Reverse: 1999 Closed Beta Preview – Past, Present and Future in Reverse

The “time traveling” plot mechanic in games can be a double-edged sword sometimes. If used well, it has the potential to create a really cool story, but it can also make the plot a lot more convoluted than you can imagine. And Reverse: 1999’s story has a lot of potential, but playing this closed beta has revealed that it still has a lot of polishing to do before it can brave the stormy seas that is the Western mobile market.

In Reverse: 1999, you play as Vertin, a human who is known as a Timekeeper. The entire world is currently facing a mysterious phenomenon called The Storm, where time, as we know it, is moving in reverse, but the Timekeeper is uniquely immune to this. With the help of your colleague Sonetto, you must seek out the arcanists from across time and help them escape the effects of the Storm. The closed beta lets you play through the first three chapters, which cover the 1920s and a quick backstory on the protagonist.

Depending on which characters are on your team, you’ll get a different set of cards each turn which you can select and spend AP to execute Arcane Spells that will either attack the enemy or apply a buff/debuff. Furthermore, you can also spend AP to move those cards around and combine them to create even stronger variations of those attacks. Then, after generating enough Moxie, you can obtain an Ultimate Attack card and deal increased damage.

reverse 1999 closed beta battle overview

While the combat system is relatively straightforward and not hard to grasp, I find it quite inconvenient that there isn’t a way to automate your battles. After clearing Chapters 1-11, there is a feature called Replay, which can automatically battle for you, but as the name implies, it only works for stages you’ve cleared previously. Furthermore, there are several mandatory tutorials that you must complete in a specific way. Even the provided hints don’t help you much, making it more frustrating than it should be.

To get new allies for her adventures, Vertin must use the spinning wheel that’s inside their suitcase, and yep, you guessed it, this is where you’ll be introduced to the gacha system of Reverse: 1999. By converting your Clear Drops into Unilogs, you’ll be able to summon new characters, with a rate of 1.5% for 6 stars and 8.5% for 5 stars. Personally, that’s not too bad, but I found that you will struggle with content if you don’t get the right elements from here, making it sort of unavoidable. Still, the beginner gacha is rather generous, with a 6-star guaranteed after 3 tenfold pulls.

reverse 1999 story regulus and vertin

All of the story cutscenes in Reverse: 1999 feature full voice-acting in English, Japanese, and Chinese, with the first one enabled by default. All of the characters speak with very distinct accents, which do bring some charm to each of them. Still, I’m just going to say that the overall quality of the English dub sounds like they used the first take for every line because, from time to time, it sounds like some of the actors robotically spoke the script with no emotion at all in their delivery, which resulted in a complete lack of immersion.

Furthermore, this also extends to the English translation, which is full of grammatical mistakes and typos, and it overall feels very stiff and in desperate need of some quality assurance. And due to how it seems that the voice actors seem to be reading this translation almost verbatim, I’m inclined to believe that this issue, combined with the poor voice direction, is probably the biggest thorns on what caused this because changing the voice and text to Japanese for example reveals a massive improvement in delivery and even overall translation, that I was even shocked.

reverse 1999 beta bad dialogue

Perhaps one of the few redeeming qualities of Reverse: 1999 is its character design. There’s quite a selection of types, ranging from weirdly-dressed people to even…a talking apple? Although I am a bit disappointed that 80 to 90% of the cast seems to be composed of female characters, with only two or three male characters, and even the protagonist is heavily implied to be female no matter what name you choose. Still, I suppose I’m willing to swallow that bitter pill.

Reverse: 1999 has some good potential to be an interesting gacha game, but unfortunately, its presentation falls apart really quickly with the low-quality translation and the questionable voice acting quality in English, the main language that would make it attractive in the West. The Japanese translation, on the other hand, has such good quality that I would strongly wish that the developers give the English translation the much-needed quality assurance it desperately craves.

Reverse: 1999 will be coming to Mobile and PC later this year.

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