Monday, October 7, 2013

Things No One Cares About:Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters

A few months back I picked up the Carpe Fulgur collection on sale mostly to play Recettear because last time I checked three games for twenty dollars is better than one game for twenty. I think that is how value works,wouldn't know really. Oddly enough I still haven't touched Recettear instead opting to start with its' predecessor Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters. Then I stopped playing it because darn it the game was hard and the controls were being mean.

Fast forward to the present where I have a wired controller to play it and suddenly the game was...just as hard but hey at least me and the controller are on the same page. As I made my way through this tale of sisters I really started enjoying myself whaping monsters in the face and discovering the hidden chests. Mind you they game never went into greatness territory but it had a small encampment nearby. Anyway on with the review.

Chantelise is an action RPG with less a focus on leveling up(i.e there is none) and more on proper item set up. The melee combat is fun and works well, your sword never failing to cleave a slime in two. Chatelise's hook is in it's very odd magic system. There is no mana pool to draw from instead it's fueled by magic stones dropped from monsters at random. It does get quite annoying but the magic system will rarely leave you in an unwinable scenario in normal battle.Plus it will never do so in a boss fight. In the beginning you can only use two magic stones at a time and it eventually goes up to four at a time. There are different spells for charging up like colored stones and different effects on existing spells with different colored stone combinations. It adds a nice layer of strategy with the magic that is a bit undercut by the randomness factor. Though I hardly used the top tier spells as the were more trouble than they're worth.

The games other major element is treasure hunting. You have the basic random drops to sell to the shopkeeper to help pay her exorbitant prices. Then there are the hidden treasures that can be found in each section of the dungeons. It's actually pretty fun trying to complete all of them for the great items they yield. Sadly the hints you pay for to find the treasures  are vague and mostly unhelpful. Plus to get a hint you have to pay a bit of your maximum Hit Points,so your better of using a guide to help you.The game has a fishing side quest that plays like Mario Golf,a fact the game lampshades. The fishing itself is enjoyable and it's always funny to use Chante herself as the lure.

If I'm going to have any real gripes on the game play side it would be these. First the targeting system is less than helpful. Preferring to lock on to an enemy two rooms back as opposed to the giant crab starring you down. It is possible to switch targets with the camera However it's less than helpful and you are better off just canceling targeting and try again.

Second is what this game laughably calls a difficulty curve that is all over the place. The game starts out just pounding you in to the ground,especially with the first boss and his immunity to a sword in the face. After that the game just keeps beating on you with loads of enemies till about the third dungeon where everything becomes a cake walk. I breezed through the remaining three dungeons with only a slight hiccup on the first phase of the final boss. The final boss' attacks do minimal damage with a low level shield equipped and are so easy to dodge that it's hardly necessary to have a shield on. Overall though the game play is really fun and the game's short length ensures it won't wear out it's welcome.

On the story side of things it all flows well and has nothing really to say about anything. The story scenes are minimal but do well with what little there is to foreshadow some of the weirdness that makes up the plot's later half. The characters themselves of which there are four major players are likable if not particularly well rounded. Elise is a sword maiden and is kind if a bit dimwitted and her big sister Chante is a human turned fairy with a bad temper. Their relationship actually works very well and I could tell that they were sisters without the game having to say so. The other two women are basically the same personality wise but in a mentor like position. Again everything works and the ending does tie most loose ends up. Except for one...I think,it could just me being a ditz. Finally the translated script is very fun and witty. It doesn't rely on cursing and fart jokes instead going for violence being threatened upon character's shins. It works wonderfully and gets in quite a few good jokes.

The art style is reminiscent of one of the RPG maker games and I do mean that in a good way. The sprites are detailed and the backgrounds are pretty. It just lacks any real stand out locations,all being variations on ancient ruins and forests. A special mention to Elise's fishing catching animation in that my god is it cute. Other than that nothing terrible,noting outstanding.

In the end I consider this a good game with no real deal breakers in it. It may be nothing special but it has a heart and a sense of humor. It's the cheapest of the Carpe Fulgur games on Steam and well worth it if your needing an RPG fix. Just make sure use a game pad of some sort to save yourself from the poor keyboard controls.
Till next time Stay Positive.

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