Foreword: So June releases weren’t that great, so I decided to go through some backlog as well as play through games I enjoyed in the past. Good stuff, right? Yeah, it is if it wasn’t for me going full retard and trying to play 6 games at once. GGWP, joyjason. Just fabulously smart.
…And that’s the excuse I give to why this review was delayed more than it should have been really…
Regardless, let’s get to this review. I was mostly intrigued by how this game had two protagonists. If you remember my review from Sorcery Jokers and Ikusa Megami Verita, I did mention that I greatly enjoy games that feature two protagonists because that just adds more complexity to the game. However, this game actually botched up in the sense that while it did feature two protagonists, they never really correlate to each other, so it seemed as if the game was two separate “games”. I’ll do more explaining of this, and why I didn’t think this was a good game, further below.
Title: 剣聖機 アルファライド (Kenseiki Alpharide; Alpharide the The Holy Sword)
Release Date: October 23, 2015
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v14325
Getchu Link: http://www.getchu.com/soft.phtml?id=796625
Game Type: Fantasy SRPG revolving around themes of “relationships”
Summary: Kai and Shizuma are both normal teenagers in the real world, but both of them were destined to be brought to this world of war and strife sooner or later.
Kai follows the steps of the mother who has passed away, and acquires new friends and an existence that he wants to protect with all his might, Shizuma defeats his opponents one by one and climb the ladder ranks even to the point of becoming the Commander of the Lujiwada Army.
The two protagonists will cross paths, despite how different their environments and mindsets are.
Story Length: Moderately Long (30 hours)
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Very Difficult (Level Grinding)
Comments: So the difficulty of this game stems from the fact you need to grind like hell. Yep, this is going to be a real turn-off for some of you, so I suggest getting a savedata from somewhere (Sagaoz doesn’t have one LOL), OR OBTAIN A CERTAIN WELL-USED CHEAT PROGRAM HINT HINT.
No seriously. Get “Cheat Engine” if you’re going to play this game because otherwise, you’ll probably become bald due to hairpulling from frustration. You’ll thank me.
But with jokes aside, this is very bad design; having a game which forces the player to literally “grind” his units from already completed battles (which are also pretty fucking long, mind you), with no real context on said grinding. I’ll make sure to get into the details about this in the comments. In regards to Choices, however, it is extremely straightforward and simple.
Character Design Rating: 5/10
Story Rating: 3/10
Protagonist Rating: 2/10
Game Quality: Low
Overall Rating: 3/10
Rating Comments: A very poor rating game if you had to ask me, which was a contribution from all aspects from the game.
First, while the characters weren’t necessarily “generic” (although this is based on EXTREMELY generous retrospect), they all lacked that impact on the protagonist or failed to appeal to the audience (aka, the reader) throughout the game. If there was any character that really stood out (from the 5 heroines), it would be Selene, but that’s something to be discussed later.
By the above, I mean that the characters were so bland; the game focuses on the actions and perspectives of the protagonists (Kai and Shizuma) so much that heroines rarely have monologues in the game nor have any form of “internal conflict” that’s explicitly shown. For the same reason, it was hard to sympathize or feel affection for these characters who were literally having a life-and-death scenario.
I found Alpharide to be cute, but annoying how she was quite literally a kid
Story is also very irradical and resorts to “Own-World Logic” throughout the entire game. Not only is said “Own Logic” annoying to players like me, it also shows that the company is losing the originality that they once was able to create for other games. Despite the game also having many combat scenes, there are little to no descriptions of said combat scenes, so the battles were ridiculously anticlimactic and boring as fuck. Ironically, the game did have a better time with story transitioning, so imagine this game as putting together two very cheap, unrefined pieces of wood with a premium, high-quality super glue. Doesn’t matter if the glue is good quality; the wood looks like shit so the entire thing is a mess. Same with this game. (Seriously? Weapons “specially” created with human hearts? How long did you guys take to figure this out?)
