Infinite Links is not, as you may wish to guess from the title, a game featuring a smattering of heroes from the Zelda series. And nor is it a golf game featuring a never ending course. No, what this is is the latest in a long line of retro styled JRPGs from the undisputed masters of retro styled JRPGs. Yes, it is the latest from the busy bees over at KEMCO, and just for a change, we have to gather a gang of companions and save the world. Interested?
The first port of call with a game like Infinite Links is the story. Is it worth your time, or would hours of paint drying provide more entertainment? Well, we’re on pretty safe ground here as the narrative on offer is pretty good. Kronos is a young man, training in the battle arts with his grandfather, and he has a “sister” called Serene. I say “sister” because they aren’t actually blood related, but instead have grown up together and view each other as siblings. As you’d expect, their idyllic life doesn’t last long, and an evil wizard by the name of Azolph appears, does naughty things (no spoilers here!) and infects – if that’s the right word – Serene with an evil soul. This causes her to turn into an Evil, with a capital E; the name for the powerful monsters that roam the world. Thanks to the intervention of a Talisman researcher, Meytia, Serene’s evil soul is suppressed and the adventure begins. Can Kronos find Azolph in time to save his sister? Only you have the power in your hands.
In terms of presentation and as with pretty much every KEMCO game which seem to follow set patterns, Infinite Links is no different. It is presented from a top sort of three quarter viewpoint, and features large colourful sprites wandering about, talking to NPCs, exploring the world and delving into dungeons. If you have played a KEMCO game before you’ll know exactly what to expect. In fact, whenever I go about playing a KEMCO game, both my wife and son refer to them as “Asdivine games”; I’ve given up correcting them, but it does make my point. The characters are well designed and drawn, as always, and the monsters, despite being recycled from earlier games, are also pleasing to beat to a pulp.
Music and sound are as you’d expect – stirring martial music in the battle scenes, ominous tunes in the dungeons and so on, all delivered alongside the expected battle sounds; spells whooshing and swords swishing.
Now, the actual gameplay, and again, there’s nothing wildly new here either, yet one new element that does work well is that of Talismans. As you find Talismans in the world, you can equip them to the characters, and this will unlock new abilities for the person holding it. Each Talisman can be placed on a character’s skill “board” in a number of different ways; the way they are arranged can also have other benefits. For instance, by equipping a certain number of Talisman in certain places, powerful “Fatal Moves” can be unlocked, that can then be used in battle when you have gained enough SP. These Fatal Moves are usually worth trying to figure out, and as Infinite Links tells you what is needed for each one, it’s not rocket science to figure out.
In addition to this, you can also dismantle unwanted Talismans (you’ll soon have more than you know what to do with) to get fragments, or you can upgrade Talismans to make their effects stronger. The fragments that you gain can also be upgraded, as well as being nailed to your armour or glued to your weapon, gaining extra effects depending on what they are. Add in the ability to upgrade your weapons by consuming weaker ones, and all in all the customisation system is surprisingly deep and involving.
The actual combat is very much business as usual, and this time around the difficulty seems to be set very much on the easy side. If you so wish, you can move through the whole game pretty much just using the auto battle system (after setting what you want each character to do in the menus); not only to fully beat the game, but to embark and complete an extra chapter at the end without too much difficulty.
If you do choose to drive, you have the normal options of attack, use a skill, defend, use an item or run away to choose from, and all in all there is absolutely nothing new to report here. Played one Kemco, played ‘em all.
One slight disappointment however is that the level cap is set at 99; you are likely to hit that long before the end of the game, and as such every battle after that point is basically a waste of time. Earlier games had level caps at 999, so I’m unsure why it has been lowered. Admittedly, this is a niggle.
The rest of the time, Infinite Links does what you want a JRPG to do – it tells a good story, has relatable characters to enjoy and evil baddies to batter, distracting you from your day to day life.
Infinite Links can be downloaded from the Xbox Store