrast to previous entries in the Alphadia oeuvre, Alphadia Genesis has only three elements that can be whittled down to merely "rock," "paper," and "scissors." It becomes obvious just how overly simplified the elemental weakness can be since the previous titles had five elements instead of just three. It is almost distracting that there is such limited options and elements, and the reminder of other games that did it right will constantly creep into the back of gamers' minds. One aspect of the combat that is interesting, though, is how players can maintain a combo since characters can do multiple hits. However, this has the drawback of severely limiting the strategies of combat.

Screenshot for Alphadia Genesis on Wii U

For the most part, encounters happen swiftly and are over quickly, too, since the majority of enemies usually don't have a lot of health points. The only times more thought or strategy is required is during boss fights where the enemy tends to have a lot more health and characters can be used more creatively. Outside of fighting, Alphadia Genesis does have a sizeable world to explore and a surprisingly huge amount of side-content. One interesting mechanic that lets players zoom the view in or out serves as a means to find hidden items in the overworld, as well as getting a much wider view of the world without having to look at a map. Sadly, movement is prohibited while zooming with the map. Moving around is also not as fluid as would be expected from a port from a mobile game. Alphadia Genesis can be kind of choppy, even during the 2D gameplay portions.

Saying that, this is not a bad game perse, but it is a textbook example of a dollar-store RPG: incredibly cheap looking and not the most well thought-out, it is exemplary in just how mediocre it really is. Young gamers, or babies who never played an RPG before, may enjoy this due to the simplicity and easy to grasp combat, although the plot may be a bit hard to follow. While there is nothing wrong with an RPG that does try to be a throwback to the ones from the '90s, Alphadia Genesis's presentation and cheap quality make it hard to recommend, especially since Pier Solar HD is also on the Wii U and does a more effective job at conveying the essence of '90s-era role-playing games. Anyone who was a fan of the original mobile outing will probably enjoy Alphadia Genesis, but for the most part there really isn't anything terribly interesting about this, nor will it have staying power.

Screenshot for Alphadia Genesis on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

There are a lot of classic RPGs out there on PSN and the Wii U's eShop and many of them are definitely worth playing, but Alphadia Genesis is not one of those - unless there is an insatiable desperation for a turn-based RPG, that is. The game is best played in much smaller doses, which might be in part because of its mobile roots, and extended play time can be a chore. Considering the long legacy that the Alphadia games have at this point, and figuring out exactly how this particular instalment connects to the previous entries, may be inconsequential since a bulk of the franchise has never been localised. It begs the question, though, of why this game was brought to the Wii U eShop over the previous entries. Possibly because the 3D graphics make it easier to market and would contrast against all the 2D games available? An easily disposable RPG that often feels like too much hard work.

Developer

Exe-Create

Publisher

Natsume

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Our member of the week

The 2D scenes do look very much like something done in RPG Maker, which is a true letdown :/. I mean, better looking environments could be achieved on SNES, and even on RPG maker, I've seen some really gorgeous stuff though, admittedly, you have to be good at what you do to achieve great levels of depth, colours and the likes.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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