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Alvastia Chronicles

Posted by GG Goblin On February - 7 - 2019

Say hello to my little friends.

Something that really amazes me is how much gamers expect now. Sure, our favourite hobby has evolved, but it really wasn’t that long ago that players would have sunk many hours into heavily pixelated JRPGs such as the early Final Fantasy games, and would have had a great time doing it. Now, that style of game is classed as retro and is more likely to turn up as a mobile title than on any current generation console. Surely there is still entertainment to be found in these JRPGs, even if they don’t have all of the bells and whistles of more modern titles. Take KEMCO and EXE-CREATE’s Alvastia Chronicles, a retro JRPG that started life as a mobile title, but is now available on both PC and Xbox One. Can Alvastia Chronicles entertain on the big screen? Or would it have been better off staying on the little screen to be played on long train journeys?

alch1 (Copy)

Alvastia Chronicles follows siblings Elmia and Alan on what will become an epic journey. Having lost their parents at a younger age, the opportunity presents itself where the pair can head out to seek some kind of retribution for their deaths. Since when is a JRPG story simply a tale of revenge though? Throw in some protective crystals, an evil force that threatens the peace, and a whole bunch of monsters and you have a much more twisty story that will see the two heroes facing much more than simply hunting their parents killer. This type of epic quest cannot be faced alone however, but thankfully there are plenty of companions for the pair to team up with along the way.

The fact that through the course of the game players will be able to recruit more than 100 companions to join their cause is Alvastia Chronicles’ unique feature. Through the course of their journey, Elmia and Alan will meet absolutely loads of different characters who can join the team. These characters come with a massive variety of different jobs and skills, allowing the player to build and manage a team that plays to their own strengths and playstyle. With so many companions to add to the team, it almost becomes something of a collecting game as the player finds them all, which in itself can make the management side of things a little overwhelming. While there are good reasons to keep thinking about how the team is made up and which characters are included, such as being able to match certain jobs with bonds to give access to special moves, as the roster grows, it is more likely that players will stick with what they already have.

alch2 (Copy)

The team comes into play when the player goes into battle. This is fairly standard in its turn-based glory, with the enemies lined up on one side of the screen and the heroes on the other, taking turns to perform attacks or use other actions. Anyone who has played a classic JRPG will feel at home here, with the only difference really being that the player will see up to thirteen characters on the heroes side of the screen. This is where the companions come in, forming three groups of four for battle, along with Elmia. The make up of each group will give the more tactical players plenty to mess around with as they try to find the perfect composition.

Battles are fun, feeling both familiar and new at the same time. However, the classic fall back of random battles does feel slightly overdone in Alvastia Chronicles. Players will barely be able to move before getting into battle, which while making it easy to level up and become strong, can be very frustrating if it is taking time for the player to do something. The movement is such that it can be quite difficult to get in the right position, such as to be able to open a chest or walk through a small passage, which means wasting time and thus getting into more battles. It is not a huge problem, and the player will get accustomed to the movement in time, but it does feel like something that could have been fixed.

The visual style of the game is proper retro, and how much the player will enjoy that is entirely down to taste. I think it is great. There is a lot of charm to the characters, the monsters are nice and varied, and the world in which the game is set feels authentically fantastical. It is still retro, so temper your expectations, but it looks good considering the game began life as a mobile title.

alch3 (Copy)

Alvastia Chronicles is a solid retro JRPG with a decent story that will twist and turn, good combat and an interesting collecting/customising mechanic. The classic JRPG shouldn’t be relegated to the mobile platforms and can still offer plenty of entertainment on the home consoles. While Alvastia Chronicles follows the classic formula almost to the letter, and retro JRPGs are certainly not for everyone, anyone who has a passing interest in pixel-styled JRPGs will be able to find plenty to like in Alvastia Chronicles.




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