[PSP/Vita J-RPG Review] End of Serenity
Throughout history, mysterious objects known as ‘Atomigems’ have existed all over the world. The people of the world have used them for many things, from simple family heirlooms to even objects of worship. However, recently, a gang known as the Underworld has been going around collecting any and all Atomigems they can find. What exactly is their aim?
That’s what Eril, known as the Azure Sorceress, intends to find out. Along the way, she’ll meet some friends who will help her on this mission, such as Yute, the son of a famous trader, and Earon, a highly-skilled martial arts fighter. Can they find out exactly what the Underworld is up to? And can they do anything to stop it, or are they already too late…?
End of Serenity is the latest Japanese-RPG from Natsume and Kemco. This game is one of the last PSP games to release and is also compatible with the Vita. I’ve been a fan from Natsume since their Lufia I and II releases on the Super NES, and I had a lot of fun reviewing this 16-bits love letter!
End of Serenity – Launch Trailer
End of Serenity is a great throwback into the 16-bits JRPG era. Right at the beginning you follow Eril – the Azure Sorceress – that is on her way to save her orphanage. She begins by opposing a group called the “Mafia” to reach her goal. Quickly, she realizes that something bigger is at work. The story of this game as a whole is a bit weak but it is still fun to watch it unfold.
The battle system in End of Serenity is very fun to play, and it’s easily this game’s greatest asset. You can choose to fight with your equipped weapon, use an item, or a skill, which can be either physical or magical. Skills are purchased at stores, and some of the party members have exclusive skills that are cool to see in effect! Each character also has a Familiar Spirit, which are creatures that can be summoned to help you in battle (see image below). Familiar Spirits can be called more than once in each battle (as long as you have BP left), so you can use them in regular battles instead of waiting to use them only in boss battles. Once you feel that you are in control of the enemies, you can even switch to auto-battle mode to make the most of your time.
The enemies you’ll encounter are beautifully animated (and some of them are huge!). As for the bosses, most of them are manageable (as in, not really hard), but they tend to turn into endurance fights since they have a ton of HP that takes a while to deplete. Speaking of battles, I also liked the battle theme, but most of the other themes in the game are what you’d expect from an RPG release.
The map of the game is surprisingly big but feels linear since we generally can only go to one or two places at the time before moving into the next story segment. The encounter rate on the field is fair, but I thought that it was high in dungeons. While exploring, you will encounter a few dungeons or cities that require you to purchase extra DLC. Those places aren’t too expensive per-se (roughly $1.50/each), but it is something you need to keep in mind. Also, you can’t directly buy them since you need to purchase a special in-game currency from the PSN store, but on the bright-side you can use said in-game currency to not only purchase extra areas, but also boosting items to help you in your journey. I ended up spending $9.99 on the largest pack on PSN, and used that to unlock several areas and to buy some items to help me along the way, so, like I said, it’s not very expensive (and definitely cheaper than what we used to pay for RPGs back in the day!).
I definitely liked playing End of Serenity. It’s a good game that made me feel I was playing a light-hearted version of a 16-bits Final Fantasy. I liked the battle system and the map exploration, but I thought that the random encounter rate was too high in most of the dungeons. I also think that the price asked for this game seems high when compared to its Android and iOS counterparts.
Finally, since it’s a PSP release, it means that players that still haven’t bought a Vita can still purchase this game on the PSN. Be warned however that because this game is a PSP release, it also means that it does not feature trophies.
Overall, I completely recommend this game to all RPG gamers craving for a good 16-bits experience!
[review pros=”Great 16-bits game and battle system!
Can be played on a PSP (one of the last native PSP games ?)” cons=”Random encounter rate in dungeons is very high” score=85]
PSN Game size: 29MB
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