Protagonists were the worst part of this game, much to my disdain and frustration, because as you remember me saying in the Foreword, I played this game to see the protagonists in action (and the previous series, Gin no Toki no Corona, featured a pretty good protagonist). To make a long review short, I describe the two protagonists as follows: Kai as a naive idiot, and Shizuma as too-attached-to-his-sister-for-no-fucking-reason asshole.
His “sis-con” wasn’t cute, humorous, or even admirable. It was just too much
No seriously; that’s what the two are really. Kai’s portion of the story displays how this protagonist always seems to hesitate on actually fighting for what he believes to be right, while on the flipside, Shizuma was taking his “affection for his sister” a bit too far and in one route causing a full-scale genocide because of it. While I guess this was a good contrast in the protagonists, it really worked against the design of the game overall, seeing how protagonists were the weakest or perhaps the stupidest characters in the entire game.
Gameplay of this game will be discussed in the comments section below, but lemme put a huge protip for players: Make sure to “Start” the game each time with your previous game-play data. Don’t ask why; just do it.
Character Summary: So well, let’s get on with the heroines at least
Alpharide is first, the girl who Kai stumbles on when the guards start panicking that “that person” escaped again. Extremely childish is the best way to describe this girl who literally seems as such at first glance, but is considered one of the more powerful weapons. Kai assists the girl who seems to be trying to escape the Castle Guards, and later finds out the truth about this girl to be the one who he would make the “Contract” with.
Voiced by Ogura Yui, she does play Alpharide’s role pretty well overall. It’s just that as a character, Alpharide is too naive–just like Kai, to actually incite any significant affection. In all honesty, her role in the entire story is too short to actually have the readers become immersed with this character; she’s just there eating her candy, crying like a bitch when she’s scared, and doing whatever Kai asks her to do.
Letiola is the Queen of the land that Kai becomes summoned to; Granvilio. Normally a smaller nation without much power, the people thrive because the rulers are fair and just. They often find themselves oppressed by Uruda, a much larger nation, although they do have the commanders who are extremely capable and resourceful.
As the queen of Granvilio, Letiola always finds herself responsible for Kai’s troubles and problems, with the quote that he “wouldn’t have to suffer as such if we didn’t summon him”. She believes at first that Kai was brought here against his will, and feels guilty for it.
Voiced by Arisugawa Miyabi, my closest friends already know that this is one of the very few CVs who I don’t especially like. Unfortunately, her voice wasn’t quite fitting for Letiola in my opinion, and as with other “subheroines” (e.g. Veridadia and Selene), her route deviates from the main story line to the subcharacters around the Castle instead. As a character, Letiola herself is extremely weak (both story-wise and gameplay-wise) and always becomes oppressed by the Uruda Kingdom, while I’ll definitely mention that her determination during these scenes are quite admirable and worthy.
Last heroine paired with Kai is none other than Veridadia herself, the blue-haired “Sword” who appears in both Tenkuu Yumina and Gin no Toki Corona series looking for her “True Master” by shaking hands with everyone she meets. Her character in general becomes “complete” more or less at least in this game as the game reveals that Veridadia’s true master is not Kai, but Alpharide (It’s a feint!). However, quite disappointingly, she seems to only become her “sword form” to Alpharide, only when Kai is also controlling her (so basically, Veri’s “master” is Kai PLUS Alpharide and not either of them). Quite confusing and probably unnecessary even if you ask me. Just make the poor girl Kai’s sword and be done with it, Goddamnit
Himekawa Airi is generally a CV I find favorable, but I didn’t really think that Veri’s general personality to be “cute” was fitting for this kind of story. I guess Veri as a character gives some excuse to present story regarding the Middlestan Kingdom, but frankly, it was pretty boring. It really felt like Eternal wanted to end Veri’s story (or they got sick of hiring the CVs LOL) and kinda forced the ending with this game.
