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May 29, 2017

The Chosen RPG (Part 2)

On the one hand, he's really lucky, he's going around with
three girls in skimpy outfits. On the other hand, they're in
a world where skimpy outfits are the DUMBEST
possible wear since there are monsters EVERYWHERE.
We’re continuing from Part 1 this analysis of what’s been done right in The Chosen RPG, as well as what wasn’t done right! When we left off, Edge (the, ugh, "Chosen") and his three female friends wearing nothing but skimpy outfits were out to retrieve legendary artefacts that are meant to permanently upgrade the mighty God’s Tear, AKA that sword made by the God of Order to stop Lord Akuma’s forces of evil.

I’ll do my best to avoid discussing the fact that this RPG is just the umpteenth story I see with a chosen one. It’s even in the damn title! But it’s like saying that a sheep is woolly. Sure, I said it and it’s true, now what do we do with that info? It’s not even subtle about it, but while it’s a clear part of the plot, I believe there are more important things to say about it.

Oh look, an ice building with rolling snow boulders!
Never seen that before!
So, we need to find the Snow Temple, located south of Elfbush Village. We can just go north and find it too… as the world map wraps around itself horizontally and vertically. Boy, what a small world. Granted, it gives the world a feel similar to the first Final Fantasy, where this was also done, and it’s a nice effect that can be done in RPG Maker. But it makes finding your way around a bit complicated, as there is no smaller map to figure out where to go. Missed a smaller island? Too bad!

We now reach the snowy island and enter its sole building, where we find a small community of people who escaped Lord Akuma’s prison. Of course, just because they have happily escaped doesn’t mean they’ll lend anything to you for free. Gotta fork over the cash for all of these armors, weapons and items! Then we enter the following dungeon, which sees the party going through the good old random puzzles. Yeah, playing around a dungeon, solving puzzles seemingly put there by a greater order, all to get one little item? Just pushing boxes around?

Ah, VGCats. Between the poorly-timed political jokes, blatant author
filibusters and that one outrageous coathanger abortion joke, Scott
Ramsoomair at least manages to point out the silliness of certain
video game conventions.

Ah yes, a maze of staircases. Never seen that before
either. I don't want to imagine the corridors
Well… snowballs actually, but same difference. Then a maze of staircases, which feels like the teleporters from Pokémon – or maybe the staircases from StarTropics? Well, at least these two mazes award keys and special armor items, so it’s not all bad. Two Ice Keys collected, and the party enters the main room, where they battle an Ice Guardian. This victory gives them the God’s Wing. Now, all they need is the Holy Crystal.

Of note, as a programming quirk in The Chosen RPG, you can actually talk to and battle the Ice Guardian over and over again. That’s another thing to look out for when making your game; making sure that certain things won't trigger again when they should be done only once… But all that’s on my mind is how the three female party members must be freezing to death in their near-nudity in this environment. Trinity says that the Holy Crystal is in Rosefalcon Kingdom, where she comes from. Alright then, let’s go there. As we leave, we're accosted by the mysterious dark knight, so we have another boss fight with the guy.

That's Trinity's mom? She looks just like Trinity
in a dress. Might as well end up dating her instead
of her daughter, they look exactly the same.
He’s defeated, vanishes, and thus ends Chapter 2. The team goes to Rosefalcon, Trinity is welcomed as one of the greatest protectors of the place, and they head towards the castle. We enter the throne room, and when Trinity is revealed to be part of the royal family, we see that the Queen is basically Trinity in a dress. She doesn’t even look like a different character, doesn’t even look like she could be 18 to 25 years older than her daughter! Also note how Trinity’s sister has a bust appearing on-screen when she speaks, and miracle! She’s not in a bikini! …Nah, she’s in a leotard. The Queen says that Trinity and her team can only get the Holy Crystal if they can defeat Trinity’s sister Jen. Boss fight! And once that’s done, we move forward to get the Crystal. In the back room of the castle, upon touching the final artefact, the Angel Wing, the God’s Wing and the Holy Crystal merge on the God’s Tear to form the ultimate weapon of the game: The God’s Wrath.

They don't even bother to make the battler picture
look like Jen the character who appeared ON THE SCREEN
while talking!

