It is the end of the world and the Book of Prophecy has appeared to create a new world, that which is depicted by Yumil, a young boy trusted with shaping the future by deciding what he wants carried over from the current world. Befriended by the fire spirit Rempo, a guardian of the Book of Prophecy, you set off on your journey to find the other three guardians and create your ideal world. Regardless of the fairly generic 'one man against all' story, Avalon Code brings in some unique techniques, namely the Book of Prophecy itself. It's displayed on the bottom screen throughout your quest to show maps and attributes, but it soon becomes so much more. It allows players to 'scan' the environment such as monsters, plants and the rest of the civilisation by slapping the Book of Prophecy over said object - without them knowing, of course.
As well as helping level up the book and recording items for the new world, this action's main function is to allow the player to change objects' genetic makeup to alter pretty much everything. Each object has a specific code(s) assigned to it, discovered when you scan an item. Then, with the stylus, you can modify it by adding and taking away different codes to produce different effects. With this ability, you can practically bring dying creatures back to life or weaken bosses significantly by taking away their strong codes and replacing them with weaker ones such as, say, the ill code, which will give the player an opening as your opponent bursts into a coughing fit. Codes serve as your way of improving armour and weaponry as well. To do so, scan different weapons or tablets to discover the code designs that will allow the player to adjust the codex to their liking, crafting entirely new weapons. Similarly, many dungeons prompt you on what codes will allow you to progress by colour coding switches and doors (or through the guidance of one of your spirits), essentially allowing the player to open different doors with the same key; just one that has been through a little code manipulation.
All the battles take place in real time action rather than being turn-based. Monsters appear on the field during play and, using the face buttons, must be attacked with a combination of right and left handed attacks allowing the player to progress through the area. Your character has a plethora of dual wielded weapons to use and some interesting abilities such as Judgement Link, which literally allows you to bounce the many varied monsters of the face of the earth until they explode in a shower of fireworks - crazy stuff, but entertaining none the less. Different weapons also allow for other attributes. The hammer, for example, allows you to 'fly' over crevasses in one of the many dungeons. Most of players' time is spent above ground, but you will also venture into many of Avalon Code's dungeons, which shake the formula up by giving out objectives that must be completed before progression, such as hitting all the switches or clearing the room of enemies. With more than nine dungeons, all with extra secrets to find and a variety of challenges in the various towns such as a Judgement Link tournament, there is plenty to do. All of this is brought together perfectly by vibrant graphical work; all of the areas look good, while some in particular look breathtaking, with blossom and leaves floating through the air, and sun shining through the trees.
However, there are a few problems within the game, most particularly with the Book of Prophecy. It initially feels a bit complicated due to its many pages and codes to assemble, coupled with the fact that the inventory can only hold four codes at a time - forcing you to arrange and place them on other characters'/creatures' codex as there isn't a main central database to store your acquired codes. Also, because the Book is featured on the bottom screen during gameplay, it means constantly switching between stylus and face buttons, which is a bit of a hassle. The map can feel confusing until you can warp from area to area halfway through the game. As a whole, the in-game sound is pleasant with patches of voice acting, but is sadly let down by the cries of various creatures by not sounding right or just plain abnormal. The online mode found in the Japanese release, which allowed players to share codes and other parts of the Book of Prophecy, has also been scrapped during localisation, though only those that are aware of its inclusion in other regions will really notice. Outside of these problems, there is not much that hinders the title at all.
Avalon Code is a strong RPG and should be picked up if found. It features a really intuitive system that allows you alter almost anything, which is extremely impressive. You can actively shape characters, by stopping life-threatening conditions - or even causing them on monsters, by adjusting their codes to make them burst into flames and the like. Along with that, the rather mad (but fun) fighting style of hurling monsters into outer space feels satisfying, trying to beat your highest score each time you encounter a stronger monster. Despite the few flaws that it has, Avalon Code is a notable title offering a large interesting (if initially morbid) story of around twenty hours set in a rather gorgeous world. Though maybe not as memorable as some of Matrix Software's other titles, Avalon Code breaks the mould and attempts to do something new - and it works.