Stigma as a character wasn’t too bad in retrospect, but as with all the other heroines in the game, she was pretty damn worthless. With the same appearance as Shizuma’s older sister Shino, this greatly startles the protagonist who realize that this “weapon” is not his sister. This creates a lot of strife later on as Stigma learns that she is the same appearance as Shizuma’s older sister, and like with Letiola, she continuously feels the guilt for “stealing” Shizuma’s relative away, and continues to try to repay the favor.
Stigma’s route is one of the routes required to actually understand the story. Shizuma is more protagonist-like in this route, as he slowly learns the truth of this world, but the ending is quite stupid if you had to ask me.
Selene takes the prize as having the most “What the Fuck” route in the entire game. Originally a sword just like Veri, she lost her memories somehow and is saved by Shizuma, who she realizes is her master. From then on, she follows the lone-wolf protagonist like a lost puppy, to the point other characters call her with names relating to a dog (such as wanko, dog-nose, etc)
Selene’s route isn’t exactly required to understand the story, but it’s actually disgusting to the point it’s funny. It’s where Shizuma goes against his “fate” and pretty much kills everyone in sight (quite literally) with Selene being exactly a DV victim. Overall, the route has a very dark atmosphere, but I was laughing my ass off at how idiotic the plot was. Despite this, I should make note that this was one of the routes that had a lot of impact purely because of how Shizuma acts upon impulse and at least becomes “powerful”.
I’ll be honest, I knew this kind of “True Route” would be existent, but never really had expectations for it due to the fact that the game previously frankly sucked, and viola; it sucks as well.
In short, it presents the similar scenarios, except that Shizuma decides to join Kai find out the true masterminds of this screwed up world, and pretty much puts them down. The “True Story” behind all of this mess and shitstorm is actually quite retarded and tries to end the game on a good note when the majority of it was boo-hoo-emo-I’m-going-to-cut-myself kind of story. As with all the criticisms I make on games like this, the foundation or the base of the game (aka, the beginning portions of the game leading up to this true route) needs to be solid and strong. Without it, the reader is just left with a lot of plot-holes, inconsistencies, and questions to “Why” some things happened as it did.
Overall, while the True Route is likely the best portion of the game, all it did was introduce new characters and tried to do so many things (explain said new characters, focus on main protagonists/heroines, explain the truth behind this world) at once.
Basically, the game tries to take too many cookies from the jar at once; by introducing so many characters and neglecting to develop them properly.
Sexual Content: Moderate
Comments: So for some comments regarding the game itself, as well as the gameplay.
First off, the gameplay sucks. There’s 3D modeling and strategy RPG-style gameplay, but unlike previous Eternal games, the “affinities” aspect is completely gone (e.g. the Red/Blue/Green/Black), and replaced with other elements (Resistances) which ultimately wasn’t that important. How each character required SP to even attack was something that was absolutely retarded, and as mentioned before, grinding is something that you almost need to do in order to not become extremely frustrated at the gameplay.
In addition to this, the battle animations are also low quality. Combat seems boring and choppy since the sound effects and graphics are pretty low quality and sometimes displaced (or this can be because I’ve been playing higher-quality MMOs a bit more, maybe). You even get character ultimate skills later on that’s only different from regular skills because it has another background.
I really wish the combat wasn’t shitty as this. In Tenkuu Yumina, you could cause a “Fumble” for the opponent by using up the color gauge that the opponent’s skill is, and in Gin no Toki no Corona, the protagonist was super powerful. This time around, there’s none of that, and it’s just a boring SRPG that really didn’t do any good for the main game itself.
The game really needed more fight scenes between Kai and Shizuma in my opinion
Another complaint that I have is that as mentioned previously, I used a certain tool to make all my characters max level (because gameplay sucks). Even when you blitz each map and absolutely wreck the opponents, the next scenes show the same opponent simply running away or overpowering the protagonist because fuck logic. Really, there wasn’t any point in said gameplay that took up 10-15 minutes of my time, and this repeats for the entire 30 hours of playing the game. Frankly, I was getting really annoyed by the end of this. Fuck this gameplay without any meaning.
