Threads of Fate
Reviewed: 01/01/2004


A while after the release of Brave Fencer Musashi, there were rumors that Squaresoft had a sequel planned. Later, it was revealed that the game being discussed was similar in play and concept, but indeed a different game: Threads of Fate.

This game allows the player to choose from two possible main characters: The all-business Rue and the slightly corrupt magician, Princess Mint. The character the player picks will determine a number of things for their adventure. First off, you see the story from a different perspective with each character. Secondly, the story you see will have similar components and layout, but be significantly different from that of the other hero. For example, whichever hero you choose will ultimately be the one that finishes off the main boss. Also, scenarios that you don’t see the other hero experience will be only playable by being the other person. This makes for an interesting story with boosted replay value.

Your two quests will obviously have similar gameplay, but combat is as different as night and day from hero to hero. Rue has a special jewel in his forehead (the origin of which is something you find out in the storyline) that allows him to transform into mosters that he has defeated and, in effect, use all of their skills and powers to his advantage. At any given time, he can tranform into any of the last four monsters he beat. In the dungeons that are exclusive to Rue’s version of the story, knowing what monster’s power to use at what time is the key to progress. Meanwhile, Mint uses powerful magic to wipe her enemies out. While she can hack and slash with her magic rings just as Rue can slice and dice with his sword, she also learns many types of magic throughout the game. Much like Rue’s transformations, using the magic in the right places is clutch for completing Mint’s adventure.

This adventure I speak of is one involving the hunt for an ancient relic that brings its owner unimaginable power. Rue needs this relic to revive his recently-killed sister. Mint wants it for, in her own words, “world domination, baby!” The main two, as well as the other characters in the game, all have distinct personalities, which is pretty much a must for decent story telling. Rue is calm and serious about most everything, while Mint is always hilarious in her freaking out about things. And the Pirate, Captain Roy, who camps outside of Corona, is such a cool guy. I won’t explain more about him because he’s just a dude you need to meet for yourself. The story itself might lack splendor, but the good cast helps make up for it.

Screen Shot
2D gameplay in a 3D world.

The gameplay is analogous to Brave Fencer Musashi, which surely assisted in those sequel rumors. One difference other than the obvious combat change is the observation that most all of the action in Brave Fencer was at least 2.5D (3D even moreso), with a few exceptions. In Threads of Fate, the majority of the action play is done Klonoa-style, with 3D graphics, but mainly just a 2D movement range. The larger portion of areas will have some 3D movements with the camera and such things, but the play itself uses principles set forth by 2D platformers (with RPG-style growth and stats mixed in, of course). Most boss fights are in true 3D, but that’s about it for complete 3D action in ToF.

Said gameplay is very fun…most of the time. This game has some obstacles/situations that are just plain hard. Seriously, don’t let the kiddy art style fool you; no matter who you are, you will get your ass handed to you somewhere in Threads of Fate. It’s not unbeatable, but as a caution, it can get frustrating, and it’s not always the gamer’s fault. The gameplay loses a bit here. Fortunately, replay value is increased by the presence of a “New Game +”. This works the same way as it does in Chrono Cross, allowing for the restart of a game with the character in the same status you cleared it with. This is a good idea, but doesn’t really do much for the game. What’s the point in playing when there’s nothing extra to collect and no risk of dying till the final boss fight?

The graphics in the game are great. While ToF has no CG cinema’s to dance with Parasite Eve, the game is dazzlingly colorful, and everything has good detail. The fact that the game looks the way it does and offers full camera rotation is an amazing accomplishment on the part of Square. The sound effects and music match the game’s style, but the only music track that struck me as real-world priaseworthy was the one that plays in the town of Corona. Meh.

Perhaps in part due to lack of competition, Threads of Fate is the best action RPG on the Playstation. The gameplay, although sometimes frustrating, can still deliver that all-important element of fun. The graphics and sound/music are respectable even to this day in a new console generation, and the cast is as entertaining as any you’ll find in an action RPG. The two-character concept and “New Game +” feature encourage replay value, and the game’s presentation is top-notch. Square did a lot of things right in Threads of Fate.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Good
Graphics Great
Sound/Music Below Average
Replay Value Excellent
The Verdict: Great