It will come as no surprise to anyone that KEMCO are back with another entry into the popular Asdivine series of retro styled JRPG. This one – Asdivine Saga – follows a series of geriatric former adventurers who get up to all kinds of mischief, including losing false teeth and overdosing on Berocca. I jest of course, but expect to see that plot line in the near future. No, Asdivine Saga follows a much younger set of protagonists as they attempt to save the world from evil, again. I invite you to join me on a journey around the known world.
Vyse, as our hero is known, is a Nondian, from Nondia Village. Nondians are famed the world over for their physical strength and straightforward way of dealing with things: hit the problem until it goes away. As Asdivine Saga opens, Vyse and his friend, Axel, are charged with finding out why the young men of the village are disappearing. It turns out that the warring kingdoms of Lightoria and Zandark are “recruiting” Nondians to fight in their armies, and so the course is set.
It’s here where Thanatus, the spirit of evil, comes in and after managing to possess the kings of both Kingdoms and deciding to cause a war, it falls to Vyse to uproot the evil spirit, and recruit a party of like minded warriors (all female, of course, this being a KEMCO game), to put an end to the evil and save the whole world.
The companions that are recruited are, in order of appearance, Akane, a survivor of the Shinobi Clan, Celes, the Princess of Lightoria, and Nisha, the princess of the Zandark nation. Whether this is what would usually happen, with young, nubile members of the king’s own family being sent off with a mercenary that they only met five minutes ago remains somewhat unclear, but with sufficient suspension of disbelief, this can be overlooked. It helps that all three ladies are trained warriors too, proficient in swinging weapons about and utilising magic.
So, what can we expect from Asdivine Saga? Well, if you’ve played a KEMCO game before, pretty much the same as always. It is a retro styled JRPG, with lovely hand drawn, almost, portraits of our heroes becoming available when we go into their inventory or when they speak in a cutscene. In the game itself, the graphics have an appealing retro presentation, and they look pretty good in motion. Sound presentation is equally good, with the usual fare of sword smacks and whooshing spells complemented by stirring battle music to hum along to. It really is all business as usual here.
Fights are triggered on a regular basis, and take the standard side-on view, with the goodies on the left and the baddies on the right. From there, turn-based combat ensues. This is one of the easier KEMCO games I have played (and I’ve played a lot) and with a little light tweaking of the Tactics in the menu, I have been able to get through the game largely only really needing the “Auto Battle” command. Let that sink in for a moment: I beat the final boss of a JRPG by pressing X and leaving my guys to their own devices.
Admittedly, as Asdivine Saga went on I took advantage of being able to buy Orbs that increased the EXP I received after a fight (I ended up at 300% EXP after each fight) and so had no difficulty beating the enemies. As a guide, my team were well over level 500 by the end game.
The rest of the mechanics are pretty much as standard as well. The three companions can all be given gifts to raise their trust level in Vyse, and depending on who you choose, it is possible to obtain different endings. Maidame Curie returns with her Battle Arena, and for the first time in a KEMCO game, I’ve found myself able to clear the highest level of competition. Of course, this prompts Maidame Curie to open a new arena downstairs, and I got destroyed in the second of her challenges so be aware that grinding may well be required.
However, beating the boss here does not trigger an additional story chapter and instead you are returned to a point before the final boss, at which point you can go off and explore. There is no after game content in the traditional sense.
All in all, Asdivine Saga does exactly what it says on the tin. The story is good, delivered without too much padding, and the characters are engaging. Fighting is as fun as ever for a KEMCO title, especially when you consider taking in some grinding and the opportunity to head into the extra arenas. In fact, it’s hard to find too much in the way of bad points. That said, Asdivine Saga has a feeling of deja vu; a feeling that you’ve seen it all before. While this in itself is wearisome, it isn’t a reason to not recommend things, especially to new players.
You can grab a copy of Asdivine Saga from the Xbox Store