Written by  :  Jeanne (76519)
Written on  :  Aug 23, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars

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Excellent RPG - a questing adventure with a twist

The Good

I must admit that I've played some really good RPGs over the last year or two -- and this is definitely among that group.

In a nutshell, Septerra Core has all the features I like:
  • An In-depth and Unique Story
  • Diverse, Interesting Characters
  • Loads of Unrepetitive Dialog
  • Dungeon-like Questing
  • A Multitude of Worthy Opponents
  • Various World Environments
  • Pleasing Graphics, Music and Sound Effects

The central plot is not new - the greed of one causing the destruction of the world - but the way it is told, and the atmosphere it is enveloped in, is. It is obvious that the concept came from very creative minds. Everything from the world design down to the simplicity of the game mechanics is marvelous. The shelf like "shells" of the planet Septerra are truly different, but at the same time believable. The personalities of the characters are developed so well that the player really feels they know them - not just as puppets, but as real people. I applaud the script writers whose obvious care and diligence shine here.

Combat is turn-based, but more than that. Each character has 3 levels of attack types drawn from inner strength (their core) which must build up in order to be executed. So, you'll wait until the 3rd bar of their "core" is lit before selecting them in order to strike with a level 3 attack. While you're waiting, enemies can have their turn. The speed of that soul strength is different for each of your characters too.

Spell casting is decidedly different than any other game I've played. Collect playing cards for fire, air, earth etc. and choose one or more (if other characters are ready) for higher impact spells. There are a dozen different cards that can be used singly or in combinations. Have Maya choose the Resurrect card, for instance, while another chooses the Mirror card. Click on the opponent and the result is the Instant Death spell. The higher their "core", the stronger the effect. And some of those effects are awesome. (I particularly like the on screen looks of the Black Hole spell.)

There are a multitude of monsters, and they are varied in appearance, strengths and weaknesses. You can tell how strong your foe is by the color of his/her clothes or features. Sometimes, if you tread carefully, you can bypass groups of monsters. Some are unavoidable, of course.

Graphics and music are in keeping with the theme. Graphic atmosphere and characters are clean and unpixelated. Music is original and lovely to listen to.

The Bad

I really enjoyed everything about Septerra Core, so consider the following to be "weaknesses" instead of real dislikes.

  • The Maya Dance - party members running into each other while trying to navigate around can cause Maya to jitterbug skip.
  • System errors for no reason cropped up occasionally causing an unexpected exit from the game to my desktop. Restarting was not a problem, though.
  • It's almost too long especially when you know you are almost at the end.
  • Repetitive "Summon" spells - a graphical depiction of the legendary character appears to spew fire on your enemies, for instance, over and over again - each time that spell is cast. A nuisance that I got used to, but could have been handled in a simpler manner somehow.

    And, arghh, why is it that the switch or treasure chest you're looking for is -always- at the end of a very, very long tunnel!

    Be sure and get the latest patch for it fixes many early problems with the game.

    The Bottom Line

    This game is fun! If story is primary, and you enjoy role playing games with loads of adventuring, Septerra Core is a must for your collection. Not only will it take you a long while to finish, the characters and plot will stay with you long afterwards. A memorable experience, to be sure. It is a real shame that Valkyrie Studios folded .. I would've liked more from them.