Critical response to Prophecy . . .
Upon release, Prophecy stirred an overwhelmingly positive response within popular forums such as the RPG Maker VX Community and RPG RPG Revolution. The title garnered praise for its strong character-driven narrative, balanced gameplay, and professional presentation. Players voted the game "Project of the Month" in February 2009, and later awarded it the honor of "Best Story" of the year.
The game has received three official reviews to date:
- RRR Official Review - Dark Gaia
- A Fine Story! Well Worth Playing - narcodis
- A Solid, Traditional RPG - Fallen-Griever
Testimonials . . .
"Amazing work, if I didn't know any better I would think this was a professional RPG that I had to pay for."
"One of the few RM games I can honestly say I can't get enough of."
"I'd definitely suggest everyone with even a lukewarm taste for interesting gameplay and a deep overall presentation give this a shot."
"This game was just amazing. I couldn't believe I found myself playing a VX game for over 3 hours."
"How can I possibly compete with this game?! Seriously, this is about the best VX project I have ever played..."
"The quality of professionalism put into this project is beyond outstanding and I look forward to more."
"I really really love playing this game... Far more than any other RMVX game out there so far."
"Definitely one of the, if not THE best VX game around here."
"Absolutely amazing! I've not had this much fun playing an RPG in a while."
"It's incredible, and it's one of the few RMVX games I wouldn't mind playing through several times."
"This game is definitely one of the main contenders for Project of the Year."
Prophecy : Demon Kingdom is one of the classic games of RPG Maker, a game of such quality that you would think that it was made years ago already and won numerous awards and praise. Mostly, this is because, either intentionally or otherwise, the game is very reminiscent of The Way and other RPG Maker games RRR veterans would remember from years gone by.
It is also a reviewer's nightmare, as the game really has very little faults and save for praising the game's many strengths, it is actually very hard to write an informative and lengthy article about it.
The first and foremost accomplishment Sagitar has made with Prophecy is the game's wonderful, fantasy storyline. Starting off lighthearted and slowly easing you into the game world and the life of the protagonists, it soon takes a turn for the worse and grows gradually darker as you begin to discover the immoral desires of a corrupt government and many people you love die around you. As the confused Juno, you'll find yourself left alone in a dark world of pursuit, upheaval, loss and triumph, with many twists, turns and mysteries around every corner.
The story is really something that makes the game stand out amongst the sea of RPG Maker games out there, as the game's world of Rhylore is very intricate, well thought out and realistic, and the story is unique and sufficiently darker than most games out there.
Meanwhile, the characters you meet and control throughout the game are memorable and develop well and realistically over the course of the story. Each party member has their own mood, past and purpose in the story, and even the recurring NPCs you meet such as Sawyer the mapmaker are well written and likable.
The force driving Prophecy's wonderful story onwards is some wonderfully faithful traditional style RPG gameplay, which in this game is very solid, challenging and at the same time innovative. At it's core, there isn't anything particularly unfamiliar about the gameplay. You travel around the world, challenging dungeons, collecting items and equipment, fighting monsters, gaining levels and talking to NPCs in towns you stop by for information. However, it is how Prophecy is set out and executed that makes the gameplay a notch above the rest. The dungeons and environments are well made and fun to explore, each one holding a fun little gimmick/puzzle for you to get past, and the monsters, skills and equipments are very well balanced. The battles are never too easy, but are never so hard that you need to stop where you are and power level. Provided you aren't underleveled when you encounter the game's hard bosses, you'll find that the fights are challenging and very taxing, but fun and certainly beatable if you use the right strategies.
Likewise, the skills and equipments you utilize are done well, each one having it's own specific use and each one suited to a different and effective strategy.
However, Prophecy also holds a few innovative surprises to spice up it's bread and butter RPG gameplay and give RPG veterans a new challenge. The first and foremost noticable of these new additions is the game's "mixology" system, wherein you mix and combine different inventory items you can find throughout the game to create a range of new potions and medicines. There are tons of mixtures available and many different levels of mixing to go through. Some hard mixtures even require you to mix primary ingredients into secondary ones in order to get the mixture just right. This is a fun and rewarding system, but unfortunately you won't be able to mix all the mixtures the game has to offer, and there aren't any menus or memos for storing and recording the discovered mixologies so far. This means you're forced to write your mixtures down on a piece of paper, so perhaps in a later release, Sagitar would do well to include a menu to record mixology recipes.
