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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Role-Playing

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Shade

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2000

 

 

- Nice anime scenes

 

 

- Low detailed graphics

- Terrible voice acting

- A ho-hum aesthetic

 

 

Review: Final Fantasy X (Playstation 2)

Review: Grandia Xtreme (Playstation 2)

Review: Kingdom Hearts (Playstation 2)

 

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Orphen: Scion of Sorcery

Score: 3/10

 

That mysterious solution of PSX Buffer Luster has struck again. Here we have a game that looks, smells , sounds, and feels like a Playstation game that has had a few more polygons pumped in with some lighting effects for good measure in order to make it onto the "latest and greatest" console. At least if the game was fun these aesthetic shortcomings could be overlooked, but alas what little novelty that lurks deep within Orphen’s play mechanics wears thin faster than a pare of undies at a chili contest. This game is hard on the eyes, hard on the ears, and hard on one’s patience.

 

orphen-scion-sorcery-1.jpg (16967 bytes)          orphen-scion-sorcery-2.jpg (12405 bytes)

Just looking at this game is enough to make you want to take a gander at the little glowing "on" light to make sure it is indeed coming from the PS2 and not the PSX. The resolution is high, but the developers didn’t take bother to put a lot of detail into the characters, nor the levels, and there’s even pop-up at close range. Pop-up at close range! There’s some fire and mist in the game that looks sort of nice, but even that is stretching it a fair bit. The only good thing about Orphen’s graphics is the anime cutscenes, which are very nice, bright, crisp, and clear. Too bad this is a game, not a cartoon.

And if you think the graphics are bad you’d better hold on to something and brace yourself for the sound, because ooo-nelly it’s the sort of aural experience that will make your eardrums melt and ooze down the side of your head. The culprit here is the terrible voice acting. There’s no reason to describe it further, it’s just awful. Sound and music are present, but do nothing to really pull the player deeper into the game.

 

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What kills Orphen is the simple fact that it does nothing to make players care about the characters or their plight. They are all so one dimensional that the game is a chore to complete, making players simply try to finish it out of principle, not because they actually give a damn about helping the characters achieve their goals. On top of this there are three different quests in the game, each completed one after the other. Talk about a test of patience. If you manage to finish the game once, then kudos for showing such tremendous will and endurance. If you finish any of the others after that, seek therapy.

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In a daring attempt at innovation, the game’s developers did put some interesting features in the battles. They are far more action-based, in a real-time setting. You have to choose between fighting with your sword or magic, or defending yourself. There is also the ability to do multiple hit combos by tapping the button at just the right time. On top of this two person combos can be performed when opportunity permits. Sadly even this feature gets old fast. The limited amount of variety that these combos give causes the player to run through them far too quickly, as such they lose their charm.

orphen-scion-sorcery-3.jpg (10579 bytes)          orphen-scion-sorcery-4.jpg (16239 bytes)

If you’re looking for an RPG for your PS2, Orphen isn’t it. Just be patient and hope something else far spiffier gets ported or localized.

- Mr. Nash

 

(April 27, 2001)

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