And my, oh my, the gameplay is superb. Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator
plays very much like your typical Japanese console RPG, only itís for the computer -- and it shows. If you like console RPGs (and I do, I do, I very much do!), this game is just the absolute best youíll have ever played for the computer. Itís got all the elements -- anime babes, evil empires, pretty linear storyline that you donít get lost without knowing what to do. Of course, if youíre solely a computer RPG person, you may find it terribly annoying. I donít think you will, though, because the storyline is engrossing enough to keep you going.
The world of Septerra Core is pretty unique -- itís seven Shells, all rotating asynchronously around a Core at the center of the ďplanetĒ (hence the name of the game). The people of the top Shell, the Chosen, have decided that itís time to unlock the secrets of the Core, and youíve got to keep them from destroying the world. Pretty standard console RPG fare, right? Perhaps, but boy, does it draw you in time and time again. I played this game for 14 hours straight today, and as I write this review, I hear it calling to me to play it some more.
The combat engine is superb in this game, as it must be, being an RPG. Itís much like the Final Fantasyís active time battle system, but you can charge up more time to do more damage with different attacks. Along with this, you have Fate Cards which you acquire through the game and you can use to cast spells. Different Fate Cards combine to make different spell effects. This all combines to a tight whole, with battle done on the map instead of on a separate screen. Itís pretty obvious that the makers of this game were heavily influenced by Squareís Chrono Trigger and such -- and thatís a Good Thing. The gameís mix of technology and magic work well for it, and the use of alien creatures (since it isnít Earth, unless Earth has another six layers weíre totally unaware of) mixed with Earth stuff (look for the neon ďBurgersĒ sign) makes for a truly interesting game experience.
There are a multitude of characters to play with, as your party grows from just Maya (a female lead, woo!) to a point where you have quite a few more people out of your party of three than in it, each with unique abilities and weapons and such. They all also say different things to the townspeople, which actually make it fun to wander around the cities with different teams just to see what happens. Add in interesting NPCs, intriguing (if sometimes fetch-quest) puzzles, and gorgeous landscapes, and youíve got yourself a winner. Oh, did I mention fulfilling full motion videos?