The old-school RPG train keeps chugging along and the latest is the lovely Asdivine Saga so sharpen your blade and let's slay some foes.
Asdivine Saga stars Vyse who's a mercenary from a small village and he has a mysterious past that he has no memory of. Throughout the adventure, you're joined by a couple of princesses with Celes (any relation to the Final Fantasy VI character?) being a bit of a traditionalist and Nisha who's much shyer. However, my favourite character who joins you on your quest is Akane because she's a ninja and ninjas are awesome! Not only that, she has a bubbly personality that provides a lot of levity to the story. Anyway, this colourful cast is on a mission to uncover an evil that has torn the world apart by war. An interesting part of the plot is that most of the campaign takes place during a time of relative peace after the war which makes unravelling the mysteries of the game world and its rulers much more intriguing.
As you can probably already tell, I enjoyed the cast of Asdivine Saga as each character has a strong personality that contributes to a well-rounded party dynamic. On top of that, the character art is excellent and the in-battle sprites are well-animated, too, which makes beating on the variety of monsters a great deal of fun. Speaking of which, the battle music theme is energetic and rocking while the soundtrack outside of battle is well-orchestrated and sounds like it belongs in a PS1 RPG with tracks that help set the tone.
When it comes to gameplay, Asdivine Saga has a somewhat simple battle system although there is more strategy than I expected. For example, I found myself using buffs and debuffs more frequently than I thought I would, especially when facing one of the more difficult bosses because merely healing and attacking sometimes didn't do the trick. What you can specifically do is attack, guard, and use a variety of spells and skills but there's more to it than that. One nifty mechanic is that Akane can throw items which may have some surprising results. On top of that, there's an ever-increasing Trust-Charge gauge that lets you use a powerful special skill once it's full.
If that's not enough, customizing your party can be rather involving and I spent a lot of time optimizing equipment by upgrading weapons and adding effects to them with special items as well as combining rings to make new ones that sometimes made characters noticeably more powerful. I also appreciated the fact that you can equip different spirits to each character which allows them to learn a new group of magic spells from light, shadow, and void categories. You can also take on jobs, subquests, and an arena for extra goodies. The fact that there's so much supplementary content ensures that you'll always have a lot to do in order to become even stronger.
With that being said, I often caught myself simply going through the motions of fighting a handful of enemies, performing the same actions in the menus, and then repeating which got a bit tiresome from time to time. Therefore, I wish there was a bit more to these systems to allow for additional experimentation. Another substantial downside is that the difficulty is sometimes perplexing. For example, I fought multiple bosses that were quite tough then after beating them; the next bosses were as easy as pie. 🥧
Asdivine Saga is certainly a solid retro-inspired RPG that features rewarding character growth mechanics and enjoyable skills that make outsmarting the tougher bosses a treat. It may get bogged down at times but as a whole, you're sure to love this old-school gem.
- + Enjoyable retro RPG gameplay with some interesting abilities and skills
- + Well-rounded cast and great art
- + Rewarding party customization
- - Many parts will have you feel like you're simply going through the motions
- - Occasional uneven difficulty