PlayStation Universe

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

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on 10 December 2013

Ever thought about winning the lottery? Of course everyone has but who cares about money when the lottery won in this game is Godhood. Welcome to The Guided Fate Paradox where you take over the role of God in a philosophically fueled war between angels and demons.

GFP is a roguelike role-playing game that breaks away from the tactical RPG mold set by the popular Disgaea series. In its place are stages broken into floors, each changing every time it is replayed. This is great for those who like more variety in their grinding. The catch is once left all character’s levels reset to 1. Clear enough stages and the main character’s base stats will permanently level up, giving purpose to the mass grinding. If you have played the PS1 classic Azure Dreams by Konami, it is a similar style of game.

Unlike Azure Dreams, GFP adds a new element to solve a traditional problem in many RPGs: What to do with all those thousands of useless weapons? The leveling system involves placing power-up tiles on the character’s divinigram. To get these tiles equipment must reach burst status, which is gained after continuous use in battle. Once burst the weapon loses some of its power but a power-up is gained as powerful as the item’s star rating. Also the same item can be brought to the blacksmith to be strengthened, thus unbursting it and permanently raising its stats. It is a fun way to keep using all the loot gained from the hundreds of floors needing to traverse in the game. Handling the divinigram is slow and tedious though, having to manually remove each and every tile to replace them with a better one. The developers should have enabled swapping tiles, thus making it more efficient and seamless.

NIS breaks its traditional mold in another way, the story. Except for Phantom Brave almost a decade ago, NIS keeps their storylines light-hearted and comedic even in serious situations. In this game they try to be more like Atlus, by being more philosophical and making a cast of good characters that will do anything to win the war, including sacrificing the main character and themselves. It is great and fresh that they tried to craft a more serious narrative. However it is very hit and miss because of the voice acting, something I never thought I'd say about this company. NIS dropped the ball when casting this group of characters. Some actors were good like for Lanael and Rakiel, but the main character had little emotion throughout most of the game and the female cast sounded like one person did all the voices, only slightly altering them enough to technically be different. It would have helped the story’s tone and mood if there was no voice acting as sad as that sounds.