Asdivine Hearts (Wii U) Review

By André Eriksson 22.06.2016

Review for Asdivine Hearts on Wii U

Long gone are the days when phone gaming was limited to different versions of Snake or watered down shoot 'em ups. Nowadays, fine new games are taking shape on these devices, such as Asdivine Hearts, now ported over to both PC and Wii U. How good is this old-school turn-based JRPG though? Read on for the answer!

For people born in the 90s, it would seem like madness that a cell phone game would receive a translation onto consoles without extremely heavy reworking. However, times have changed, and so have the demands of console gamers. No longer are the latest graphics everything for everyone, and the demand for games to take place in a 3D world have all but vanished thanks to the wave of old-school gamers that has shaped the indie gaming industry. Therefore, with the technical advances in both phones and consoles, what was unthinkable twenty years ago is possible, and even welcomed today.

Asdivine Hearts is one of the latest smart phone games to get this treatment. It's an traditional JRPG that truly captures the feel of the old days. Its combat is turn-based, limited as far as customization goes, but most importantly, extremely balanced and interactive. The combat system has the "easy to learn, but hard to master" feel that many classic games capitalized on, demanding almost flawless execution from the player to succeed in the game's higher difficulties.

Screenshot for Asdivine Hearts on Wii U

The tools available to the player increase in complexity throughout the entire game, ensuring that no one will be left in the dark when they start out. To also help with that, there are several difficulty levels to customize the experience, with Easy and Normal for players who are new to the genre or just want to read the story, while Expert is there for hardcore gamers of the genre, demanding perfection and grinding to even stand a chance at winning.

When it comes to combat and general gameplay, Asdivine Hearts leaves fans of the genre with nothing left to wish for. However, there needs to be more to an RPG for it to be great. Story is a core part of the genre, and a field in which Asdivine Hearts is strongly lacking. For starters, it is a very basic story about finding different plot devices to fight off the Shadow Deity. To help with this, the hero has a party of beautiful ladies and the Light Deity, who somehow managed to get herself trapped inside the body of a cat.

Screenshot for Asdivine Hearts on Wii U

The story clearly needs some spice in the form of a good cast to make it memorable. Sadly, it doesn't have that. On paper, each of the characters is wonderful and interesting. One is the protagonist's old childhood friend. Another is a girl who was saved by someone she thinks is the protagonist when her village burned down years ago, who has a knack for magic and reading. The Light Deity is a wonderful troll who finds no greater pleasure than to cause mischief for the party members in different ways. Finally, there's a high priestess who shifts between worshipping the Light Deity and hating her shenanigans, while also being insecure about her lack of magical abilities.

The problem is that while they all have a colourful personality on paper, in the game, their biggest, and sometimes seemingly only, real personality trait is being in love with the protagonist. Yes, the Light Deity/cat, too. Love pentagons have their places, but here, it is transparently forced. It becomes very obvious that this is the case when the player finds out that the Light Deity, who is presumed to be male for a large part of the game because she is trapped in a tomcat body, is actually female, but is silent about it almost solely because that means she is allowed to sleep in the same room as the protagonist.

Screenshot for Asdivine Hearts on Wii U

The game could have been better by removing all of that and letting the female characters grow independently of the male protagonist, at least at times. Especially as it is such a good mixture of characters. As it currently stands, the story is not a driving force to make the player interested in moving forward, as most of the game follows the very same formula throughout, with a couple of overdone twists thrown in here and there. While the last 10% of the game is interesting and intense, the greater part of it is just running towards magnetic plot devices, and that demands a great cast to make the trip worth it.

The combat does, however, save the game here. While the story offers little motivation to move forward, the urge to see the next interesting and challenging boss fight always keeps motivating the player, creating a wonderfully well-done JRPG that could have had a better story. In the end though, the gameplay matters the most.

Screenshot for Asdivine Hearts on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Asdivine Hearts doesn't reinvent anything; far from it. But it takes the JRPG formula and balances the combat to perfection. The game feels just as unfair as a great old-school JRPG should, and the only way to win an unfair game is to play ever more unfair, which Asdivine Hearts encourages and makes possible. However, the story and characters are highly lacking, which might make it difficult to get through the game unless the story doesn't matter that much to you. When four out of five characters' greatest personality trait is that they love the fifth character, something went wrong somewhere. However, the great and well-balanced gameplay more than saves Asdivine Hearts, making it a game worth buying for fans of the genre!

Developer

Exe-Create

Publisher

Kemco

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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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