Another retro RPG is upon us and this time, it's a cool combination of robot customization and bounty hunting so here's Armed Emeth.
Armed Emeth has you play as Valess who's barely scraping by in the slums while claiming the odd cash reward for bounties. One day, he meets an autonomous golem named Lock and the 2 then set off on an adventure with the goal of claiming the bounty for a powerful criminal. It's quite a unique story premise for an RPG and it also ties in with the gameplay as you can roam around while trying to take down specific boss-like enemies for the guild in order to earn cash and valuable items. Anyway, you'll also eventually meet and be joined by a couple of ladies including the kind-hearted and determined Ursula as well as the quirky Elice who has 2 personalities. Although the dialogue is fun with this distinct cast of characters, I wish there were character portraits to add even more personality.
One of the first things that struck me about Armed Emeth is its music which appears to be played by a live band with tracks ranging from exciting battle music to laidback grungy rock that you'd likely hear in a backwater saloon. Even though there aren't that many tracks to hear, the music is still great and I didn't get tired of it. Meanwhile, the pixel-perfect visuals are fantastic with detailed sprites and the golems are particularly impressive. I loved watching them drive around dungeons then unleash all sorts of firepower whenever they're in battle. The enemies are a bit on the forgettable side but watching them get hammered with missiles and gun blasts feels awesome.
Armed Emeth's campaign is structured similarly to most of these kinds of games in that there is a linear path which you can take to advance the story but what makes it special is exploring the world to complete the bounties while discovering optional areas and powerful items. Sometimes, I would get sidetracked so much that I'd forget what I was doing in the story; thankfully, there is a summary in the menu. Oh, and you can warp to any activated warp pad so jumping around the game world is intuitive and streamlined.
Another aspect about Armed Emeth that I love is customizing the golems. Doing so gave me flashbacks to the Front Mission franchise although it's much simpler here. Basically, you can equip a couple of different weapons as well as core components such as power orbs and circuit boards. Plus, there are skills that are assigned to equippable Edea Stones and passive abilities to unlock and swap between. On top of all that, you can spend money to balance your golems' attack, defense, and mobility stats as well as their magazine size which affects maximum health and endurance so striking the perfect fine-tuned balance is quite a rewarding endeavour.
With that being said, you'll occasionally unlock new golems that are undoubtedly superior so swapping to new ones can make all the effort that you poured into your old ones feel like a waste of time. I wish you could condense old golems into gems or something that provide stat boosts. That would have been cool. Another disappointing aspect is the battle system itself which doesn't require much strategy outside of setting up your golems. All you do is pick which attack to use for each golem and your decisions don't really make much of a difference. Considering it's not engaging, I mostly set it to auto-battle which is something that I don't usually do.
Armed Emeth is the kind of RPG that you'll start playing and not realise how much time has passed considering how consistently rewarding and enjoyable it is. Its battle system may not be all that thrilling but everything else is spot-on for retro RPG fun.
- + Excellent campaign structure that allows you to explore to hunt bounties
- + Fantastic golem customization component
- + Music and pixel-perfect visuals are great
- - Getting a new golem makes the hard work you put into your old one feel pointless
- - Battle system isn't engaging
- - Lacks character portraits