Tears of Avia - XB1 Review

Tears of Avia by developer CooCooSqueaky Games and publisher PQube LimitedMicrosoft Xbox One review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Tears of Avia is the latest strategy JRPG to grace both consoles and PCs alike. Having made its debut back over the course of the summer during Valve’s Steam Summer Festival on the PC, this visually vibrant world is finally in the hands of everyone. With magical objects known as Avia’s Tears coming into play and a powerful demon hunting them down, it’s up to a newly appointed Seeker to uncover them first in order to prevent disaster.

Starting off with the choice of one of five protagonists, whoever you pick is basically going to be put in charge of the group alongside another. Your first companion, Afren, who is found defending his town from the hordes of Ghouls that keep appearing, will be the first before Kai the Fighter, Reina the Ranger, Momoko the Cleric, Iris the Wizard or Raul the Brawler make up the the rest of the cast before others eventually join your chosen protagonist’s cause.

Starting off rather strong, it doesn’t take that much time before seeing a lot of the limitations that Tears of Avia operates under. With loads of dialog to set things off, this strategic RPG adventure soon becomes trapped in a pattern that while it works for some such as NIS / NISA’s Makai Senki series (Disgaea, Makai Kingdom, La Pucelle), doesn’t quite work here. After the initial stages that act as a tutorial and you’ve been given access to everyone else that didn’t make the cut as the protagonist, you set off into several stages of full blown combat before a bit of contextual dialog and then being sent to a city that will unfortunately act as your hub.

The formula is a simple one. You complete a stage, you go back to the hub. Oftentimes there is no dialog to be had and the most that you can actually do within the hub is buy or sell items before heading back out. There is a tavern that exists in order to swap up your party, but honestly? In the beginning if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. My issues with this structure is that once you've moved into the larger city, nothing is close by. From the main portal it’s about five to ten seconds up to the blacksmith causing your trip back down to the merchant to be double that as it’s on the other side of your portal.

This honestly wouldn’ have been so bad, but, with the starting potential seemingly disappearing once the introduction is over, all you’re left with is stage after stage of oftentimes brutal combat. Now, I’m a huge SRPG fan and I’ll be the first to admit to grinding for experience points to make the grade but there’s something about Tears of Avia that just… misses the mark. Leveling your characters requires your characters to participate and to use their abilities. If they don’t do anything, they get nothing and that part is fine. On every level, which can go by quickly especially for mages and priestesses, you get to unlock skills for your skill bar to be used in combat. That part is fine as well as it allows for you to have several of one class but severely different functions.

Where things don’t quite work so well is in two separate departments. The first of these is that while you can learn skills by leveling up and then picking and choosing for ultimate character combinations, leveling them up requires you to buy items in order to make the skill more powerful. Over time, over the course of multiple levels and loads of grinding, you’ll be able to level these up but I found that even if you do, often the numbers didn’t add up. Being able to heal for 400+ hit points per charge would often lead me to healing for nothing more than forty to eighty hit points and then not having to wonder why my character died from the incoming onslaught.

The other part is in the presentation. Tears of Avia gets high marks for allowing you to move a character and then immediately move another while the first one is still moving, but then from there? The overall movements of your enemies is slow and there’s no way to make them move faster. Another thing that actually surprised me and I never thought I would miss it until it wasn’t there was the lack of audio for your characters and your enemies. No one makes a sound while moving. There’s no “On it!”, “I’ve got this!”, “RAWR!”. Nothing. It’s just whatever background music may be on and menu clicks.

On the subject of menu “clicking”, and I found the port over to the Xbox somewhat sloppy. You can often see the mouse cursor between loading screens showcasing the PC options. More than that though, if you go into the graphical settings you can find the options for resolution, Vsync, windows or full screen modes which don’t actually do anything, as it’s on a console. Worse again, is that even by 1.02, there are still loads of issues with crashing and stages not loading properly such as having a loading screen and the dialog starting to appear or the level starting and seeing menu options for the overworld. With how excited I was to sit down to Tears of Avia and having missed it during the Summer Festival, I was feeling rather disappointed as there was a fair amount of potential that could have been had here.


So unfortunately, there is a lot here that can't be overlooked. Even with version 1.02 having fixed some issues that were much more prominent in version 1.00, between some of the design decisions and just the sheer amount of crashes that I've had post launch date on two separate XB1 units... I really wanted to love Tears of Avia being a huge SRPG fan, but unfortunately between the issues and just the overall drop after the introduction, I unfortunately couldn't.

Score: 5 / 10



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