Now for the game itself. Overall, I wasn’t too much of a fan. I mean, weak and stupid protagonists are always a turn-off, but how they’re always struggling with not just their enemies but their own surroundings and even themselves made protagonist design become a double negative. It was extremely contrast to Touka or even Ayumu whose designs I greatly enjoyed in the previous works.
As mention previously, the game is also extremely dark. There’s very little humor within the game and everything is emo-and-oh-so-serious. While I usually find these games more favorable, it wasn’t good this time around due to how said “darker atmosphere” was more due to the worthlessness of the characters instead of actually being caused by the actions of the protagonists. (It’s the difference between “I believe in X so I do Y” and “I’m so powerless so Y happens”)
The last thing that really bothered me was that the game seems to separate Kai and Shizuma too much throughout the entire game. While definitely not the case for the true route where they do work together, for the majority of the game, they’re pretty much enemies and have nothing to do with each other. In addition to this, they’re not related either–contrary to other games that display two protagonists, so overall there wasn’t any good reason to have these two protagonists in the first place; it would have been the same if this was two separate games for Kai and Shizuma.
There’s really nothing I can say regarding the story or the characters. The former is as simple as what I said in the summary; one of them finds something he wants to protect, the other spends the 13-ish hours of the game trying to recover the person he loves; that’s it. Characters themselves are relatively bland and boring, and placed there just so the player won’t have too much trouble with the gameplay–the game never really develops these guys too well.
Inid (the girl on the farthest left) is voiced by Kaibara Elena, so an H-scene would have been nice :D
Affection for the Characters: Moderately Low
CG Score: 4/10. As mentioned previously the 3D graphics aren’t that great, animations are pretty low quality, and the art in general is relatively poor.
Music Score: 3/10. As a game with combat, the game really needed a lot more adrenaline-inducing music. Instead, it was more gloomy than anything else.
Addictiveness: Very Low
- There is an interactive gameplay, although that in itself is the only good thing about it…
- At least in terms of characters, there are plentiful, enough to not become bored of them.
- The game has a true route, and attempts to make explanations to what is going on for the most part
- The gameplay sucks. There’s needless grinding, the animations are shitty, and if I wanted to play an SRPG, I’d probably play a Fire Emblem game instead.
- A lot of the characters including the protagonists are weak and not ideal. Both protagonists can additionally be described to be “idiots” even, as each protagonist possesses traits such as naivety or poor-decision making that clouds their judgment.
- Subcharacters do not support the design of the protagonist; rather, some actually put the protagonist to shame or make them even worse simply because they’re all reliant and obedient to the idiotic decisions the protagonists make.
- The game starts out as “characters from the real world brought to this fantasy one”, which is just stupid. The game would have received a better score just by removing this kind of design and modifying the True Route accordingly for the entire story to start out from this environment (e.g. Lujiwada or Granvilio)
- True route, while better of the crowd, is very poor, leaving plot holes all over the place and never delivers a satisfying conclusion
Overall, Kenseiki Alpharide was a very poor game which surprised me considering previous titles by Eternal were a lot better. While the game features two protagonists, it’s ironically the same aspect that’s considered the worst portions of this game, and the gameplay itself is too grindy and boring to the point it’s almost necessary for players to use cheat tools like I did.
I highly recommend players to instead play Tenkuu no Yumina or Gin no Toki no Corona. These games are more fun and present more colorful characters with a lighter atmosphere; this game greatly lacked comedy and can be considered a bit “heavy” for both casual or veteran players.
My next review will be for Otome Domain which I finished roughly at the same time as this one (Refer to Foreword to why). It was a much better game and will receive a much more favorable review, and will be posted in the next couple of days