Game: Enelysion by Yuna21
Summary: An epic traditional RPG enhanced greatly by fantastic presentation and wise gameplay choices.
I still have no clue how to pronounce it, but the name Enelysion has been familiar to me for a while now. Years in the making, the creator of this RPG Maker VX game did an exemplary job maintaining interest in the community during its long production. An unfortunate reality of the RM community is that a lot of the developers who put so much attention into getting thread views never actually finish these projects, but we have a major exception here. Enelysion is a massive game (about 12-15 hours) and the final product reflects well on all the hard work that went into its creation.
This game isn’t out to reinvent the genre and the story feels extremely familiar. A grieving, humorless mercenary named Laine finds a mysterious orb that begins to drive her to fits of rage and violent behavior. After recruiting her childhood friend Patrick, a former flame who chose priesthood over romance, they research the orb’s origins and find connections to a conspiracy by an evil cult. Eventually, two bickering knights fill out the party. The dialogue is articulate but often one-note – in particular, scenes where characters got angry just never seemed very convincing. However, much more thought is put into the love life of the main character than is typical for a game like this, which is a nice change of pace.
The characters are actually far more interesting in battle. Each of them has a distinct role to play in combat and players gradually discover helpful ways to coordinate their unique skills. The impressive character artwork, which also shows up on the screen during cutscenes, was done by Ronove of Star Stealing Prince, a game which also seems to have had some influence on Enelysion’s combat. While not as ruthless as SSP’s famous boss fights, this game has some rough encounters in store for you in the second half where button mashing will get you killed. Careful use of elemental weaknesses and buffs becomes mandatory.
Sounds pretty standard so far, right? Well, the biggest surprise about Enelysion turns out to be how well it rewards exploration. Right from the start, several locations are available on the world map and the narrative, while linear, is not overpowering at all. Hidden items are everywhere and the combination of how pretty the maps are and the beautiful collection of Celtic/New Age music that the creator has assembled make you want to stay on some maps as long as you possibly can searching for goodies. A handful of side adventures will yield powerful rewards.
A lot of small touches come together to make this game very satisfying to play. The interface is near perfect with the equip screen being a particular highlight. Most weapons come with major stat improvements and with all the character information displayed neatly on the right side of the screen, you can immediately see the big difference between certain weapons. Another standout feature was the bestiary system, which can be used in combat to analyze an enemy’s vulnerabilities, even if its the first time you’re encountering a particular creature. If you take the time to use this feature, you can engineer a swift, brutal victory.
It’s true. The store is out of amiibos.
Did I mention that there are no random encounters? Clearly a lot of attention has been paid to the complaints people make about RPG Maker games because Enelysion dodges most of them. In fact, I would recommend this one the most to people who feel discouraged about the quality of games made with the engine. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
One final note: A highly unfortunate (although not game-breaking) bug shows up late in the game. The creator has released a patch meant to deal with it. You can find it here.
Has anyone played this game? What did you think of its approach to the classic RPG? How did you feel about the characterization? Tell us in the comments!