Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 20.08.2019

Review for Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX on PC

In just a few short years, the cataclysm is said to occur. Some believe that this will be the end of all life, while others are convinced that this is just a hoax conjured up by a mad king. In any case, people all over the kingdom are in dire need of help. You are a man of little means and no allegiance, and yet you've taken it upon yourself to assist those who have no one else to turn to. Bear in mind, however, that the decisions you'll make will carry more weight than all the treasure in the world. Only time will tell if these choices will benefit mankind and their constant struggle for survival.

In the world of Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX there are three constants: fighting, exploring, and decision-making. If you are to survive, then you must fight and grow stronger. A multitude of quests can be undertaken, but you have to put one foot in front of the other to find them. Last and certainly not least, for every action there is a reaction. All decisions are final, and they can dramatically affect the lives of those around you. The many citizens that represent this kingdom aren't the most riveting bunch, but they effectively communicate just how dire their situations are.

After completing a short tutorial, players are prompted to make their first major decision. They must decide on who will follow them into a kingdom that's teeming with evil. Though the leader handles the brunt of combat alone, the allies he recruits can assist him in other ways. Take Hershal, for example. He's useless in a fight, but staggeringly rich. Anyone who chooses him will receive an immediate bonus of 1,000,000 gold. This cash can be used to buy the finest weapons and armour, giving one an immediate advantage in the battles to come.

Screenshot for Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX on PC

Roland is an adept swordsman, and can be called upon to immediately slice through hordes of foes. Unlike Artifact Adventure, this operates in real-time, and is much more action-oriented. Winning battles is mostly a matter of positioning and proper skill-usage. Artifacts make their return, and can be freely switched around to counter most any hostile situation. However, first they have to be found. Rex might be able to help with that. This explorer knows the entire world like the back of his hand. With the help of the fast-travel feature, players can immediately visit every location, and strip it bare of any treasures that lie within. This is the most freeform of the three options, and can also be quite deadly. If you're not paying attention, you'll find yourself wandering into dungeons that far exceed your current level of experience.

There are other supporting heroes that can be recruited. One of them is a nurse who grants the main character a bonus to health-regeneration. A reformed prisoner knows the darkest secrets of every labyrinth, and will point out their secret passages. These and other allies have their own stories to tell. Bear in mind, though, that you can't recruit everyone, at least not in a single play-through. There is a New Game + feature, so next time around you can choose someone else, and make different world-influencing decisions. This lends some flavour to every adventure, since not everything can be seen in one attempt.

After committing to their "party," players are then given free rein of the kingdom and its surrounding lands. There are a multitude of towns and villages, all of them having tasks that need completed. Often-times, nearby NPCs will discuss the current predicament, and offer some insight on how to resolve it. However, the final decision rests with you. In almost every case, the consequences of that decision won't be immediately felt - be sure to revisit everyone you've helped, after a few years have passed. They're sure to reward you for your efforts… if they survive.

Screenshot for Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX on PC

In accordance to RPG tradition, the answers to every predicament are held in nearby caves and ruins. In order to reach these foul lairs, you must first brave the wilderness. Fast-travel is limited to previously-visited locations, unless of course you requested Rex's help. Much like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, enemies wander the world in search of adventurers. A battle ensues if the hero bumps into them. The combat system is charmingly simplistic and fast-paced, much like early entries in the Ys and Xanadu franchises. The hero always holds his weapon out in front of him, damaging anything that gets in his face. Don't forget to use those skills, because they'll quickly destroy even the hardiest foes. The overworld is also rife with whirlpools. Inside these malignant maelstroms, the hero must face off against waves of monsters.

While there's no shortage of fighting in Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX, methods for avoiding combat altogether do exist. After successfully weaving in-between bothersome enemies, the hero makes their way into a dungeon. Inside he'll find scores of spider webs blocking the way forward. Disturbing a web causes a battle to ensue, but an alternative exists. With kindling, the webs can be burned away. Frequent clashes with monsters get to be pretty tiring, so it's great that this option is available. Clever players can reach the end of a dungeon without engaging a single foe.

Screenshot for Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX on PC

After you've thoroughly explored the world and came up with a solution for all of its problems, then it's time to wait for the cataclysm to arrive. This is essentially a time-skip, and is initiated by speaking the king. Once the few years have passed, you're once again given free rein to meet with everyone you've helped, see how they fared, and hopefully obtain some very nice equipment. The time spent here is much shorter than in the rest of the game, since it's just a matter of tying up loose ends, and preparing for the final bosses. Still, it's a neat feature that's handled exceptionally well.

While battles are smoothly-paced and fairly entertaining, repetitiveness will set in after a while. Occasionally, more advanced foes will appear, and they're capable of all sorts of interesting attacks. However, this does little to change the fact that there's not a lot of variety in the bestiary. There are a few unique bosses to contend with, but they're almost exclusively found in the end-game dungeons. A more diverse roster of baddies would have eliminated some of the monotony. Some RPG fans might also be annoyed by the lack of puzzles. Finishing most labyrinths is simply a matter of hacking or burning through enough cobwebs. Still, you'll want to grab everything that isn't nailed down. Stat-boosting elixirs are extremely common, and will help turn the Hero into a war machine.

Even after accounting for these minor issues, Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX is still very engrossing. The 10-12 hours it takes to see an adventure to its conclusion will fly by like dust in the wind. This is another one of those titles that accomplish a lot with very little. You might see a lot of the same enemies and tile-sets, but you're going to enjoy the solid quest-design. The plethora of artifacts also allows for widely diverse builds. Master the elements, focus entirely on melee weapons, do whatever tickles your fancy. After all, this is your adventure.

Screenshot for Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

If in search for a fresh take on the RPG genre, then Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX is well worth discovering. Its uniquely-designed world draws elements from a number of other classics, and then gives it all its own creative spin. Though constant fights can get a little mind-numbing, the speed at which they move helps keep them from becoming dull. The world is packed full of quests and secrets to uncover, yet the typical play-through leans on the short side. Players are sure to have a fulfilling adventure, without sacrificing all of their free time.






Real Time RPG



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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