JRPG Resonance of Fate Is a Unique Experience That Nobody Played

Resonance of Fate was released to American audiences for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 16, 2010, to little fanfare. Although given a warm reception critically, the game was hobbled due to being released a mere week after Final Fantasy XIIIa game which, admittedly garnered more success due to having Final Fantasy slapped on the box. Resonance of Fate also wavered on the market for its lack of marketing. Is the cold-shoulder treatment of this game deserved? Absolutely not. While flawed in some ways, Resonance of Fate is worth the time for any seasoned JRPG fans looking for something more than just the typical RPG fare.

Taking place in an ecologically devastated world, the story focuses on Vashyron, Zephyr, and Leanne–three guns-for-hire who do various jobs for some cash in the steampunk-style city of Basel. As the player moves along in the story, they will learn about the mysteries of Basel and its power source, Zenith, as well as the mysterious Cardinals that call the shots on Basel.

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Resonance of Fate has some of the typical JRPG fare, complete with a silly-yet-ominous title, a convoluted story and stereotypical character tropes that can only be found in a lengthy JRPG. While these elements are overdone in the genre, Resonance of Fate plays with them well enough to turn out to be more intriguing than tiring. Where the game truly breaks its mold is through its battle system, which will exhilaratingly grab the gamer and question and make them come back for more.

Resonance of Fate’s battle system revolvers around guns and strategy. Players take control of three characters throughout the game, each with a different firearm, be it a pistol, an SMG, or a throwable such as a grenade or molotov cocktail. Each weapon has strengths and weaknesses that must be utilized properly in order to win fights and gather loot; for example, SMGs can inflict “scratch damage” that can whittle down an enemy’s hit points but cannot kill them. It is up to one of your members on the team that wields a pistol to take down a foe once their hit points have been brought down low enough. When certain conditions are met, the trio can pull off “Hero Actions,” which is this game’s version of an ultimate attack. The gameplay does have a steep learning curve, but Resonance of Fate rewards players handsomely with a strong sense of accomplishment after each battle as well as a unique sense of style.

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Speaking of style, the battles are oozing with it. Half of the fun of the battles not only resides in the game’s challenging and rewarding game mechanics but in how the game utilizes its visualization to make each fight a blast to play. Resonance of Fate is what would happen if John Woo’s films and The Matrix had a baby. The fights are filled to the brim with physics-defying acrobatics, slow-motion mechanics, and plenty of explosions and bullets flying to please even the most hardened of action fans. Resonance of Fate has its own sense of violent beauty.

On the flip side, while the game is stunning to look at, outside of the battles there is a bland approach to aesthetics at times. The world of Basel is creative with its spinning gears and larger-than-life scope, it can be drab at times to look at. The color palette is a series of gray and earth tones that can weigh on the player, but this is a post-apocalyptic setting so it fits with the tone of its environment. For gamers that prefer more color, the game does allow for dress-up sessions where gamers in question can go to the boutique and dress their characters up with whatever flashy apparel their hearts desire. Turning the characters from drab to fab is a welcome reprieve from the somewhat gloomy world that surrounds them.

Although rough around the edges, Resonance of Fate is an uncut gem. It has a unique story, some fun leading characters, a breathtaking soundtrack, and a strategic gameplay system that is equal parts challenging as it is bombastically fun. The good news for those who missed out on it during its initial release can now download the game on such platforms as the Playstation Network. It’s time to visit Basel again.

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