During Bitsummit, the 8th Bit, developer Stegosoft Games released a demo for Rise of the Third Power. This turn-based retro-styled RPG honestly came out of nowhere. Heck, I haven’t even heard of it before the announcement. However, my attention was instantly caught as it reminds me of so many classic RPGs, such as Chrono Trigger, Golden Sun, and Final Fantasy.
Rise of the Third Power‘s story takes place 15 years after Stegosoft Games’ predecessor title Ara Fell, an RPG Maker game that told the story of World War I but with a twist. The developers then released Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition, which went away from the RPG Maker skin and used an original engine developed by them. Now, they have continued their efforts with Rise of the Third Power, which they quote to be their “best game yet, with Chrono Trigger-esque abilities.”
Only a few characters are introduced in this short demo version. First, you start playing as Rowan, a former naval officer who was “dismissed for his heavy drinking habits.” Still, knowing how to steer a ship, he became a pirate…only to betray his girlfriend Selena, who is also a pirate. The rather cunning Natasha and the mage Aden are in your party, who both concoct a plan to steal one of Selena’s ships and run away to safety after it explodes.
In combat, the demo provides you with five party members to choose from. While it is rather brief, having only a few fights plus a boss battle at the end, I enjoyed the small taste provided by the team. Each character is unique, and team combinations are various. I personally went with Natasha, Rowan, and Corrina, and I often found myself switching to Reyna for some healing. But if the combat is not your cup of tea and you want to enjoy the story, the game provides accessibility options for those kinds of players.
The classic Normal, Hard, and Expert difficulties can be chosen when you begin the game, but I want to highlight the “Story” titled difficulty. This difficulty will add a “Story Mode” option on your menu during battle. Selecting it will kill all enemies in the battle, automatically allowing you to win (except possibly “scripted to lose” fights). Thus, you don’t have to worry about combat and solely view the narrative play out when choosing this mode.
While I am aware such an option might invoke some discontent towards those who choose to enable it; I personally like that it’s optional. I mean, as someone who plays RPGs solely for the story, I am not a huge fan of grinding for hours upon hours to see what happens next in the story.
We have high hopes for Rise of the Third Power. After playing through the demo, I liked the tastes of the combat and story, and although there were some bugs and freezes, it is only to be expected, seeing the game is still in development. Rise of the Third Power is planned for release on Steam only, but no release date has been provided.
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