Valkyrie Studios did a good job with Septerra Core. Albeit, they didn't do a great job.
Septerra Core has a fantabulous story. A super-extra-frosted good story. It's got a man bent on world destruction, secret motives, believable characters packaged into a surprisingly original environment. Graphically, Septerra Core may not take your breath away, but it will surely interest you. The setting changes frequently throughout the game, so at times you'll be playing a dank, dark dungeon crawl, at other times you'll be wandering about in a humid jungle full of mutants. Eventually, one of those mutants even joins your party. It features a very console like combat system, which turns out to be a mixed bag. On one hand, the game has a very interesting spellcasting system. Your character, Maya, will gradually collect "fate cards" as the game progressives. Using one fate card might have a certain effect, such as casting a minuscule fire spell. Combining this fire fate card with another fate card that might, say, cause the character to toss a grenade, will create an all new spell that launches a flaming napalm grenade. Sound interesting? It is, but unfortunately, even the games best ideas are bogged down by the games agonizingly slow combat system.
The games combat system is, in a word, boring. A word probably isn't clear enough of a description, so lets elaborate. Imagine yourself playing Final Fantasy VIII. If you remember, casting a summon spell would trigger a lengthy animation, which, while impressive at first, was really, really long and wasn't very fun the third time. Septerra Core's attack animations are much the same, only they were never spectacular to begin with. A character that isn't fortunate enough to possess a ranged attack will jump in a goofy looking rainbow arc to their foe, pause a moment, hit their enemy, pause another moment, and leap back to their original position. There's nothing too wrong with this on paper. Factor in that each animation can take up to 2.5 seconds. Now factor in that there are usually at least 5 hits to go around in a short skirmish for your party alone. The typical combat sequence goes like this: character walks into monster. Game screen shifts to a more suitable position to view the fight. Monster starts off by shifting his feet, and then slowly raising his arms to pummel one of your characters. Then, whilst uninteresting music plays, your character slowly leaps over to the monster to return the favor. It's a good bet that you've already lost interest. Despite having great ideas, an engaging story, and pretty decent graphics, Septerra Core drags itself out needlessly via its slow, cumbersome battle system.
The Bottom Line
Septerra Core isn't exactly a missed opportunity, but it's very close. You'll probably have a lot of fun playing Septerra Core, but you might want to rediscover a tomagachi to keep yourself occupied during the battles. Best compared to watching giant pandas. They're cute, cuddly, and fun, when they aren't sleeping. The problem with pandas is that they sleep 50% of the day. When it comes down to it, I'd recommend Septerra Core. At the price it goes for nowadays (bundled with Shogo, even), you're going to get your moneys worth for sure. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
(Interesting note: Valkyrie was working on another game called "Seraphim" where flying angels beat the snot out of each other with their divine powers. The game fell through because they couldn't find a publisher.)