If you've visited Video Chums before then you know that I love old-school RPGs and Rise of the Third Power is surely one of the best.
Rise of the Third Power was developed by the same folks who previously brought us Ara Fell. However, I never played that game but now that I played this, I'm thinking of going back and giving it a try because I thoroughly enjoyed what Rise of the Third Power has to offer. For starters, its story is intriguing as it reflects real-world events from 1930s Europe even though it takes place in a purely fictional land. You play as a brash and often drunk pirate named Rowan who's joined by his right-hand woman Corrina and their first task is to kidnap Princess Arielle which will supposedly stop a war. From then on, the tale takes many twists and turns as your party expands with memorable characters. Plus, I enjoyed the irreverent humour that's often on display but imagine that not everyone will appreciate it. v1d30chumz 18-232-59-38
To complement the adventure, you're treated to an absolutely stellar soundtrack complete with many dungeon and battle themes that'll get stuck in your head after you stop playing. Graphically, the dungeons, towns, and world map are presented in a pixel-filled fashion that'll remind you of genre classics such as Final Fantasy VI while the battles take things to another level as they feature gorgeously animated sprites, visceral attack animations, and gratifying sound effects. It's quite a jam-packed presentation to behold.
Playing Rise of the Third Power should be instinctual for anyone who has ever played an RPG. In fact, nearly every system is simplified to an extent that even genre newcomers will be able to adapt with no problem whatsoever. For example, characters don't even level up. Instead, your party levels up and whenever it does, you can allocate earned talent points to learn new passive and active skills for each character. The equipment is simple, too, as you merely craft tiers of weapons and armour whenever you have the opportunity. Finally, accessories are cool because they provide boosts and become more potent after you use them for a certain amount of time.
Meanwhile, the battles are intuitive as characters can perform a skill whenever it's their turn and there's a decent amount of strategy that you can utilize. A tactic that I used involved putting powerful enemies to sleep after inflicting bleed on them then slaying the easy foes as the stronger ones become easier to deal with. There's a lot of room for experimentation and I loved thinking up new strategies, especially when facing enemies that were clearly well above my party's current capabilities. Heck, there are even items that you can throw your enemy's way in order to thwart their efforts as well as boost your party with so you always have plenty of options.
Lastly, let me discuss some aspects of Rise of the Third Power that I didn't appreciate as much. First of all, although the character progression systems are simple albeit satisfying, there's also not much room for customization aside from configuring groups of 3 characters that complement each other's abilities. I wish there was a job system or more robust loadout options. Another aspect is that the journey is occasionally bogged down by lengthy tedious stretches whether you're tasked with merely exploring a town or traversing a huge dungeon with similar enemy formations that get repetitive. In other words, I wish a bit more was done to streamline the pacing.
Rise of the Third Power is an excellent old-school RPG that manages to feel fresh and exciting. Intermittent pacing issues aside, this is one adventure that you'll thoroughly enjoy so grab a bottle of booze, kidnap a princess, and save the land from an encroaching war.
- + Simple yet satisfying classic RPG gameplay with rewarding battles
- + Awesome music and fantastic visuals
- + Irreverent humour and intriguing story
- - Although unique, the character progression systems are too simple
- - Occasional tedious stretches can bog down the pacing