[PlayStation 4] Rainbow Skies Review
Almost six years after launching the acclaimed Rainbow Moon on PS3, the long-awaited sequel is finally hitting all three PlayStation platforms. Learn more about this highly anticipated release in our Rainbow Skies review!
The story starts off in a floating city with Damion, a talented dual-sword wielding fighter who’s about to become a monster tamer… after waking up from a hangover! Everything was going well, but he eventually messes things up, breaks the monster compound and sets them loose in the village. With the help of his mentor Layne, they try to get the power back to the compound’s generator, but they both end up falling from the city to the ground below!
Meanwhile, on the ground, we have Ashly, a magician who’s trying to get a hold of her powers. While trying out some binding spells, she accidentally ends up casting it on our aforementioned friends who fell from the sky, and so now all three are bound together. From there, they’ll all set out on a quest to remove that binding so they can all go their separate ways, but, as you probably guessed it, a lot of things will happen and their quest will evolve into something much bigger than what they had planned.
If you’ve played Rainbow Moon, you’ll feel right at home with this game. But if you’re not familiar with the previous game, then worry not because there are more than enough tutorials to get you going. Rainbow Skies is a tactical roleplaying game, so battles will play out on a grid-like zone where your characters have a limited number of actions for each turn. You’ll be able to move, defend, attack and use skills, which will vary depending on the character. An interesting feature is that when you progress through the game you can raise (or decrease) your battle rank. What this does is that it will make the fights a bit harder, but, in return, the experience and item drops will be better. You can later lower it at any time, and you can make changes as you go.
When you’re not in any of the many battles you will take on, the colorful world will be yours to explore from an isometric perspective, with a map available to help you see the location for your next objective as well as some of the key elements, such shops or dungeons, that you should certainly visit. Most of the time the map will be easy to use, but in some places where there are lots of points of interest, all their names on the map can quickly make it feel a bit cluttered, to the point where it’s hard to actually see which is where and what.
And once you go into the menus you’ll find everything there is to love about RPGs. You’ll be able to upgrade your character’s stats, such as their HP or luck, by applying skill stones that you can find in chests, bags, or that you can receive as rewards from quests. There’s the traditional equipment menu where you can change your weapons and armors, and the equipment customization system from Rainbow Moon is back, which means you can visit a blacksmith to apply materials to your equipment to raise their stats. Your items are separated into distinct categories (such as potions, materials or food), with each having a limited capacity that you can expand (at a price of course!) to better fit your needs. The skills you learn, by reading books you purchase or find, will at first only unlock a single additional skill. But these skills will level up as you use them, and on top of making them more powerful, this will also unlock other skills for you to use.
After playing the game for a bit I realized how happy I was about finally getting a spiritual sequel to Rainbow Moon. We don’t get too many tactical RPGs nowadays, but luckily for us, the Rainbow series is here to give us a couple of great and lengthy games to enjoy at home or on the go thanks to their cross-buy nature. As was the case with Rainbow Moon, Rainbow Skies is a huge game with a ton of story main quests as well as plenty of side-quests to complete, so you’re definitely going to sink dozens of hours into this one!
As is usually the case with a lot of tactical RPGs out there, grinding for a bit to make yourself stronger before moving forward is a must, so that’ll definitely add some extra time on top of your run. And with everything there is to upgrade in the game, completionists like me will literally go nuts with this one – I wouldn’t be surprised if I spent another 100+ hours in this one.
But even though I love the game and I’ll play the heck out of it, there are a couple of things that bugged me a little. The story starts off slow with the whole monster tamer exam thing, and it takes a couple of hours before things kick it up a little. I would have loved for the story to pick up the pace before going into too much grinding, side quests and, etc. There’s also the map that I mentioned before that would’ve benefited from the possibility of zooming in a bit more. Then, although trivial but probably my biggest concern, there’s one of your characters I need to talk about. You see, Layne is an archer. His weapon is a bow. You’d expect that would allow you to shoot your enemies from afar on the battlefield. Instead, Layne can only attack when next to an enemy and actually slaps them with his bow. This is just weird and something I wanted to bring up.
As for the trophies, if you like the game and play until the end, the Platinum will be just a long journey, but not a difficult one. There are no missable trophies, and then it will just be a matter of completing the main story, side-quests, and a ton of miscellaneous objectives that can all be completed after finishing the main story. There is no trophy for playing for 100 hours as in Rainbow Moon, although I’m pretty sure all the content that’s in here will definite get you close to that number.
Five years is a long time to wait for a game, and it has the effect of raising expectations considerably. In that sense, the game fell a bit flat for me in some areas because of the long wind up before the story actually kicks off. But once I got over that, Rainbow Skies gave me all the fun I needed from a tactical RPG, and is definitely a game that any fan of the genre should pick up. SideQuest Studios have created another indie gem that will have you sinking dozens of hours into it, and hopefully it won’t take another 5 years for a sequel!
This Rainbow Skies review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by eastasiasoft.