The second big addition Prophecy adds to the standard RPG gameplay is the welcome implementation of a secondary battle system. That's right; the game has two battle systems! In addition to the standard turn based battles you'll use to fight most of the game's opponents, you'll also utilize at various points in the game a Final Fantasy Tactics style strategic system. In these large scale army battles, you'll command many different units and move them around open battlefields as you think up one strategy after another. Again, just like the main game, these parts of Prophecy are well made and well balanced, being very fun but also a challenge at the same time.
Prophecy: Demon Kingdom's graphics comprise of the RPG Maker VX RTP tiles and many custom characters and facesets. As a reviewer, I really can't complain about the graphics, as the RTP tiles are used very well, with some great mapping combined with atmopsheric screen tints and overlays to give each area it's own unique and slightly customized look and feel.
The custom characters are well drawn and look great alongside the RTP style of the game and even fit with the occasional RTP character you'll encounter in the game. The fact that the characters are customized and unique to Prophecy make them all the more memorable to players. They even have their own custom faces backing them up, which are of an exceptionally high quality and include many different facial expressions, making each of the characters seem emotive and "alive" during cutscenes.
Another high point is the battle scene graphics. The battlebacks are actually comprised of real game maps, and the enemies are to scale with the map and the characters and are animated, making the battles really seem consistent with the rest of the game and also fun to watch, making them all the more exciting to experience.
Sagitar has also used his own custom soundtrack of music for Prophecy. The soundtrack is made up of some decidedly dark and moody MP3 tracks that both suit the game's atmopshere but also embellish and enhance it, and thanks to the high quality of the tracks, each area and scene in the game has it's own memorable and varied feel. There's nothing to really nitpick when it comes to the music, Prophecy's custom tracks really are good, but unfortunately they make the game's file size very large and this is bad as it may deter some from downloading and experiencing a game that is really quite excellent in all areas.
In conclusion, this reviewer found Prophecy: Demon Kingdom to be a very enjoyable, very well made RPG, and any fan of traditional style console RPGs should download it immediately and find themselves waiting with baited breath, just like me, for the release of the next chapter.
[ A Fine Story! Well Worth Playing ] by narcodis
To start out, this game, on face value, looks like a cliche riddled with more cliches, overloaded with scripting and excessive widgets. But allow me to tell you that this is a good, solid, well-made game. The presentation values are outstanding, and really draw you in. Okay, maybe some of the scripts WERE a bit excessive, but aside from that, I cared about the characters, and the storyline, while very classic and dare I say, cliche (a group of rebels from a remote farming village working to overthrow an evil local dictator, all the while the protagonist is the un-realized hero of an ancient prophecy yadda yadda yadda), it is fun and very compelling nonetheless.
Decent graphics, nothing you probably haven't seen before here. The little minor details make things fun to look at (leaves blowing overhead during autumn, little critters running around in the woods, etc). The sound and music was very well selected, even if I could recognize a few of the tracks from elsewhere. The soundtrack did make the filesize massive (well over 200mb), but it was always able to capture the mood perfectly. Being an avid music lover myself, I think I enjoyed the game alot more simply due to that.
The gameplay itself was pretty average, definitely the weakest point in the game, not to say it was bad. There were alot of unique and interesting things to take into account and mess around with, although there was alot about the gameplay that seemed... off.
The "skill slot" thing seemed really unnecessary. You were allotted a certain number of "slots" for your special abilities, and you needed to "equip" your skills to these slots before they could be used. First off, I never had more skills than my slots could afford. Secondly, it's annoying. I can't count how many times I went into battle short on my skills, simply because I forgot to 'equip' them. Thirdly, even if I had that many skills, why inhibit the player from knowing them all? It's no sort of added customization or strategic placement at this point. Just stupid.
You can tell this game had a greater focus on story than it did on fighting. While the battles were fine and balanced, there just wasn't a whole lot going on, nothing really to keep my interest. The boss battles were your standard swing-and-swing-back type of fight, no interesting mechanics to follow or work with in that regard. As much crap as I had to say about the skill slot system, the skills themselves were pretty interesting, and allowed for some breathing room in terms of variety in battles.
