I love old-school RPGs and trust KEMCO to publish quality retro-inspired titles so I figured it's about time to finally dive into their Asdivine franchise with the release of their latest home console adaptation; Asdivine Cross.
There are quite a few Asdivine games out already but the good news is that you don't really have to play any of them to fully enjoy Cross. Its story tells the tale of Harvey who's an outlaw and his shenanigans get him imprisoned early in the game. There, he befriends a princess named Amelia who's accused of being an imposter. After escaping, they go on an adventure that ends up being much grander than they would ever expect with a few welcome twists and revelations along the way. They'll also join forces with the powerful yet odd Lucile and serious and focused Olivia. The wide range of personality types makes for some entertaining dialogue and the story is well-paced as to never become boring nor will it leave you in the dust like some RPGs tend to do. Overall, it's one memorable journey.
The gameplay within Asdivine Cross is intuitive and simple complete with command-based battles and easy party setup. With that being said, you'll gradually unlock some aspects that allow for a great deal of customization which adds a sense of satisfaction to tweaking your party members. For example, combining unneeded weapons with your favourite ones can level them up and you may even end up sticking with the same weapons for a large part of the game which is quite interesting. You can also transfer weapon effects, learn enemy skills, purchase items with special currency, and earn swanky gear with a couple of random draws. However, the coolest option is Beat Combo where you can assign groups of skills for each character that you can unleash simultaneously in battle which costs a lot of points but it's a great way to gain a strategic advantage, especially if you manage to assemble a clever combo of abilities.
Another aspect that Asdivine Cross does well is its sprite and character artwork. Everything from the monster to human sprites look great with a solid amount of detail and I was impressed with the wide variety of monster types, too. The fact that everyone has smooth animation is a nice bonus, too, especially with the flashy hit effects in battle. There are even small details that are easy to miss such as one battlefield with cute kitty heads that bounce around in the background. Meanwhile, the character art is not only lovely on its own but it also shows each character's mood perfectly with expressive facial features. It makes me want to play more Asdivine games.
Even though Asdivine Cross is a fun retro RPG experience, it does have its downsides so let's discuss those. First of all, the combat is fine in its simplicity but it does feel like it's missing some elements that could have made for a more strategic and rewarding battle system. The Beat Combo mechanic helps with this a bit but it doesn't quite feel like enough. Similarly, it takes a very long time for battles to pose a challenge. In fact, I was actually happy to finally perish during one boss fight but soon found out that I was supposed to. Thankfully, not much grinding is ever needed and it is rather easy to do if you ever need a little boost. My main complaint in these regards is that I want combat to at least sometimes feel as if my strategies are resulting in my success; not merely my current level and equipment.
Asdivine Cross is a decent old-school RPG that features a memorable game world and a charming cast of characters to match. If you're looking for a challenge, it might not impress but those who just want an easy-breezy JRPG will likely have a good time.
- + Intuitive gameplay systems that eventually allow for a lot of customization
- + Excellent artwork and sprites
- + Steadily-paced story with fun characters
- - Combat feels like it's missing something that could have made it more strategic
- - It takes quite a long time for a rewarding sense of challenge to kick in