Resonance of Fate, known as End of Eternity in Japan, certainly earned a spot on everyone's hype list with its intriguing battle system demo at TGS this year. Sega's upcoming tri-Ace title can't help but tantalize RPGamers tired of the same old battles they're used to.
"The graphics looked well polished and the game had a great action movie feel."
Resonance of Fate's battles are turn based, with each character getting a small amount of time to complete all the attacks and movement they'd like to in a turn. When the attack button is pressed, a round gauge appears on top of the targeted enemy. That gauge begins to fill and each time it completes a revolution one bullet appears next to the gauge. The gauge can keep spinning and the bullets keep stacking until the character's turn runs out. When the attack button is pressed again, a number of attacks corresponding to the number of bullets are performed. But if the turn runs out before that button is pressed... well, the player was too slow and gets to mope and try again with their next character.
There is a simple factor that dictates how fast that gauge fills and thus how many attacks can be pulled off in a turn: the distance to an enemy. So it pays to spend some of the limited turn time to move closer to an enemy to enable more attacks later on. But that also puts that character at higher risk to be attacked by those nearby enemies. Thus enters the strategy of Resonance of Fate, where managing distance from enemies and how much of a turn is spent moving or attacking is the key to success or failure.
Such battles could get rather old on their own, so tri-Ace added a rather substantial special attack system. If the special attack button is pressed on a turn, the gauge pauses, and a line comes up to choose the direction for a special attack to be executed in. That direction must cross the paths of the other two party members, making splitting the party up equivalent with giving up special attacks until they are regrouped. After the path is chosen, the same distance-based gauge system is employed to charge up attacks, though the turn time seems to pass much more slowly and attacks can be charged up to one bullet, executed, then charged again, and so forth all with the same character. These attacks have John Woo action movie style execution, with fast drawn pistols, flips, and mad dives through the air, all while doing way more damage than normal.
But like all special attacks, there's a cost. There are badges on the bottom of the screen, and using special attacks depletes these badges. When the badges are empty, not only are special attacks not possible, but enemy damage can cause the entire team to go into a fear state. Panicked characters move slower and need to focus on completing normal attacks and picking up scattered badge pieces on the ground in order to restore themselves or else it'll soon be game over.
As this demo was completely focused on the battle system, there's nothing to report on the story. The graphics looked well polished and the game had a great action movie feel. But even without any story, it's plain to see a need to keep an eye on this title. There are very view games employing strategy in this manner, and it has a shot at causing people to rethink how they approach traditional RPG battles.