03rd Nov2017

Digital Shorts: ‘Revenant Saga’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Matthew Smail

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Revenant Saga, a new RPG available now on the Nintendo Switch.

revenant-screen

Whilst I’m a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch’s ability to take fully featured console games and transform them into an exceptional mobile experience, I am much less keen to see mobile phone games make the transition to Nintendo’s latest console. In the main, the lightweight experience offered by most mobile phone games is simply not one I want to play through and more often than not, the Switch prices are inflated for an unchanged product.

In the case of Revenant Saga, which began life as a mobile game cast in the mould of a late 16-Bit era RPG, I’m afraid I see little to change my mind. The Switch version is a straight port of the mobile phone version, complete with full, badly animated sprite based graphics during exploration scenes and reasonably well rendered but very dated polygon models during battle sequences. The dialogue is delivered via reams and reams of text overlaid on top of character portraits and there is nothing by way of voice acting or animated cut scene to get excited about.

The story itself is typical RPG fare from about 1995. A mysterious plague is killing people en-masse even as an army of revenants sweep the land killing more. We play as Albert, a protagonist who lives up to the genre stereotype for brooding lead males almost to a tee. We learn in the opening scene that his parents died from the plague, so when best friend and possible love interest Anna comes to him to save her own family, he is driven to action. Whilst avoiding spoilers about the early game, I can say that Albert is soon embroiled in a fairly suspicious plan that ultimately ends up changing him in an unexpected way.

What follows is a decent enough, by the numbers RPG from a bygone era. Exploration of the top down, two dimensional world is fairly dull and I don’t feel it translates well to larger screens (either the TV or the Switch itself) due to generally uninteresting locations. The battles are much better, even though most encounters are randomized in the style of JRPG’s of the 1990′s. Combat is turn based and simplistic to begin with, but as the game proceeds things become more and more challenging. It helps that visually, the battle scenes are much more vibrant and exciting than the two dimensional sections, which really shows off the character design and some of the better combat effects.

Revenant Saga isn’t going to win awards for originality, story or visuals, nor is it the bargain of the century, but I suppose it is a serviceable JRPG for fans of the genre. Assuming you’ve already exhausted the wealth of other emerging RPG’s that are now available for the Switch, you could probably spend your money in worse ways.

**½  2.5/5

Revenant Saga is available on the Nintendo Switch now from KEMCO.

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