Revenant Saga - Switch Review

Revenant Saga as a throwback RPG adventure that gets more right than wrong and while it has seen releases on a handful of platforms, I think the Nintendo Switch is actually a very natural home for this recently released title.

KEMCO is one of those names I recall from my early 8-bit and 16-bit video game days, but honestly had not seen a lot out of them in recent years. However, as soon as I noted that Revenant Saga was released on the Switch by them, I felt compelled to check it out and see what the game has to offer.

At a glance, Revenant Saga is visually unspectacular, but still solid. The menus are clean and easy to navigate, even if the character portrait art is merely average. The actual character models in combat have a very PlayStation 1 vibe to them with the polygon-focused 3Dish presentation there. The overworld visuals are interesting to me as well, reminding me a bit of my many (many, many) hours spent in RPG Maker XP, with those familiar tilesets for rocky cliffs, green grass and marbled blue ponds and cascading waterfalls that are vibrant if lacking in detail. Character models are the taller, slimmer style found in games like Phantasy Star, which has always been my preference over the squat, squarer style used in many JRPGs.

The other aspect of the presentation to take note of is the audio. This is old school all of the way, with some pretty basic sound effects for actions and combat, and music that is perfectly pleasant and fitting, if not overly memorable. The soundtrack slides between the typically upbeat sound of towns with the more intense style of combat music.

I mentioned that Revenant Saga has been released on a few platforms, and from my research it was originally a mobile game back in 2015, which actually makes a lot of sense when you consider the presentation I talked about above. It also helps to explain why the game looks and feels really solid on the Switch. The graphics are of lower resolution, and therefore a bit rougher looking on the big screen, yet Revenant Saga feels right at home when you are playing it on the Switch's portable screen.

The story surprised me with how dark it was to start. It is a pretty simple premise that talks about a plague that is sweeping the world and turning those infected into revenants. Basically these creatures are zombie-ish in their incessant need to slay the living - something they have been doing rather well it seems. Despite the grim tone of the beginning, the characters themselves actually have some pretty solid conversations with one another that help to keep the tone a bit more lighthearted. That is a big plus, because it makes the characters likable while avoiding a "The Walking Dead" level of completely oppressive mood throughout the game.

Without getting too detailed on where the story goes from here, the early hours are the best ones in Revenant Saga, because the cast of characters clearly have their own motivations for the things they are doing. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and have a character's ulterior motives come to light, and the impact that would have on those around him or her. While I enjoyed the characters by and large, it is safe to say that they offer up some pretty extreme characterizations, with antagonists that seem to be reading from the Ultimate Villain's Handbook when it comes to end goals and dialog.

The gameplay itself is pretty standard stuff, but also comfortable for fans of the RPG genre. You spend a lot of time working with relatively cookie cutter characters (you can choose what equipment they wear, but little else in terms of customizing how they develop as they level up). The gear is where the bulk of the customization happens, as you can modify it using various components. That being said, I can't really recommend doing this a lot until near the end of the game when you have settled into what you believe your final gear will be. Otherwise you will waste the components in the title's earlier stages, because you will get equipment upgrades pretty regularly throughout the meat of the slightly more than dozen hours of gameplay that Revenant Saga has to offer.

The overall gameplay will offer very little in the way of surprises for JRPG fans, for better or for worse. Combat is pretty straightforward, as is the more linear-than-expected exploration. Dungeons are solidly designed and with a couple of difficulty settings that can be toggled at will, battles are seldom an overly challenging affair unless you want them to be. If you like to grind, there is ample opportunity to do so (I am an RPG grinder myself), but the game never feels so difficult that I needed to grind to progress either. While the gameplay is all pretty standard fare, there is an option to change your form that fits in rather nicely with the storyline, and it is an unusual twist because it offers a lot more offensive power, but an inability to be healed, which creates an interesting risk versus reward scenario. More often than not, I chose not to transform, but I thought it was a cool option that could have been expanded on a bit more.

All in all, Revenant Saga is a pretty solid roleplaying option that is old school in almost all of the right ways. It is familiar, comfortable, easy to learn, meaty enough in length without subjecting the player to unwieldy difficulty spikes along the way. The presentation ranges from average to decent and would have been right at home in the early PlayStation era. Revenant Saga is  port of a mobile game, and perhaps that is why it feels so comfortable on the small screen with the Nintendo Switch.

Game Information

Exe Create Inc.
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
PlayStation 3
PlayStation Vita
Wii U

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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