Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gamecube Look - Evolution: Worlds

Here we have an RPG by the developer known as Sting. These guys have put together a number of games that rely on fairly standard genres(most commonly the RPG or SRPG) but offer so many creative twists that they turn out to be something quite unique and compelling. On the other hand I'm here to talk about Evolution: Worlds, a game with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

This game is a rogue-like which means random dungeons, random loot, not at all random encounters, and a typically high level of difficulty. Actually scratch that last part out because Evolution has little to no challenge. As the story goes a very young adventure(15 years old?) wants to solve the mystery of his missing father. Toss in the requisite mysterious girl(14 years old?), hottie bounty hunter(mid 20s, essentially making her an old lady), bitter rival(13? Oh and it's one of those tomboy types), and evil villains(30s and 40s) and you have yourself the storyline for what is actually two games in one. For those who don't spend all day on videogame messageboards Evolution: Worlds is composed of two Evolution games that were on the Dreamcast. How this was accomplished was by shortening the first game to what is essentially cliff-notes and putting much of the focus on the sequel. I'm really not sure how this was supposed to work out because in the six or so hours I played this game I found myself hopelessly lost in the narrative.

Like many other similar games in Evolution there is one big town, a series of regular dungeons, and a randomized dungeon that is for the most part optional. In-between dungeons the player furthers the story, buys junk, and recruits party members for the next trip. The dungeon is the main focus of the game and unfortunately it is deadly dull.

I'm not sure who the audience was for this game because while the story has enough jokes that keep it away from the kiddies the difficulty is probably best suited for toddlers. Encounters are the standard turn-based affair and while starting out can be rough before long the enemy is lucky to even damage the party. The game tries hard to make the battles entertaining by giving an MP system that gets replenished every round(thus meaning more special abilities) but when the enemies can't so much as dent the party it falls flat.

Yes one could make the game harder by getting less experience but that leaves out the matter of being able to buy/improve equipment. In fact I'm not even sure the game wants the player to avoid encounters because the dungeons are designed with narrow hallways and aggressive enemies, thus getting around becomes a chore. During dungeon exploration all three party members are visible and as long as the enemy touches one of them the battle will commence. This is a very bad idea obviously since that makes for a very large target.

The only real highlight of this game is the creepazoid general the party runs into. Early on he captures the mysterious girl and says something to the effect of "a flower is most beautiful just before it blooms". Actually I'm not so sure that this is a good quality, in fact that's actually really disgusting and probably the first time I've ever seen a pedophile in a videogame before. I guess the ESRB didn't catch that metaphor since the game carries an "E Rating" for comic mischief, mild language(I think I caught a "dammit" or two), and violence(about on the level of the average cartoon).

Otherwise the only thing this game has going for it is the main character uttering "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!" everytime he takes damage. The delivery is absolutely perfect and he sounds more like a villain whose plans were just foiled than a young adventurer. Seriously though if you played Knights of the Knightmare, Yggdra Union, or any of Sting's other games and are looking for something else, don't bother with this at all. When the best things I can say about this game are either really disturbing or just completely awkward that's the most telling reason to stay very far away.

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