Alphadia Genesis (PC) Review

By Nikola Suprak 12.08.2015

Review for Alphadia Genesis on PC

Kemco Corporation may perhaps be unknown by most fans of JRPGs, which is odd considering that it has been more prolific within the genre in the past couple of years than most companies have during their entire lifespan. Kemco has been cranking out JRPGs for mobile devices at an almost concerning speed; releasing so many games so quickly has earned it somewhat of a negative reputation, with many of its titles being relatively low quality and tonally quite similar. Resultantly, the port of one of its more recent releases, Alphadia Genesis, to PC and Wii U a year after it first appeared on mobile devices was not met with high excitement levels. Having already checked out the Wii U version of the game, Cubed3 now delves into the PC port.

Alphadia Genesis tells the story of Fray, an all-around good guy who's an archetypal RPG hero. Earning the attention of the king for his skill on the battlefield, he is tasked with solving an unusual murder: a rich man in a nearby town has been killed by his clone servants, artificially created to serve in a past war as tools to take on dangerous tasks. They're obedient by design - a trait that makes the fatal betrayal even more confusing. As the story progresses, Fray and his sister begin to embark on a quest, and in typical JRPG fashion are soon entwined in a plot in which the safety of the entire world hangs in the balance.

The premise here is genuinely interesting, and is expanded by a range of asides along the way that compellingly explain not only the clones' invention, but also the war in which they were involved. At first, it seems as if the game is actually trying to tackle something interesting, but then it all fizzles out. Despite the intriguing set up, it quickly devolves into what would be expected from a formulaic, rushed mobile RPG. The interesting premise - reminiscent of a mixture of Star Wars and A.I. Artificial Intelligence - is largely wasted, and the plot itself winds up being largely disposable and forgettable.

Screenshot for Alphadia Genesis on PC

What saves the story from utter obscurity is the relatively strong cast of characters and the ways in which they interact with each other. They aren't exactly breaking new ground here, as a lot of the cast follows fairly predictable tropes that can be traced back to the SNES era, but their interactions are enjoyable, and a nice job is done building the characters and their relationships throughout the course of the game, despite their actions being somewhat predictable. It isn't going to impress people that have already played their fair share of JRPGs, but it is an easy-going, relaxing tale with some interesting characters that is at least engaging and coherent enough to string together all of the battles.

In terms of actual gameplay, there is no pretence here: this is an old-school JRPG to its core, albeit perhaps with a few deeper elements. Anyone who has ever played a game from this genre should know immediately what to expect, and there is something to be said about its straightforwardness - there are dungeons to crawl through, towns to explore, and monsters to slay. The combat is a fairly simple turn-based affair comprised of normal attacks, special attacks and magical skills. There is a decent number of towns to walk through and plenty of people to chat with in order to delve into the world and the lore surrounding it. It's a familiar system, but there's something comfortable about slipping into a game where the mechanics are already universally known. The basics are implemented ably and, while there aren't any surprises along the way, it is still an entertaining stroll from beginning to end.

Screenshot for Alphadia Genesis on PC

The most unique aspect about the combat, in a game that is otherwise quite obstinate in its refusal to innovate, is the way in which special rings can be equipped to learn new and more powerful magic spells. Magic in this game is known as Energi, and each character comes with a specific affinity with spells to learn. However, additional spells can be learned by equipping rings and assigning them with a secondary element of the player's choice. These can be levelled up over time to gain more powerful abilities, and can also be combined with the character's natural affinity to pick up techniques they would not have been able to learn otherwise.

If there is a single aspect of the game that stands out as truly great, it would have to be the audio. The soundtrack is impressively strong, with many standout tracks along the way that do a good job hearkening back to old RPGs without directly copying them. The voice acting is a nice touch, as well, and although the little bits that appear are all in Japanese, the production value is impressive regardless.

The graphics are a charming mixture of SNES- and PS1-era RPGs, alternating between the two during exploration and combat. It's a mixture that works well, and this dual approach helps to distinguish the title from others on the market. The overall aesthetic, however, feels a bit generic and, although there are certain impressive elements, it still feels like this was a game put together using an old copy of RPG Maker.

Screenshot for Alphadia Genesis on PC

There are indeed a couple of issues here - the most apparent being with the Energi mechanic. The concept is not explained very well, and finding the best way to strengthen characters will largely be discovered by trial and error. Secondly, the sort of boosts received in this way are relatively minor and, for the most part, character growth is essentially locked to how they began the game. It really is the one thing the title tries to do differently, but the execution is sloppy and confused.

The general adherence to old-school gameplay and aesthetic is also not always a great thing, unfortunately, and Alphadia Genesis dips into the pool of bad habits that developers had forced out of the genre a while back. The most annoying aspect is the encounter rate, something that is forgivable in the shorter, earlier dungeons, but becomes frustrating the longer the game goes on. Enemies seem to pop up every couple of steps at times, which is problematic when it comes to the later dungeons, which border on labyrinthine. It becomes a slog to force Fray through to the end, and the combat is not nearly enjoyable enough to justify this sort of encounter rate. Small doses of the combat are relatively enjoyable at first, and while it doesn't exactly redefine the genre, there is initially something safe and comforting about it. By the end, however, it feels like the game is holding the player down and forcing big spoonfuls of it down their throat. At Alphadia Genesis' climax, it becomes frankly exhausting, with many enemies requiring specific strategy, time, and resources to beat, doubtlessly ensuring that most people will just end up running away from a huge chunk of these encounters.

Alphadia Genesis also feels a little on the small side, without much to do or see outside of the main quest. There are a handful of side-quests here and there, but they are relatively minor and uninteresting without the sort of rewards to justify them. The bigger issue is that there isn't much to explore and even less of a reason to do so. There are occasional treasure chests hidden in dungeons and NPCs to talk to in the towns, but the rewards aren't worth the time it takes to find them, and even if the player goes through and searches for everything, the game still feels rather empty. This is a linear journey, with little reason to turn and look around on the way. There is a second ending, which requires several hours more play time after the normal ending to achieve, but that is really the only secret the game has worth finding at all. More to do and more to see would have been amazing, and it is a bit of a shame that Alphadia Genesis seems to try and get by with the least amount possible.

Screenshot for Alphadia Genesis on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Considering this was first a mobile title and made by a company that doesn't have a great track record when it comes to quality JRPGs, Alphadia Genesis is a surprisingly enjoyable experience. There are plenty of issues, ranging from a lacklustre story to some exhausting combat mechanics, and the game does end up rather overstaying its welcome towards the end. Still, this is a solid, if predictable, old-school JRPG that does just enough right that it should satisfy fans of the genre. This isn't a revolutionary title or one that will really make waves with genre supporters; it's more like a bowl of chicken noodle soup than a succulent steak, but sometimes, that's all a player really wants. The comfort food of JRPGs, Alphadia Genesis is worth checking out for some classic genre conventions, but not really much else.

Developer

Exe-Create

Publisher

Marvelous

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   

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