By Janelle | March 17, 2010 at 10:12 am
Resonance of Fate just hit store shelves, and if you still have no idea how the game plays (considering the lack of info on the official site, who can blame you?), here’s the second and final part of our “Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know About Resonance of Fate” feature. It covers everything that’s not the battle system and story, including details about the world map and the weapon customization system.
Resonance of Fate is broken up into mission-based gameplay contained within chapters. Each chapter will contain at least one story-related mission, several option missions, and at least two cutscenes bookending the chapter. All chapters begin and end at your home base, and after the chapter-ending cutscene, the game will ask if you would like to proceed to the next chapter. It gives you fair warning: missions can not be returned to, so get what you want to done before moving on.
The World Map
Resonance of Fate takes place all over a giant tower called Basel. So really, the “world map” is more of a tower map. It consists of many hex-tiled maps of floors all strung together and connected by elevators. The hex tiles that can be explored are very limited at first; hexes are blocked off and must be unlocked with puzzle-shaped pieces, which consist of four hexes put together in various shapes like straight lines, diamonds and crescents. Most hexes are plain white, but some are colored, which require special colored hexes to unlock, controlling whether certain areas can be accessed during a chapter or not. Hexes are acquired from story sequences, treasure boxes, and fighting enemies.
Using hexes to unlock pieces of the map is useful because, aside from advancing the amount of explorable area, treasure boxes might be hidden under locked hexes. This treasure can be everything from medicine and grenades to costumes .
Some parts of the map have colored hexes built in, but a way to start a specific color of hex going is to lay down an Energy Station. Energy Stations serve as world map save and heal points, as well as portals to warp back to Ebel City if the whole floor that they are place on is unlocked. Just as importantly, Energy Stations can start a group of specific colored hexes in an area that they might not be in naturally, and may be placed on any high-energy hex (a hex that is brighter than the others indicating how much power is in that part of Basel).
Once a colored hex is laid down, adjacent hexes can be converted to that color also (given enough colored hex pieces), the grouping of which is important for powering Terminals. Terminals require a certain number of connected colored hexes to power themselves, and once activated, provide bonuses for all fights on those hexes and within dungeons on those hexes. Terminal powers might include things like “Experience up,” Fire damage up,” and “Rare item drop up.”
All of these puzzle-laying mechanics may be done without taking a step, but when you choose to start moving about the world map, time begins to pass. An indicator in the top-right of the screen shows the time cycle as it passes from dawn to day to dusk to night and around again. The time cycle is important, because certain NPCs and missions are only available at night, and some areas may only be entered at night.
The world map also contains both random and fixed-location battles. Random battles have a chance of occuring on any hex that isn’t designated “safe,” like ones around certain towns and on the upper floors of Basel, while fixed battles are red-glowing hexes that may be walked over without initiating the battle. Pressing the confirm button on a battle hex will start the battle.
Dungeons are placed on the world map, but some of them are laid out like miniature world maps themselves, with individual sections of the dungeon that may be entered (several battlefields strung together to make a location, which I referred to as “dungeon pieces” in part 1). Controls here are similar to the world map, but it isn’t necessary to unlock the hexes within a dungeon. Menus may only be accessed in a dungeon in the overall dungeon map, not within a battlefield.
Any screen that isn’t a dungeon or the World Map is a town (or town-like) screen. It usually features the ability to walk around freely with one of the main characters, a fixed camera, and the ability to open the main menu. Time passes when moving between town-like screens , and when entering and exiting them from the World Map; often this time passage is signaled by a change in music.
In a town-like area, unlike battle screens, the camera can not be controlled, but sits on a rail, following the lead character where appropriate. The types of interactions available here are what one would expect from an RPG: using the Confirm button, various objects and people can be interacted with after moving around. Dropped items show up as occasional flashes of light, and can be picked up.
Only one of the three main characters may show up on the screen at a time, but the shoulder buttons can be used to toggle who specifically is in front. This actually makes a difference in Resonance of Fate: NPCs will react differently to each character, certain treasures can or can’t be picked up, and certain exits can or can’t be used.
Some towns have Guilds, where like-minded Hunter squads (Private Military Firms in the Japanese version) can go to accept missions and gain information. Each Guild has characters who offer up useful combat advice and tips about monsters, and a man that allows players to trade in colored hexes for Energy Stations. The Guild in Ebel City also has a man who explains the function of Guilds, the flow of missions, and rewards from the Guild.
Missions appear on the bulletin boards in Guilds. All missions are exclusive to a particular chapter, though some unlock only after other missions from that chapter have been completed. Every mission has an objective and reward, and most have a character that must be spoken with to trigger the mission; all of this information is available on the bulletin boards, including where the trigger character may be found. That character will have an exclamation point above his head to signal the availability of the mission, though missions must be learned about on the bulletin board before the exclamation point will appear.
Mission objectives range from talking to certain characters, to defeating monsters, to finding certain items, to changing clothing. The mission menu always will display what stage the mission is in and a recap of what the trigger character said about it. Some missions require other information from talking to that character or other characteres.
Hunter Points (PMF points in Japanese) are a ranking system within the Guild, and are awarded at the completion of any mission, including story missions. For every 100 Points collected, the Guild will mail you a prize, up to nine times throughout the game.
The Enemy Library can be accessed within Guilds, and also at home. It contains all information about enemies previously encountered, including where they are found, dropped items, weaknesses, and the defensive strength of each piece of armor.