Sure, let’s go with that, such a name can’t be as cliché as everything else in this damn story. Either way, it’s time to go out and beat up Lord Akuma! Thus ends Chapter 3 – well, that was a quick one.

There’s only one thing left to do, plot-wise. But no good RPG is complete without side-quests – and thus, what else is there to do in this game? Well, a fetch quest and bonus bosses. Standard fare.
-The fetch quest involves looking for six parchment papers hidden all over this world. They’re usually seen on the map, whether it’s on the ground, or on a table. Gotta look all over the place! Do you get a reward for bringing these parchments to someone? Actually, no. They just deliver tidbits of info about the game’s setting.
Finally a monster who might be the right size for this
battling format!
-The first bonus boss is a Cerberus. The three bonus bosses in this game were taken from the RPG Maker’s library of premade resources, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that these monsters have the stats they already had in the premade encounters that are available to everyone. The Cerberus lives on the second floor of a witch’s house, and when it’s defeated, the heroes gain the Magic Wand Azert, which is the best weapon that can be equipped to Myste.
-In the cave between the first island and the desert island, there was a dragon statue. If you have a certain key item, that dragon will awake and can be battled – and defeated, letting the party get its hands on Serenity’s best weapon, the Magic Claw Zephyrus.
Oh, it IS the most powerful monster in the world.
Not poweful enough to beat us though!
-There’s a challenge in Rosefalcon Kingdom where a house claims to contain the “most powerful monster in the world”. This one turns out to be the Demon God, who happens to be the most powerful of all premade enemies given stats when you start building something on RPG Maker. Final boss material, excellent bonus boss. It can nuke your party. It is, no joke, harder than the actual final boss. But train your heroes properly on that one island full of giant, tough monsters, and you’ll beat this one eventually. Thankfully, being set as a “contest battle” of sorts, the battle won’t kill your characters, merely leave them at 1 HP if you lose. When killed, the Demon God drops the Magic Sword Tyrfing, AKA the best weapon for Trinity.

With all that stuff equipped to the heroes, they can’t lose the final battle!

And thus we sail back to Lord Akuma’s dark fortress. On the way, it’s also possible to find a house where a witch will channel Edge’s mother through her bangle (remember that?), and that’s also where the Cerberus can be fought. The witch can even give the party the keys to her Airship, allowing the four to travel wherever they please. Reaching the fortress, we enter and can find a portal in a room leading towards another world. Gee, never seen that before.

Why, that just looks like a world where the designers forgot
to put on a floor!

You want to get in my way, lamia bitch?
There are powerful enemies in there, as is to be expected from the final dungeon, but the enemies are still giant in comparison to the hero sprites. Soon we get to a room with a locked door and one portal, with a little trial behind that portal. Each trial opens another portal towards a new trial, with a total of 4 "challenges" for the heroes. And, for a final dungeon, it’s simple but underwhelming. The first room is a simple “push stones” maze, one is a second maze of staircases. The third one is an incomprehensible quiz held by a… demon? In this final dungeon, you’re quizzed on the elements of the plot you’ve seen this far? Granted, the challenge is there, since it’s so hard to care about anything going on in this cliché story, but the advantage is that if you fail a question, you’re not booted out of that room and you can just pass the quiz over and over and over again until you beat it. The last one is a mix of portals and holes in walls. Too similar to those other challenges, but it’s something.

Can't I just kill you and skip the pop quiz?
Seriously, I couldn't be bothered to give a damn about
most of what happened in this game.

With all four challenges beaten, the middle door opens and the group enters Akuma’s throne room, only to meet Akuma himself and the mysterious dark knight. Honestly, it would be hilarious if his entire motivation for being a villain is because he’s fed up of seeing women walking around in lingerie and nothing else. But no, it’s generic “I want revenge because my father the God of Chaos was defeated and waaah waaah waaah”.

So, all this time I've been kicking my father's ass?
...He's gonna be so, so proud of me!
Akuma sends the dark knight at the heroes, and they battle him for a final time. If you got each party member’s ultimate weapon, this fight is surprisingly easy. When the dark knight is defeated, and possibly killed, the heroes ask him to drop his armor and helmet, and the guy does so… revealing himself to be Edge’s father.

