Arelite Core is a generic JRPG that tries to emulate the games of the past.
To pay homage to the past is a tumultuous line that many games walk, especially trying to emulate games that were successful can lead to mixed results. Arelite Core is one of those mixed results. Developed and published by the one-man team Dragon Slumber, Arelite Core is a JRPG that tries to recreate the successful formula that made the genre what it was. Does it succeed?
Well, yes and no.
The story follows Karden, who is on the path to become a master blacksmith, only to be forced to take on Talameq who interrupts his journey and is wreaking havoc upon the world. He’s joined by your typical motley crew of companions, and together they must save the world. It’s a story we’ve heard before and we will again a dozen more times. This isn’t a bad thing mind you, it’s just a little more cut and paste than what was marketed in the trailers. While the overarching story is lacking, the comedic dialogue between the characters often lands and you do start to believe that they’re friends as time goes on. There’s a sense of camaraderie amongst the group that, while expected, is actually believable considering the circumstances and it doesn’t seem forced, not completely. There is a problem with the artwork however; the character art doesn’t move or react when they talk to each other, which means it looks a bit uncanny when the characters are just staring at each other unblinkingly while a character mourns the death of his good friend. The arts not bad, it’s just if you’re going to use full character art, you need to have more than one expression drawn or it’s just going to be unsettling or just plain awkward.
Monsters have more varied artwork; having near death expressions before their death animation that usually reflects the kind of monster it was, like showing a long necked monster slumping over and falling before disintegrating. Though there seems to be a little… issue with the size ratio between the enemy artwork and the main character artwork. In battle, the main characters are portrayed as tiny things while the monsters are portrayed as colossal, that is for the most part. Sometimes the player characters due to their size being about twice as tall as the average 16-bit protagonist are the exact height of the monsters which severely decreases the feeling of danger.
This isn’t helped by the fact that the art style for each monster is drastically different leaving proportions to be all over the place. I know old JRPGs like the 2D Final Fantasies did it too, but those used super-deformed sprites for the player characters. Because your party and the enemies used different art styles, it didn’t stick out as much that your characters were just as tall as a wild rabbit. Why this decision was made is a mystery, but if it was to garner a laugh then mission accomplished.
Outside of the artwork within the battles, there isn’t a lot to say about the combat in Arelite Core. It’s basic turn-based with some charged action commands and some flashy specials. There’s a nice spread of abilities you can learn and power up as you level throughout the game. Characters aren’t limited to one role or the other, but some characters can perform certain roles better than others. It’s by the book, but it works for its purpose. It’s just there isn’t much to say; it looks good, it plays just fine, it is mechanically sound in the most mundane of ways and could be improved or made more complex, but its not.
There is the little troublesome gameplay feature that every boss has the ability to heal a huge chunk of health which, while expected, is perplexingly frustrating when the second boss of the game, which is grossly over-leveled considering the average character at that point, heals himself or his partner and then does a move that will more than likely kill a party member. It’s smacking the player in the face with a difficulty curve that the rest of the game doesn’t have. Most the time, you can combat the healing with status ailments, but early on, you don’t have very many of those if at all when you face them, which means you’re treated to a needlessly frustrating boss.
There is one part of the game that does break the mold and that’s the blacksmithing mechanic. While not a mini-game or anything like that, Karden’s original questline to learn from all the great blacksmiths is sort of interesting for what it is. He talks to these people who speak his language about Blacksmithing and we get to see what he knows, what he doesn’t know as well as get a little bit of history about the metals. We learn more about Arelite and why it’s so important that we learn to craft with it, it just adds a bit of lore to the game that was desperately needed. We may learn more about the world as the story goes on but it’s the little things that keep games like this interesting.
Arelite Core is a generic JRPG that tries to emulate the games of the past. While it does this successfully, it doesn’t seem to have an understanding of what makes those sort of games unique and timeless. It is by no means a bad game, but it’s a generic one that could have crafted itself a few things to make itself truly great
I am research paper helper from MeowEssay. I am wildly enthusiastic writer about video games. I read the game documents and try out everything possible in the game to write best game reviews on my blogs.