The Boutique, Changing Rooms, and Clothes
In Ebel City, a thriving boutique has clothing and costumes for all three main characters. As the game progresses, more and more new outfits and accessories appear in this shop. Boutique clothing has no effect on characters stats; it’s only for appearance’s sake. The boutique’s interface allows the player to view new pieces of clothing on the character before buying, and includes a modeling interface that lets the camera zoom, pan and rotate to show many angles on an outfit.
Each character comes with two outfit groups: the A group that all start with, and a B group that unlocks later in the game. Each has different types of clothing. For example, Leanne’s A outfit consists of a full body coat and ribbon, but her B outfit is made up of a short skirt and shirt instead.
In the Boutique, and in various other places around Basel, you can find changing rooms that store all the outfits acquired so far. Here, they can be changed at will, and an extra interface allows “sets” to be saved, favorite combinations of outfits and accessories that can be reequipped by simply selecting the set.
There are three different kinds of shops in Resonance of Fate. Most of the shops on Basel will gain new stock as the player progresses through chapters.
Regular shops may sell anything from weapon components and medicine to ice cream. They take Rubies, currency of the land, in exchange for items or vice versa.
Dismantling shops will, for a fee, take apart any items (good or bad) and give you back their individual components. This is the only place to make good use of all the miscellaneous junk found while exploring Basel, as some broken guns have still-usable materials hidden inside of them. The right window of the shop will show all the components that would be received for dismantling the selected item.
The opposite of Dismantling shops, Customizing shops will take components and put them together to make useful accessories for customizing weapons with. Customized accessories usually require some sort of base piece bought from a regular shop, plus a component of some sort to improve it: for example, making Fire Bullets might require an empty powder shell plus a piece of scrap metal and a fire stone. The items necessary for creating customized accessories are the same that would be received by dismantling that accessory, so work done at a Customizing shop can always be undone at a Dismantling shop, though it would cost some hard-earned Rubies.
At any time within the menu, you may customize the guns currently in possession by attaching different pieces, such as scopes, barrels and extra magazines. Bringing up the menu starts with a list of parts that are available, as well as a grid that the gun body is placed on. Each gun has different shaped slots that matching pieces may be attached to (which may, in turn, have their own slots for attaching more and more pieces). Some parts like barrels and magazines may only be attached to a specific type of gun (Machine or Hand Guns), while scopes and other accessories may be used on both. The goal of customization is basically to fit as much onto the gun as humanly possible without overlapping anything on the grid and without making the gun too heavy and exceeding the weight limit of the characters, who can only carry so much at a time.
Each customization part adds weight to the gun and improves or decreases an attribute of the gun. There are five attributes: the charge stacking time (as a percentage) affecting how much faster each subsequent charge will fill; the range, affecting how fast the gun charges from how far away (guns typically charge more slowly from further away, so this lengthens this distance before a gun becomes ineffective); the Gauge Crack rate, affecting how often the gun will Gauge Crack the enemy (see: Part 1: Gauge Cracking); the attack power, which affects how much damage the gun will deal; and the bullets, which increases how many shots are fired with each attack.
The Arena, located just outside Ebel City, is a place of battles, tutorials, and soft ice cream. It is open in every chapter, and as chapters advance, more extra battles are available for fighting, offering money and coins for prizes. Also in the Arena is a board that tracks statistics for the game, including how many Tri-Attacks have been executed, how many fights have been escaped from, how long each character has been controlled, and more.
As the game progresses, more battle levels open up, generally containing enemies from that chapter’s dungeon but sometimes showcasing new enemies as well. Levels are split into sublevels, like 8-1, 8-2, and so forth, and each previous sublevel must be beaten three times before moving on to the next one. When selecting a level, a certain number of Rubies must be paid, and the payout upon winning is a ratio that increases with each win. So the first level pays out at a rate of 1.1, and gradually builds up to be financially worthwhile. Each level also pays out a number of battle coins, which come in three types: bronze, silver and gold. Higher levels pay out better coins. The Arena has a shop where different amounts and types of coins may be exchanged for rewards.
Q. Airman asked “Is there a costume abilities system? (like anti-freeze, better resistance, that kind of stuff)”
A. Nope. Costumes are aesthetic only. Might have been kind of cool, but that would defeat the purpose of accessories, some of which do provide better resistance, anti-freezing, and so forth.
Q. Airman asked, “Are there specific missions with the day/night system?”
A. Sort of. Not all missions are time-specific, but the characters that show up in town areas have a schedule (ie. some only show up at night), and some enemies and events can only trigger at a certain time. Some missions are completely time-independent, though, and can be found and completed at any point in the time cycle.
Q. Airman also asked, “Is there a bonus dungeon, like the classic Seraphic Gate?”
A. This one is sort of a spoiler. If you care, get out of here.
On the world map, there is a black hex that can’t be opened up with any Energy Hexes. It’s an elevator to the bonus dungeon, but it only opens up at the very end of the game, directly before the final boss.
Q. Aurian asked “How much character customization is there?”
A. Aside from the purely aesthetic costume customization, characters can equip two weapons or kits and an accessory, and the weapons themselves can be modified with parts to mold how effective they are. Beyond that, there isn’t much customization of the actual characters. In Resonance of Fate, it’s the weapons that are really the most important part to concentrate on.
And with that, that’s it. It’s been a lot of words (particularly Part 1, by far the most complex part of the game) about Resonance of Fate, but I hope these two pieces have served as a nice preview/heads-up to a game that has done a great job at flying under the radar. RPG Land’s import review of Resonance of Fate (End of Eternity) is here, but check back for our review of the localized version.