Now, there were two types of battles, and I've mainly been referring to the standard sideview battle system here. There were also points in the game where you battled in a more tactical format, where you and your allies moved along a grid, strategically placing attacks and preserving yourselves against enemy fire. It was a breath of fresh air to play something like this in the middle of such mundane combat. My only complaint about these battles is that they were just too damn easy. I felt like the author was just flexing his script-peen with how cool it was (though it was pretty cool, I will say that). The enemies did nothing but attack, and the AI wasn't all that great either. It would be nice to see them use a potion, or shoot an arrow, or cast a spell, or SOMETHING.
In this game, probably one of my favorite things was the Mixology portion. Throughout the game, searching your surroundings will often yield finding things you can put inside empty bottles. Using a cauldron, you can mix the substances you find together and concoct all different kinds of potions and things for your party to use. Made things really interesting, as there were ALWAYS things to find (from herbs, to fruits, to alcohol, to fish oil).
There's tons of little secrets in this game as well. Search everything. You'll find treasures everywhere, and items that you take elsewhere to obtain secret weapons and items along the way. This is another aspect of the game that really shines.
The main gripe I have about the game is that it's divided into two chapters, two completely different game projects. What this means is as soon as I finished chapter one, all the weapons, potions, gold, armor, everything you had DOES NOT carry over to chapter two. I hear the author is working on this bit, but that fact completely made me want to stop playing, 100%. So I did stop playing. Until this is fixed, I'm not even going to consider chapter 2 as part of the same game. Maybe that's unfair, but it really was frustrating to play through all of that to have my characters start back at square one.
Note: It's been brought to my attention that the chapter 2 included in the demo is actually just a teaser for chapter 2. Being so, this latter paragraph does not apply at all. (I still stand by the 4-star rating though)
The story in this game is definitely 'classic', but it provides its own spin on things. The characters all had their own personality, and really are what kept me playing the game. The dialogue was superb, and the emotions conveyed therein were really quite striking at times. Never once did I feel like the game was just being 'pushed along' by the characters. It moved at a very nice pace; Full of twists and turns, not too drawn out, but at the same time very cinematic. The polished look of the game is going to be why you start playing, but the story is going to be why you keep playing.
Great atmosphere, very fun game, easy to keep playing along. Great characters and compelling conflicts make the story something you want to keep playing for. Battles were balanced and challenging enough, skills were interesting and all had their unique properties. The tactical battles were really cool. Lots of fun details and treasures to find. Great aesthetic values, awesome soundtrack. Maps were fun to explore, though there weren't many. Lots of little details make this game great.
Huge download size (220-some odd Mb), battles were often bland but never too long or too frequent. Excessive use of glitzy scripts, often felt unnecessary and actually detracted from its enjoyability at times (not very often though), could've applied that focus to other things, like better boss/enemy mechanics. Only two real dungeons to speak of here (enchanted forest and bad-guy castle (castle twice, actually)), and while fun, it'd be nice to play more.
Story has a very 'classic' feel. Felt like I've heard the story a hundred times, but its presentation and characters make it feel fresh and new.
OVERALL, this game is solid, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good potatoes-and-rice RPG. Not bland, just hearty.
[ A Solid, Traditional RPG ] by Fallen-Griever
Griever plays Prophecy : The Demon Kingdom:
The gameplay in P:TDK is good if you look at things from a traditional point of view. First of all, the battles are quite well-balanced and the fact that the heroes always have useful skills means that the battles never degenerate into space-mashing exercises. Secondly, the puzzles that are used in this game are well-worked and are fun to play through, an example of this being one of the puzzle sequences near the beginning of the game; a puzzle involving one of the heroes trying to sneak through a fort in order to poison one of the antagonists. The several pathways offered in order to get through this sequence make it very playable and - since this sequence is quite near to the start of the game - it really sets the tone for the rest of the dungeons you come across.
However, the gameplay isn't just solid in a traditional respect, as this game has a tendency towards trying to mix things up a little bit. For instance, there is a sequence were the heroes have to defend their hometown that - although it starts out as a sequence of "normal" battles - morphs into a tactical battle system. The tactical system was a good curveball to throw in, but it was also something that made a lot of sense given the situation your characters found themselves in. The context in which a feature is used is what really makes it a good addition, as opposed to using a feature for the novelty of using it.
