Aeon Avenger – review (with Symphony of Eternity)

Yet again another review for non-otome game… this time for Aeon Avenger made by Kemco Games. Only read this if you’re interested in playing retro-looking RPG games on an Android device.

…to be honest this is more of a rant than a review, but ehh.

The story started when Lake’s whole family and village was wiped out; his family was murdered and his village massacred by monsters controlled by a man wearing a suit of black armour. Lake himself would had lost his life, if not for a traveller who happened to be passing by… the traveller only just managed to escape, taking Lake with him. Returning to his village only to find it burnt to ground, Lake swore revenge. In the quest of hunting down the man in black armour, he came across a rumour of a clan who could time travel, and thought to ask for the clan’s help in pursuing his revenge. His path would take him to the future and the past, and in the process revealed an unexpected twist to the man in black armour’s motive for starting the whole drama.

…also, I’ve just now remembered… I finished Symphony of Eternity ages ago but never reviewed it. Umm. Guess I’ll review that here… mostly as a comparison to Aeon Avenger. If you just want the conclusion: SoE was better.

For its story, Symphony of Eternity started out with a kingdom getting attacked, with the royal general asking the princess to run away while he held back the attackers. The scene then shifted away to 2 travellers in the forest hearing a ruckus nearby and saving a girl from her attackers… before telling them that she was the princess. To be honest I played this ages ago and can’t really remember what happened next, but it dealt with investigating why the attack started, what caused the whole thing and how far the whole effect of it spread… there’s also the fact that one of the said travellers was actually one of 4 ancient golems built in the previous era as a weapon, and that another golem might had been involved in the uprising against the royal family… maybe. Yeah, I can’t remember much.

In comparison between the 2, SoE seemed to have a more balanced story. There were serious moments and light hearted moments, that served to give the characters an extra dimension to their personality and motivation. In contrast… AA was through and through serious and sombre… I can’t remember a single character cracking a joke or anything similar. As a result, most of the characters seemed paper-thin. I wondered about some of them… there’s nearly no motivation or reason for them to join Lake in his quest of revenge. Their reason was nothing deeper than “I want to help”, which in an RPG like this… is probably akin to “I’m just killing time since I have nothing better to do”.

AA actually felt like an exercise in writing an RPG storyline. Something like 85% of the story was a fetch quest.  To illustrate: we need to ask person X about something important -> person X lives in a remote inaccessible area protected by barrier -> thankfully we can get pass the barrier if we have a particular item -> we finally got the item, but it’s broken -> we need to find to find the parts to fix it, it can be found in village Y -> village Y is held captive by some random bad guys and we need another item to get past their security -> etc, etc, etc. …at one point in the game, Lake as the main character said that he’s tired… that it felt like he kept on getting thrown about instead of actually accomplishing his main goal. I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BUDDY. Thankfully, probably to counter this, the dungeons were fairly short.

SoE’s battle system was pretty interesting, namely that each character could equip a “mode” and the EXP gained during battles would level up that “mode”, unlocking various skills passive and active. The skills remained usable, even if you switch modes. For AA, your weapon had slots, and you can equip your weapons with “bits” which would give you spells/skills (passive and active… think Materia from FFVII). Each bit would use up a certain number of slots, and when you unequip the bit you can’t use the skill/spell associated with it. So you have to choose the bits carefully to maximise the (combined) effects.
Tip for AA: The best “bits” are the ones you get from sidequests, and can’t be bought.

The one gimmick with AA which seemed interesting, time travel… was nowhere close to comparable to Chrono Trigger in its execution; it might as well simply be travelling between maps, instead of time travel. There were the odd quests, yes, with “I wonder if my ancestor/descendant was/will be doing X?”, but those quests were easily solved by travelling to the respective era, finding the person in question, talk to them and return to the originator of the quest to be rewarded with bits… and there were only 2-4 of these quests throughout the whole game. When you compare that to Chrono Trigger…

…while it’s unfair to compare AA to Chrono Trigger, I can’t help it since the game pulled off a similar twist in its plot. Stop reading now if you absolutely can’t stand spoiler.

…the plot twist being the death/supposed demise of the main character. In Chrono Trigger, Crono died trying to save his friends. His friends took this in about as bad as you could imagine, and via time travel you could save Crono, although the process was long and definitely not easy… but it showed what his friends (and you as the player) were willing to go through to save Crono. In AA, what happened… was simply disappointing. Basically, whilst trying to stop Bad Guy, both Lake and the Bad Guy got transported to a gap between time and space…
Friends: Oh no! It’s almost impossible to get out of there!
Me: Yes! Finally! Now they’ll travel there and risk everything to save Lake, and finally I’ll get to see some character development!
Lake: Hi everyone, I’m back.
Friends: How did you manage to get back???
Lake: [insert Deus Ex Machina here] saved me and pulled me out of the time-space gap.
Friends: Awesome! We’re so glad you’re safe!
Me: …what the f***.
…yea, that summed up my opinion.

Overall it wasn’t a bad game (I’ve played worse), but I wouldn’t recommend it either. Between SoE and AA, SoE had a better execution to its storyline; it felt somewhat ‘complete’. On the other hand, AA suffered from a lack of story and conclusion. If you have the option to pick between the two, pick SoE. It’s a nice intro to the company’s works.

(Yes, I know it’s not really a review for SoE… it’s been ages and I can’t remember much.)

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About…

Just an otome game fan. ...who spends a lot of weekends playing otome games on PC with a Japanese dictionary propped open on her lap.
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