Check out an interesting JRPG from 1C.
Role-playing games and old school beat-em-ups were all the rage at Pax East this year. The 1C company booth was following suit with their selections to show off at this year’s show. I had a scheduled appointment to see a new JRPG called Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark that is planned to release for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. You’ll have to think on your feet during battles because it’s a tactical attack style and one wrong move could be your downfall.
You play as Kyrie, an Arbiter of the Immortal Council, similar to the town police force and you have to deal with a slight issue at the start of the demo. Attempted murder is that issue and you have to bring the man, albeit a noble, to justice, thus learning the controls and fighting system in this semi tutorial. You learn the basics like how to fight and group your party and realign the party to start the battle, simple things like that. Later on in the game, you get more tutorials on how to use items and other RPG mainstays but the game doesn’t force them on you, after the first and second battle, that’s it in the way of learning things.
Line up your characters in the right positions for victory and make sure you have them facing the right direction so they can attack and defend later in the battle if needed. When the going gets tough during battle, you have the option to use special attacks from some of your characters in your party. That could range from fire attacks to water attacks to all kinds of special attacks; it depends on the type of character you’re using.
Magic users have the option to have more magical freedom compared to other characters but all the characters have “jobs” or a branch system where they can learn new abilities and learn new skills that can help in battle. The game allows you to customize the look of your characters as well as what class and ability they have. You should have a wide range of classes and abilities in your party because you never know what powers and attacks you’re going to need in battle. The custom menu has a large menu of customization features to pick from, such as what color eyes and hair or what type of clothing they’re going to wear. RPG’s in the past have allowed for custom features like this but Fell Seal goes the extra mile in terms of allowing pretty much every aspect of the character to be customized.
There is also a wide range of clothing, weapons, and items you can get your hands on but make sure you equip the best clothing and the best weapons. Some of the enemy forces are pretty big and you’ll want to have strong forces to counter attack with. One of the interesting features comes with the bonfire. You can heal and regroup at one of the bonfires as well as purchase things at said bonfire. If one of your party members is defeated, they will have an injury that will need time to heal from.
You’ll also have the option to revive them in battle but you’ll need to have the right item to do so. The writing tells a more mature story as something sinister is about to go down as the person you brought to the capital for murder charges was, in more ways than one, pardoned, by the government. That’s the easies way of saying that there’s corruption in the capital without giving away way too much of the story and you’ll have to play the game to find out more. I will applaud the writing because the characters are likable for only knowing them for a short time.
You’re the lead member of your Arbiter group and the second in command is your best friend who could be a love-interest at some point but has jokes too. You also have a young recruit who you need to teach everything too who attacks with a hammer to start who is young and skilled but doesn’t know anything about the real world yet. It’s a real interesting cast of characters and I like all of them except the noble who you bring in on murder charges and gets off.
He’s a jerk who thinks he’s above everyone for being a noble and the writing is perfect for him. The demo ended with me seeing a large dragon demon boss fight and it was someone you get to interact with in the game and you really want to kill! The higher your level is, the better your special attacks power become and look. Trust me, for this battle, you will need to be powered up and have a good team behind you! Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark takes an interesting path in terms of graphical styling.
The game has a more “laid-back feeling” to it more like a cartoon but the portraits of all the characters look dramatic and realistic. I asked the developer, Pierre Leclerc, about it and was told that the portrait images were designed by another artist and were too good to not use. The two contrasting styles go perfect together in my opinion because for a game with a darker, mature tone, like the portraits, you don’t expect it to have a graphical style like it does, but it works!