Well, gee. Part of me wants to snark that I didn’t see that coming, although the intro of the game and the mentions of Edge’s dad hinted quite strongly at it. There was plenty of foreshadowing indeed. This game at least got that concept right, even if the twist is fairly obvious.

And thus, despite Edge’s dad risking death if Akuma is defeated… Edge takes on Akuma in a battle. This is the final battle, and Edge has the… well, edge of the fight. It kinda helps that he has three more characters in his party. It also helps if you overleveled on the isolated island. The party defeats Akuma and he vanishes, but then Edge’s father dies after sharing some final words with him. Good work, Edge. Then the place comes crashing down and the three girls flee before Edge. He leaves but gets trapped behind, while Trinity, Serenity and Myste are back in their world, just fine.

Nah, he dead.
Till the sequel, anyway.

And thus ends The Chosen, in a cliffhanger that gets resolved… in the sequel, which was released on Steam on March this year. And, great; that means that I’m gonna have to review that someday. So, this is all there was to say about this game…

By the end of the game, this screen of magic spells
that Myste can use is full. You have plenty of choice
to rain down blows on the enemies.
Yeah, it’s pretty bad. Not that it doesn’t have its merits, mind you; it makes good use of the RPG Maker’s map building, it utilises the status and element effectiveness charts (as in, to some enemies water will deal more damage than lightning, or lightning will deal more damage than fire, that sort of thing), and it has plenty of items, whether it’s healing items, armor, helmets, weapons and so on. Many key items, too, some which are important, some which aren’t. There was at least an attempt at making a complete story. It’s also pretty neat to have full busts of the characters showing up on-screen when they talk, though it was a double-edged sword in this case. The game is pretty well-balanced, with a decent difficulty progression, and its creator went the extra mile by including a searching side-quest (even if it gives nothing in return) and three bonus bosses – and while the side-quest offers nothing, the bonus bosses do give out three of the four best weapons in the game, so that’s pretty good.

They are facing the player and ignoring the characters!
However, the game also suffers from many issues: For starters, the game’s dialogue could have been spell-checked for errors and edited so that no part of text trails off out of text boxes. Then there’s the battles against enemies, which make no sense for the reasons explained last Friday: Due to the combination of battling sprites for the main characters and front-facing, large sprites for the enemies (as the regular RPG Maker system has battles in a First-Person P.O.V., hence the enemies are closer and are thus depicted as larger on the screen. The result is a clash between styles where the hero sprites are too small and the enemies are too big.

The main issue is probably the cliché story, which we’ve seen dozens of times. Gods of order and chaos in a constant struggle? A human descendant of a God causing havoc? A legendary sword that can defeat the evil? Collecting pieces to obtain something even stronger? Getting a team of allies? …Okay, that last one is kind of a requirement. The final level in a different, dark universe? A dark knight? A troubled hero with family secrets? Come on now.

For Christ's sake, if I want drawn porn of female
characters who never take off their underwear, I'll
go back and play Sexy Poker on my Wii again.
The worst part, though, is still the blatant, unnecessary fanservice. This is the only reason why the game has an age requirement on Steam: Half-nude busts of ladies. It adds nothing to the game, it’s just… there. As in, their state of dress is never alluded to, never referenced, there is nothing that ever justifies it or explains it. For some reason, three of the strongest ladies in that world just walk around in bras. That’s shameless. To make it worse, all the guys we see are in full body wear, especially Edge, the dark knight and Akuma, who wear FULL GODDAMN ARMORS, and even some other ladies in he story, like Trinity’s mother (who looks EXACTLY like Trinity) wearing a dress. Hell, even Trinity’s sister is better covered, wearing a leotard! I swear, this is terrible. I can usually give fanservice a pass, because it’s usually well-integrated in the story, but not in this case.

Look at that full body armor for Edge. If guys followed the
same fanservice rules, he's be in boxer shorts, fighting evil.

If I ever discuss this game again, it’ll be when I review the sequel, which I got as part of a bundle (so I paid very little for it). Judging by the user reviews and the screenshots in the trailer… yeah, it seems as though none of this game’s issues were resolved in the sequel.

Well, I’ll get there when I get there. Tune in this Friday for the next review, when I’ll be discussing the first free game I got from Ubisoft’s UPlay last year: Rayman Origins. See ya then!