Aside from a monster publisher like Square Enix, there aren’t many other companies out there that dedicate themselves to producing traditional Role Playing Games for next generation systems. That’s where a company where Atlus comes in, producing easily over a dozen high quality RPGs since it was founded in the early ’90s. With an obvious love for the genre, their games are strictly for the hardcore RPG fan- you know, the type that don’t mind dedicating hours upon hours to their games.
Make no mistake about it, “Hexyz Force” is not only a labor of love from Atlus, but is a game that will demand at least 40 hours of your time with two memorable adventures that demand patience, persistence and a love of the past games of the genre.
Feeling a bit like the original “Wild Arms” at times, with beautiful anime scenes, nearly 45 minutes in all, sprinkled in between the excellent plot-driven story, “Hexyz Force” is indeed a force to be reckoned with on Sony’s portable console.
In the end, it’s not exactly perfect, but it’s got plenty of reasons to keep your fingers glued to it.
With two campaigns to play through, one with the Cerulean Knight Levant or the youngster Cecilia, both with completely different personalities, there’s a story for everyone here. On one side, Leon definitely channels the Cloud Strife-type persona, as his battles with inner demons and inability to vent his emotions play a huge role in the tale, while Cecilia sometimes gives you the feeling she’s just a long for the ride, before understanding exactly what it is she’s fighting for. As a result of this, you’ll want to play through both campaigns [you can pick which character to play with at the start of the game] and see what the fate of Berge will eventually become. Like a great RPG and a well-told anime, both sides have great supporting characters at their side as well. As a matter of fact, sometimes you’ll even find yourself more attached to them than Leon or Cecilia. This doesn’t hurt the game by any means however, as it’s just a testament to the depth of the story.
Vincent Valentine eventually got his own game, nearly a decade after Final Fantasy VII, so why not the super, mega, totally awesome Lygar, Griek?
We’ll be waiting Atlus.
Regardless of this though, the story of “Hexyz Force” isn’t as epic as you’d like. Sometimes, you’ll feel that you’re just running from place to place, gopher-ing for one item to continue the story. These moments are few and far between, but enough to make you feel sidetracked while trying to uncover the mysteries of Berge.
Graphically, “Hexyz Force” features simple 3D sprites that are far from visionary, but are more than solid. During dialogue scenes, portraits of the characters are placed next to their words, providing a bit more allure [sometimes bringing out the “finer” qualities of the female characters as well] and adding enough polish to keep your eyes happy. Nonetheless, you’ll get aggravated whenever you stomp into a new area and see that you’re fighting essentially the same enemies [minus the boss battles of course, those are all pretty darn cool], just with different color swatches.
It worked in the original Dragon Warrior, Atlus, not anymore.
In spite of that though, a nice leveling up system that allows you to unlock new moves for your characters, a solid turn-based battle system and a nifty weapon and item creation system do more than make up for the apparent laziness of the enemy designs. Simply put, when so many elements of the game are this solid, you can look past minor imperfections and play this game all the way through.
Add in over 40 hours of gameplay in the Chef Boyardee [meat] part of the game and a few interesting side quests and it’s quite possible that “Hexyz Force” is quite possibly not only the best “new” RPG on the PSP this year, but the best in quite some time.