Alright! I haven't seen many RPG reviews here, so I thought I'd include my own. This is something I wrote a while back but wanted to share it with you guys. So here we go, a critical review on The Sega Dreamcast RPG "Evolution":
Mag launcher, an adventurer, must pay the family debt to "The Society" by engaging in treasure hunts throughout various dungeon locations. He is accompanied by his female friend Linear, whose secret will unfold an adventure all on its own.
Evolution is designed by Sting (not the singer, the game company) and published by Ubisoft. This is a full 3d rpg, featuring the top down view. The camera rotates a full 360 degrees, granting the player the ability to decide on his own viewing angle during gameplay. Released on 01/21/99, this was the first RPG for the dreamcast. While this game could have built itself a good reputation, there are too many flaws blocking its path.
Graphics (5 out of 10):
Graphically, Evolution is average. On the plus side the character models are lively and visually appealing, giving off an anime feel. Their personalities are likable, and they even express facial emotions when engaged in conversation. The game's environments however, are a different story. There appears to be only one town, and it is quite bare. Nothing is brightly colored to attract your attention. The palette seems washed out, limited and rather bland. Going inside the town's houses will be no different because the interiors are also bare, exposing you to nothing more but a few scattered furniture pieces.
As for the game's dungeons, they are seriously lacking. While it is pleasing to know the rooms are randomly generated, they look almost identical to the rooms you were just previously in. The main setup of a dungeon is this- players are given long corridors to walk through, with the occasional empty lot containing scattered enemies and items... that's it. There are no puzzles to solve, so getting to the top floor is the only objective. Dungeons are also time consuming as the game will bombard you with numerous floors before reaching the final boss. Fortunately the game offers you a save point once you leave a floor, most likely because the game itself knows how long you will be inside a dungeon.
It really does seem as if the game developers were rushed into making the game's scenery, because it leaves alot to be desired. For those who adore eye candy, you will be bored rather quickly by the game's limited visuals.
Controls and Gameplay (5 out of 10):
The analog stick can be used to move the character around, offering a level of freedom that is unavailable with the directional pad. The controls are quite responsive, which is a plus. You can jump, walk and run in this game. The jump feature however, unless used in a specific dungeon, serves very little purpose otherwise.
Storywise, the game progresses at a moderately slow pace, which can be a turn off for some. Your objective is as follows: Mag goes into town, receives a mission from The Society, and is off to a dungeon. After you complete a dungeon the cycle is repeated. You are however usually rewarded with a cutscene after the completion of a dungeon. For those who enoy sidequests in their RPG, they seem none-existent here. The only objective apparently, is to complete the dungeons so you can pay off The Society.
The saving grace for this game is perhaps the battle system, a turn based system which offers the player a turn based on a particular monster that is killed. This system also provides a "move" feature, in which three diagonal squares on the floor are offered to each character. Depending on the square you move your character to, his defense and offense are affected. The top square offers the best attack advantage but a lower defense. The bottom square offers the best defense with the lowest offense ability, and the middle square is neutral. This offers quite a bit of strategy, giving you the freedom of how to fight.
Another positive note to add is that there are no random battles. Enemies are clearly visible, thus giving the player the choice to interact with them or not. If the player runs into an enemy from behind, "initiative" is received, which is a distinct advantage in the battle mode, offering the player multiple turns to attack before the enemy has a chance to retaliate. The monster designs are nothing special however, most of them resembling modern animals that we see in our everyday lives. Additionally, if a game company's objective is to encourage more girl gamers into playing their products, it is an exceptionally bad idea having the main female character's weapon be nothing more than a frying pan. This is perhaps the worst weapon ever given to an RPG character. Sure she upgrades it later...to an even more dangerous frying pan! To some this sends a negative message, insisting that a woman's place is in the kitchen. Smooth move Sting.
Sound (5 out of 10):
The game's soundtrack is lacking. While some melodies are catchy, they are also very short and sound similar to each other. The songs can get annoying during dungeon exploration because of their repetitous nature. There is no voice acting in this game, except for the ocassional japanese phrases during battle when a particular move is done. Even the game's sound effects used in the game are forgettable, for they do nothing to enhance the gaming experience.
On the plus side:
+ Likable and Entertaining Characters
+ No Random Battles
+ Adjustable camera angles
+ Decent battle system
+ Save feature implemented after each dungeon floor is completed
+ Responsive controls
On the negative side:
-Bland, boring and limited environments
-Little variety in monster design
-Slow story pace
-Repetitous dungeon design with too many floors for each
-No side quests
Ultimately, Evolution is a very average RPG with a low fun factor. While the characters, the adjustable camera, and the battle system are commendable, the dungeons will keep you occupied throughout most of the game, and since the dungeons are poorly designed, you will find yourself unmotivated to play. With Evoultion's other flaws to consider, unless you want to test your patience, it is recommended that you look elsewhere for an RPG experience.
Overall Game Score: 5 out of 10
Feel free to comment on this review. Hopefully this will help those inquiring about the game.
Images taken from various Internet sites. Review written by Green Ranger.