The Guided Fate Paradox review: a bold new series debut for NIS

  • Posted December 10th, 2013 at 05:05 EDT by Dane Smith

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The Guided Fate Paradox

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A solid addition to the NIS family that roguelike fans have not seen since Azure Dreams on the PS1. Lots of depth and replayability, but a few unexpected surprises like unusually poor voice acting dull the shine.

We like

  • Random Dungeons giving infinite fun
  • Vast assortment of item and abilities
  • The 'O Fortuna' hit theme song

We dislike

  • Shockingly sub-par voice acting for NIS
  • Cheap monster abilities prompting instant kills
  • Surprisingly boring cast of characters for NIS

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

If someone were to look up the word depth in the dictionary it would have a picture of this game. There is so much to do to keep strategy RPG fans from being bored. As mentioned each dungeon changes every time it is attempted, and while the story dungeons are short at five to ten floors each, the extra dungeons are 50 to 100+ floors. That is a lot of gameplay with enemies, loot and traps all changing each floor with a mega boss at the end. Add to it the option to artificially make enemies stronger and those seeking a challenge won’t be disappointed. Dying also has consequences by wiping out your inventory, essentially making going up a floor a risk/reward situation. Again it just adds to the challenge and replayability.

The theme song hits players right away like a war drum, trying to be grand with an ‘O Fortuna’ style of song. After the title screen disappears so does the soundtrack’s emotional impact though. The sad part about it was I either had other music playing or a TV show on in the background. NIS has always struggled making a collectively grand soundtrack and this is no exception. Hopefully if there is a GFP2 they make every stages music epic like the opening theme.

One aspect that I didn’t enjoy was the limited amount of characters I could be. The main character Renya and one angel ally are all that are allowed. Some dungeons and all boss fights force you to only use Renya, sacrificing a lot of the fun of from other series by the company. There is no character creation at all; meaning if no one in the cast is appealing to you it will be a painful grind. Even Azure Dreams allowed up to five allies to be brought along. I mention that game again because instantly GFP played almost like a carbon copy despite both being made from two different companies. That is great news for those who were a fan of the PS1 classic.

Graphically nothing is new in the game though the anime artwork is solid. All the characters have their own personal flair even though they are dressed similarly. A new cast of generic enemies make their debut except for the traditional Prinny addition, and even the weapons look more detailed and less generic than in Disgaea D2 as a comparison. Fans of anime style games will continue being happy.

This is a game for two kinds of people: NIS lovers and roguelike fans. The same humor is embedded in the game for players to laugh with, and the insane amount of randomness coupled with all the potential restarts from dying at the bosses means a good 100+ hours can easily be sunk into the game. The story does try and be more bold and serious but as long as gamers are not expecting a tale of Persona magnitude then they will be happy.

Dane Smith is PSU's Reviews Editor, a licensed teacher from St. Thomas University, and has a healthy addiction to Monster energy drinks. Want to hear his thoughtful musings? Follow him on twitter or check out his his article catalog.
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