Action RPGs come in many forms yet few allow you to play cooperatively with friends. AereA offers a promising music-themed premise but do you have what it takes to reclaim the nine primordial instruments?
Upon starting AereA, you're given a choice of character: Jacques who attacks with an orchestral bow as if it's a sword, Wolff who can fire arrows with his harp, Jules who has a magic-shooting string instrument, and Claude who blasts projectiles from his horns. You'll also notice that AereA can be played cooperatively with up to four simultaneous players. I personally played mostly with my wife and found that playing with other people makes it a much more enjoyable experience. Anyway, you basically play by talking to people in the hub area then taking an airship to your next destination where you traverse a stage in order to complete quests. Throughout each stage, you'll battle plenty of different enemies, solve some rudimentary puzzles, and eventually face a large boss. To help you fight, you can unleash special moves that use RP, use items on the fly, and heal your friends whenever they perish. It's simple stuff but it works for the most part.
The world of AereA is its best feature as it consists of colourful environments and an overarching theme of music. Not only do the heroes use musical instruments, the enemies and bosses are designed based on various instruments as well. It's such a clever premise for a game world and the orchestral pieces that you'll hear as you explore it fit the theme beautifully. On the other hand, the graphics are definitely subpar especially for a current generation game. Although the environments are bright and colourful, the generic character models and lack of detail makes it far less immersive than you'd expect. The lack of voice actors doesn't help either.
As you progress through the adventure, your character will level up and you'll also unlock and upgrade additional abilities. I found the character growth to be rather rewarding because it's not overly complex yet you still notice a difference over time. One of the coolest systems is that you'll find books throughout the land that increases the shop's variety of available items. You'll also complete sidequests in order to gain extra experience points, money, and items. In the end, these aspects make going the extra mile worth the effort.
All of that being said, AereA is one of the easiest games that I've ever played in my life. After playing for only a short while, the enemies did only 1 damage when they attacked and I could tear through them with one hit. The same happened with the bosses. Even though some had over 1000 HP, I would end their lives in a handful of slashes. Because of all this, the character growth (although essentially rewarding) is completely unnecessary. Also, the campaign becomes exponentially more boring due to a complete lack of challenge.
Besides being super-easy, AereA is also full of severe glitches. While playing with two players, my character lost the ability to attack every single time I opened the quest menu. I figured out that to remedy this, the other player needed to launch the quest menu. On top of this, some bosses wouldn't spawn and certain enemies ran through walls thus not allowing me to slay them in order to progress. Characters can run through doors and NPCs, too, which makes AereA come across as unpolished.
AereA has one of the most imaginative game worlds that I've seen in a long time but the overall lack of challenge and crazy amount of glitches make it an ultimately boring yet undeniably irritating experience.
- + Playing cooperatively with up to four players can be somewhat enjoyable
- + Imaginative world filled with music
- + Rewarding character growth
- - The lack of challenging difficulty makes it quite a boring adventure
- - Visuals leave a lot to be desired
- - Far too many severe glitches