Odd decision, this, releasing a role-playing game, like, SEVEN DAYS AFTER THE BIGGEST RPG EVER, Final Fantasy XIII. Shame, because of the two Resonance Of Fate appeals more to our Western sensibilities. We of course mean our love of blowing stuff up with guns.
Yes, the ﬁghting may still be mired in the stubborn JRPG tradition of turn-based combat, but Resonance does a great job of hiding the tactical depth and endless grinding behind some of the ﬂashiest gunplay you're likely to see on PS3. Spend an hour or so with the combat tutorials at the start of the game, and you'll be pirouetting through the air emptying ammo into all kinds of strange creatures pretty much from the start. Satisfying stuff.
A good job really, because ROF is hard. You need to grind your way through random battles for hours before you can make a dent in some of the bigger bosses, and if you fail, you have to pay money to retry each ﬁ ght. Ouch. The key to success lies in knowing when and how to use your team and, although the mechanics are far too complex to explain here, there is a fantastic amount of depth to the system. Ten or so hours in you won't have mastered Resonance of Fate, but you'll have had a great time learning the strategies.
Sadly, ROF stumbles where its closest rival shines. The story is jargon-ridden JRPG nonsense, and you really have to invest yourself in the game to understand the big picture. The cast is achingly clichéd too.
In terms of setting and cut-scenes ROF is thrashed by Final Fantasy. Environments are cold and metallic, drawing from Steampunk as opposed to FF's vibrant sci-ﬁ . The city in which the game takes place, Basel, is an interesting concept: a huge, multi-layered tower that sticks out high above the world below, but in reality it's just a collection of grey towns and combat arenas.
So, what's a JRPG fan to do? One month and two worthy but contrasting games to choose from... Resonance is better suited to scratching that level-grinding, gun-toting itch, but Final Fantasy is more accessible, looks in-cred-ible and makes you feel good about PS3 and as such, gets our +1 vote of approval.
An explosive JRPG hamstrung by drab environments and duff characters.