Two years after Ara Fell, Stegosoft Games and DANGEN Entertainment are back with a game that recaptures the glory of the 16-bit era of JRPGs. Find out more in our Rise of the Third Power review!
This is a double review for Rise of the Third Power on PlayStation. ThaRaven403 and Ceidz played the game, and this review presents what they both had to say.
Twenty years ago, the greatest war in human history rocked the three kingdoms of Rin and their allies. As the world lay broken, blame was laid at the feet of Arkadya. Too much was asked, and the government collapsed. From the ashes arose Emperor Noraskov, who seeks to restore the former glory of Arkadya at any cost…”
Having recently played a more modern JRPG on the PlayStation 5, and with my love for Stegosoft’s previous game Ara Fell, I was more than happy to jump into this one without even knowing what it would be about. What I ended up playing was something that builds on Ara Fell’s success while making everything a little bit better. The crafting system for the weapons and accessories was back, which I found great as it adds some reasons for hunting materials while not becoming an overly complex game about managing your equipment for hours. The story was also fun to watch as it evolved with some interesting characters and a princess with a whole lot of attitude to make for some entertainment during the story.
Yes, as with their previous game, Stegosoft is back with some classic turn-based action for this one. While in battles, you’ll see your hit points and energy (MP). The MP can be regained during a battle in different ways, depending on the character. Your actions will mostly revolve around using items or selecting a skill. Skills will vary between the one you can always use, your default attack, some that require MP, and also some that will even have a cooldown of a number of turns before being able to use it again.
Outside battles, apart from the main story, you’ll be able to find some side-quests to complete in order to gain additional rewards and experience. Speaking of experience, this is gained on a team level so that none of the characters are left behind. What will differ is how you spend the talent points you gain once you level up. Those points are shared across the entire team, so you have to choose which skill to upgrade as you form your strategy.
Visually, this game is everything you’d want from a 16-bit inspired JRPG. Battles feature some solid animations for the different skills you use and a nice variety of monsters and enemies in the different areas you explore. When walking around the cities and dungeons, the game reminded me a lot of the Suikoden series, which is something that’s an automatic win for me since I’m one of the biggest fans of said series.
As for the trophies, the list is a rather straightforward one towards the Platinum trophy. A lot of the trophies should unlock naturally while playing the game, and since there’s one for completing all the side-quests, you should be gaining a few others along the way, like the one for reaching level 30! It’s worth saying that there is no trophy related to the difficulty, so you can use Story Mode to breeze through the battles, with the exception of one trophy that requires you to defeat all enemies before one attacks you that you’ll have to do the legit way.
In Rise of the Third Power from Stegosoft Games and DANGEN Entertainment, as the game begins, you’ll get some information about the current political state between the three main countries. It felt like a lot of background information to take in at first, but it luckily does make more sense as the game progresses. As I went on, I realized that I was caring more and more about the characters, particularly Arielle, who has a great personality.
Since this game is from the same developer as Ara Fell, which I loved in our review a couple of years ago, you’ll feel comfortable if you’re a returning player because the gameplay is similar to their previous release, but with some twists here and there.
The battle system is turn-based, and you see the order in which the characters will take action, so you can plan ahead. This order can also be influenced by items that increase the character speed or buffs. Speaking of those, I noticed that status effects really matter in this game since you’ll want to take advantage of passive damage to change the tide of the battle. There are also combo attacks, similar to Double Techs on Chrono Trigger, that allow two characters to attack together to deal massive damage together. There are some bosses to take on along the way, and I loved their battle themes and the challenge they posed.
The level design of some dungeons is sadly one of the issues I had with this game. A few locations feel like a maze, even though they could have been being easier to navigate. It isn’t helped by the fact that when you get lost, the objective in the Main Quest is your next main objective, but it doesn’t include the smaller steps required to get there. If you missed an important conversation with a quest giver, that’s certainly not good news.
As for the presentation, it’s great. The pixel art was reminiscent of the 16-bit era JRPGs, with character faces in HD on the side of the screen when they are talking. I also liked the soundtrack, but it didn’t feel as strong as the one for Ara Fell (which you canlisten to here). The enemies are well-drawn, and I have a particular shout-out for the amazing animated character models. There are also leaves falling here and there and wildlife running around in most zones, which makes everything feel alive.
On the accessibility level, the text font follows the pixelated art style of the game, but I thought it was hard to read. Being an HD release, I would have expected it to have an easily readable font. Another issue I had with the accessibility is that every menu option selected color is too close to the non-selected option at the default setting – the good news is that this can be changed.
Rise of the Third Power is a fun JRPG with great gameplay mechanics and an equally great presentation. We liked playing this game and discovering what its surprisingly big world has to offer. ThaRaven403 really liked the animations and exploring the world, and Ceidz liked the battle system. Rise of the Third Power is out tomorrow on PlayStation 4 with a $19.99 price.
This Rise of the Third Power review is based on PlayStation copies provided by Stegosoft Games.