Sephirothic Stories

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There are 2 reviews for 'Sephirothic Stories'.

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Victar says:
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One of Exe-Create's weakest and shortest games. Lackluster 3D graphics, no postgame content, and a scrambled story. Timed navigation puzzles might be extremely frustrating with touchscreen controls.

In Sephirothic Stories, Exe-Create tried to do something different, by making an entire game (not just battle models!) with 3D graphics. Unfortunately, the development time put into these features seems to have cost the rest of the game. Sephirothic stories is quite short (the main game can be finished in under 10 hours), with no postgame content, very little optional content other than sidequests or grinding out awards/trophies, and the confusing story doesn’t give the playable characters very much depth.

The core gameplay is traditional turn-based combat that is heavily dependent on battle statistics, especially Speed; more Speed gives a character more turns. Characters only get a small stat boost from leveling up; most of their power will come from stat-boosting seeds that can be transformed into stat-boosting fruit in a real-time garden. Putting all stat boosters on one character will completely break the game and strip away all challenge even on the highest difficulty setting of Hard, especially since there are no optional bosses other than a few sidequest bosses.

There is a weapon customization system, but unlike other Exe-Create games, fusing weapons purchased from a store gives no benefit. The player must either fuse looted/discovered weapons (including weapons won from raffle tickets), or spend rare ores to give a weapon the desired customizations. There are also a combo system and a limit break system; both are poorly explained, especially the combo system (unlike other Exe-Create games, all combo hits must be done by a single character or the combo resets!)

Console and PC versions of Sephirothic stories offer paid DLC that powers up the characters in many different ways, or activates a menu option to turn encounters off. ALL of this DLC is unnecessary! Breaking the game by concentrating stat-boosters turns a single character into an unstoppable powerhouse anyway, and a Shop item will effectively turn off regular encounters.

Encounters in Sephirothic stories are not random. All enemies are visible on the map, and they don’t move. The player doesn’t have to fight an enemy unless it’s wedged in a narrow corridor. If an enemy is blocking the way, the player can still equip a Shop item that lets them walk right through the enemy without triggering a battle. This shop item costs only 150 Shop points, and Shop currency is easily amassed through regular battles in the PC and console version. On mobile versions, the player will have to decide whether parting with a little cash for the Shop item that turns off encounters is worthwhile.

Mobile players will also have to decide if a cash shop purchase to turn off the Murk meter is worthwhile. Console and PC players will naturally amass the needed Shop currency through regular battles, which is a plus because the speed at which Murk meter fills accelerates drastically in some late-game dungeons. The party is forced to leave a dungeon when the Murk meter reaches 100%! A quick-travel waypoint system in each dungeon makes this slightly less aggravating, and putting the fairy character in the lead will slow the growth of the Murk meter, but Murk still feels like something added just to extract a Shop purchase.

There are six playable characters. Three of these characters are always in the party; the player can choose which of the other three fills the fourth slot, and swap the fourth member whenever they’re at the starting village. Different fourth members bring different benefits, and story dialogue changes very slightly depending on who the fourth member is. However, characters not in the party do NOT gain any experience or SP (needed to learn spells) from battles. Sephirothic Stories does not have any character relationship meters or character-based endings.

The 3D character sprites of Sephirothic Stories are fairly well-animated, although they suffer from a blocky “chibi” look reminiscent of early Playstation or Nintendo DS games. The environments are sadly monochromatic and repetitive. It’s so bad that navigating dungeons can be a chore even with the automap; everything looks the same!

Perhaps the worst flaw is movement in 3D. It’s far too easy for characters to get hung up on ledges, stairs, or narrow openings. This is usually just a minor annoyance, but some sidequests are run-and-dodge puzzles on a short timer – even when playing with a controller, it’s far too easy to get hung up on the edge of some stairs and run out of time! Failure means the player must either retry or give up the sidequest, and I had to retry a couple sidequests dozens of times. I can’t imagine how terrible the movement puzzles must be with touchscreen controls. Some characters naturally run around faster than others, but this may potentially make the challenge of positioning the character to squeeze into a narrow gap even harder.

The story of Sephirothic Stories could have been its saving grace. Instead, it’s a scrambled mess, made even more confusing by the lack of non-player characters to talk to. People other than the playable heroes and the major story characters do exist, but the ONLY time you hear anything from them is in brief text snippets describing the optional sidequests. Nearly all the non-player characters in the home village are just fairy merchants, including the sidequest broker.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the story is that there’s almost no character development, except for a little in the main hero Harold, and maybe one other character. The story is mostly just the heroes reacting to the impending destruction of their world, plus some rambling explanations from the heroes’ allies and pontificating by the villains.

So, if the gameplay isn’t that good, the 3D graphics aren’t that good, and the story isn’t that good, then why should anyone play Sephirothic Stories at all?

For me, it was just because I liked the playable lizardman Izzy. Playable lizardmen are cool, and a rarity in video games. Yes, that really is why I played and finished Sephirothic Stories, when there are so many better RPGs out there.

Sephirothic Stories also works as basic JRPG comfort food, I guess. If you can deal with the annoying map navigation problems, that is.

  • 3D battle and environment graphics
  • Optional timed run-and-dodge puzzles are... something new for a Kemco RPG, I guess?
  • Playable lizardman, fairy, and catgirl characters! (The fairy and catgirl can't both be in the party at the same time)
  • 3D models are blocky, primitive "chibi" style, and 3D environments are so repetitive that they make dungeon navigation difficult
  • Characters get stuck on stairs, ledges, or narrow corridors when moving, making timed puzzles frustrating even with a controller, let alone touchscreen controls
  • Story is confusing, with very little character development, and just not that interesting
  • Mobile versions require a cash shop purchase to turn off regular encounters, or to disable the annoying Murk meter
  • Short with no postgame; sidequests are the only optional content
Sakura says:
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A World where you're born as a Adult...

Sephirothic Stories is another attempt from Exe Creates to make a 3D rpg. Unlike most Exe-Creates titles, you eventually have more than 4 party members. The game features stat seeds and a garden like earlier titles but, the difficulty is designed around using stat seeds with later dungeons and bosses being very difficult without using any.
Weapons can have various effects put on them at a blacksmith’s. Aside from a few rare accessories, you need have one of the three magic elements forged onto a weapon to learn magic.
While the cast is somewhat small, the plot never forgets any of them. In general the tone stays serious aside from once in a while when one character teases another. SOme of plot twists are obvious but, the overall plot is sound.
In addition to ingame money & IAP, there are two new currencies, silver & gold coins, which can be traded to a NPC for various consumables, weapons, armor and accessories. Similar to the stat seeds, eventually it’s advised to spend them to keep up with the difficutly curve. This shop is also where you can get a accessory that allows you to use and learn all three elements without filling out your weapon forge slots.
Similar to the newer Dragon quest games, there are no random battles. There are limited sprites to identify enemies but, it’s a nice change of pace.
Maps are now in 2.5/3d which dungeons having multiple heights. Unfortunately, the game’s jump function only allows for jumps straight up so it’s a missed opportunity. Additionally all six characters have a field effect that either helps in progressing through a dungeon, allows them to access certain items, or slows down the “Murk” meter. When the Murk meter is full, you are ejected out of the dungeon.

  • 6 playable characters, but the first three can't be removed
  • The element system that simplifies combat
  • Challenging bosses that are not trivialized by stat seeds
  • A single central town hub and selectable world map
  • The jump function doesn't help in progressing through maps
  • Character designs are a little simplistic
  • The Murk meter usually results in requiring two runs to clear a dungeon
  • No Post Game

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