Let’s get this straight from the start. Resonance of Fate is both strategically hard, and an absolute behemoth of battle system complexity. If you don’t have patience or the willpower to spend a few hours familiarizing yourself with the gameplay dynamics of a new title, you may skip over this one right now.
Resonance of Fate – also known as End of Eternity in Japan – is a JRPG with a twist. Think Borderlands vs Final Fantasy XIII. This single-player story attempts to deliver a fine balance between traditional questing and turn-based gunplay, and for the most part succeeds.
In Resonance of Fate, you start off and finish off with 3 characters: Vashyron, Zephyr and the adorable Leanne. The characters’ appearances are fixed but for a pittance of in-game money – known as rubies – you can customise their outfits extensively. I bought Leanne a sexy pair of glasses to make her look more like a blonde Bayonetta. Each character has 3 weapon skills (machine guns, handguns and throwing weapons) which all start at level 1 and level up as you gain XP with the weapon type in question. The total level of each character is the sum of their individual weapon levels.
You start in the somewhat washed out-looking but otherwise beautifully rendered Ebel City. Many of the areas in the game are split into zones; the display handily fades out at the edges to warn you you are about to cross a boundary which is a nice touch. Zone loading times are snappy, taking only a couple of seconds.
The graphics are pretty but not groundbreaking. The entire game is based around a giant steampunk-themed tower where the last surviving humans live. This theme works well and fans of steampunk will love it – the rest of us will enjoy it too. Some of the cut scenes are almost up to FFXIII standards, but others are graphically weak.
Audio-wise, the world music-style soundtrack is beautiful and never gets tiring. The voice acting is passable and doesn’t get too stale.
The story-telling is predictably bad and disconnected, although the characters have quite the twisted sense of humour with plenty of swearing and sexual jokes to amuse us. Vashyron can often be found subtly hitting on Leanne or commenting on her “natural beauty”.
Resonance of Fate has an intriguing and unique map system. Areas are not unlocked through story progression; rather each level of the tower is made up of a large number of hexagonal areas, with the levels connected by various elevators. Initially all the hexes are locked, but by acquiring energy hexes – which are easily available as loot – you can place them on the grid to open up new areas. Many of the hexes are just through-paths where you will hit upon random encounters as you travel from A to B, others are towns or quest areas. The hexes come in various Tetris-like shapes so some forethought is required to place them optimally to reach a point on the map.