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Generation of Chaos: Pandora’s Reflection [PSP] Review

By
Posted on March 7, 2013 AT 05:09pm

Generation of Chaos is a long standing game series that is well know for being a fairly complex RPG. Sometimes so complex that players new to the genre found the games frustrating and not enjoyable. The sixth game in this series, Pandora’s Reflection,  does not fall into this category. It is the polar opposite, in fact. Everything about the game is simple and refreshing. Sure, die hard fans of the series might find it too simplistic but the game is far more approachable to new players and that is a good thing.

The story takes place in Hades, the world not that pit of eternal damnation. Claude is searching the world for a cure, a cure to help his sister Yuri. Yuri has been “cursed” by a butterfly tattoo and it is slowly draining her. As is typical in all RPGs, the pair will pick up companions as they travel around Hades and become entangled in a quest far larger then theirs; a quest that will decide the fate of the entire world. The story isn’t earth shattering and it is pretty basic but a pleasure to watch unfold even if it is predictable at times. The voice work is in Japanese, including the songs, but the dialogue is subtitled in English. Cut scene dialogue is lengthy but I like that. I want to know all the details of a story. I will spend hours combing a game just to be sure I didn’t miss anything so having long conversation sequences is a gift. Admittedly, some players are not going to get the same pleasure from it and will probably find all that reading tedious. However, much of the story intricacies will be missed if you do, so try to at least skim it all.

The gameplay is very strategy-RPG. All battles start with you at your “home base” and the enemies in theirs. The objective is to take the enemies home base, gather everything you are bale to and to defeat enemies before they make their way to your home base. This is when the strategy aspect comes into play.  Like any other RTS game, you will guide a marker from the character of your choice to the target. Capturing points on the map can also yield special items, weapons or armor. The character will make their way to that point, battling any enemies that engage them along the way. Fight enemies takes on a very “rock-paper-scissors” combat model. The “Attack Chance” battle screen will appear and you will have to make a choice as to which combat item you wish to use (weapon, magic, etc). Once your choice is registered, another screen will appear. You will have to hit the appropriate “dots” as they are highlighted and doing so will result in bonus damage. Hopefully you have chosen the “rock” to their “scissors” and the battle will end quickly. As strategic as the combat portion is, the defense portion can be even more so. As stated previously, you need to protect your home base while trying to attack the enemies. You have a limited number of characters that can be on the screen at one time so chose your defender wisely. Though movement is “real-time” and you can maneuver a character to come back to help defend the base, each one has a different speed of movement so you may not make it back to your base in time to save it.

In addition to those basics, there are other points on the battlefield you can “capture”. These points might allow you to call in more back-up or maybe they will offer up some on-field weapons or armor to make you fight easier.  There is some finesse to figuring out the best battle arrangement and it can be quite challenging but not difficult you risk tossing your PSP out the window.

Of course winning battles will result in experience and alchemy points which can be used to upgrade weapons and armor or level up characters. If you collected items you no longer need or want, you can trade them in for alchemy points thereby allowing upgrades to happen faster. There is the option to go into “Battle Mode” after a fight sequence ends in the story mode. This allows for some additional level grinding but be warned, if you skip this you cannot enter it again until you win the next fight sequence. So if you want to grind, do it right then and do not continue with the story right away.

The controls are pretty easy to learn though I do have one complaint, there are no audio queues when in “Attack Chance” and you are trying to hit the button to coincide with the highlighted circles. You must rely solely on your eyes and ability to predict the timing. It’s not a game breaker but audio queues would have been a welcomed addition.

Graphically, Generation of Chaos: Pandora’s Reflection is exactly what you’d expect. The gameplay mode has the standard looking “sprites” you’d expect to find in a JRPG. The cut scenes are displayed comic book style with Japanese voice overs and English subtitles. Overall the graphics are clean, pretty and well done. Nothing groundbreaking but the style works with the gameplay. It is everything you would expect, stylistically, from a Japanese role-playing game.

The music is appealing and well thought out. While traveling or going through the story, players are greeted with orchestral background music. It’s very lush, beautiful and soothing. When in battle the music leans towards rock, very loud and rough, perfectly fitting to the action. The voice work is in Japanese, which I do not speak, but the inflections seem to jibe well with the text dialogue so I’d say it was successful. When in active fighting there are the sounds of swords clashing and slashing, indicating you were successful in your attack, all very well timed. I have no complaints at all in the sound department.

While not a genre-changing game,  Generation of Chaos: Pandora’s Reflection delivers hours of fun. I have never been a fan of RTS-style games but found it easy to learn and thoroughly enjoyable. Again, although seasoned JRPG players might find the gameplay too simplistic, it does provide enough of a challenge that those same seasoned players could find themselves being defeated in battle quite easily. Making the genre more accessible to beginners is not a terrible thing and will only lead to more fans for JRPGs.

  • The Good: Simple, Easy to Learn Controls, RTS Blends Well with RPG, Great Music
  • The Bad: No Audio Queues for “Attack Mode” Battle Bonus
  • The Ugly: N/A

Score: 8/10

 

 

Carly "PoisonPinkFluff" Frith is a little sugar, a little salt, and a whole lot of personality. Gamer, general geek and beer aficionado. Just call her a tomboy in high heels. She is on Twitter: @DN_PinkFluff.


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