This game does have one, big problem: it is too easy. Although the game is still fun to play, there are sequences where you will not feel challenged at all. These sequences can sometimes get very tedious and they drag the game out. The tactical battle system is a good example of this since, although the system itself is very well worked, the battle drags on for far too long as it isn't challenging enough to actually require any tactics (which is sort of the whole point of a tactical battle system). Although this is nowhere near as big as problem as being too difficult, the difficulty is still a factor that needs to be tweaked.
I really like the characters in this game. All the characters, even the minor ones, are well differentiated from the other characters you come across so that you really get a feel for the characters you meet. It is extremely easy to empathise with the characters because of how well they are put across to the player. This becomes patently obvious when you realise that even some of the less important NPCs are written in a style that properly puts their character across; attention to detail is clearly important to the developer and this has lead to charactisation that is very, very good.
The dialogue between the characters works to reflect this, with the ability of the dialogue to fully portray the emotions the characters go through being the stand-out point. The storyline of this game relies heavily on emotion (although I won't go into detail to avoid spoilers) meaning that good dialogue was an essential feature; this game has managed to capture that feature.
The only problem I had with the characters is that several of the heroes have the same skillset as another one of the heroes. I do understand that several of the heroes share the same class as another hero and that the heroes who usually do this are only temporary characters, but I still thought that a little more variety would've been nice in this respect.
The storyline is as good as the characters contained within it, and even though several elements of the storyline are kinda cliché they are still well-written.
Without offering too many spoilers up for you, the storyline starts off centred around a group of townspeople suffering under an oppressive leader. Some of these townspeople are rebels determined to overthrow this leader but, although many are sympathetic to their cause, most are not members of the rebellion group. This "central" storyline is good as the reasons for differing characters eventually joining the rebellion are well-worked and well-introduced; there isn't any ham-fisted politics or ideology, just a dependence on raw emotion that plays to the strengths of the charactisation.
Added to this fairly central storyline are the dreams that the main protagonist "suffers" from. The reason for these dreams becomes a secondary driving force early on and slowly becomes more and more prominent as the game continues. Its introduction is similar to the dream sequences in Final Fantasy VIII and this works well because it keeps interest in this thread of storyline high without resorting to ramming it down your throat. That the main protagonist is somehow a "chosen one" is obvious from the off, but why that is the case is something that will keep you thinking throughout the early periods of the game... as will the intentions of those who seem to know about it.
The graphics in this game are, to put it simply, exactly the same as the graphics in every other RMVX game I have ever played. They're not bad but, to be perfectly honest, I am sick of seeing them. I wish someone would, at the least, start ripping commercial tilesets into RMVX format just to remedy this problem. Rips might not be the most original way of doing things, but at least then we would see some RMVX games that don't look exactly like all the other RMVX games put out so far. I know that the games would then look like commercial games and that this could then become a problem, but looking like one commercial game is better than looking like 100 other RMVX games!
As for the use of these graphics, the mapping is quite competent (if not outstanding). Each area is fun to play through as a result of this, but there are still some problems that nag at me as I play through them. Maps that extend to the edge of the screen are one of the things I noticed a hell of a lot of in this game and, although this doesn't bug some people, it bugs me because it makes exits from areas less obvious than they should be. Also, it seems kinda stupid that the hero would be magically stopped by the end of the map if there isn't anything there to stop them moving forward and this can sometimes break the atmosphere for me. There is no excuse for not extending the map another tile further and using that extra tile to put in something that clearly blocks the path. Another problem I noticed was that the mapping of towns was rather lack-lustre. It is excuseable in most cases since the simple mapping reflects the simple nature of the town that is being mapped, but a little bit of polish wouldn't have gone amiss.
Overall, the graphics are competent, just don't expect anything brilliant.
Just like the graphics, the sounds and the music used are competent without ever being outstanding. The music used generally fits the mood it is trying to portray, appropriate sounds are used when required and neither of the two ever feature anything annoying.
Not much to say really...
Despite the lack of polish in the aesthetic areas this is still a very enjoyable (if slightly easy) role-playing game. The writing is really the stand-out point, so if you are into story-heavy games then this is really the game for you. I fully recommend it, and I can't wait for the second chapter to be patched up so I can transfer my save file over to it!