The Revenant Prince Review – A Strong Spirit Transcends Rules

    Title: The Revenant Prince
    Developer: Nomina Games
    Release Date: August 13, 2020
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Nomina Games
    Genre: RPG

RPGs have a tendency to reuse established mechanics, which is why I am always intrigued when developers create new systems within the genre. Throw in a captivating story, and you have the makings of an RPG that will have my attention. The Revenant Prince, by Nomina Games, has both of these elements. While I would have like to see a bit more explored within its established features, it provides an undeniably unique gameplay experience.

The Revenant Prince introduces players to Troy, a soldier in the Lumerian Empire. The Empire’s goal is to unite the world under one rule. Commonly this is executed by militant means. It’s learned that Troy struggles not only with his conscious but a strange sense of deja vu that he can’t shake. During the narrative, a disembodied voice accompanies Troy’s quest and attempts to influence his actions as he searches for answers. This creates a dynamic within the story where it’s up to you to listen to this voice or forge your own path. To say more about the plot would probably be an injustice to the story as it’s best experienced rather than spoiled.

Early on, you are given a chance to experience a moral dilemma presented throughout the game, whether you spare your enemies or eliminate them after a battle. This changes the course of your narrative, depending on the choice that you make. Almost all characters give you this opportunity leading to a range of branching paths. Although I’m certain major plot points, remain consistent, how characters interact with you, and those outcomes shape your adventure. It’s not a new element by any means, but it’s an engaging one and a fun way to keep you wondering if you’re making the right decisions.

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Combat is where things get even more interesting. Battles take place in active time encounters, forcing you to think and act quickly. You are given three weapon slots that you can switch between. Each action exhausts BP, which is represented in a bar that doubles as a way to see which actions you can use. Each weapon has three moves: a light but quick strike, which takes little BP to use, a medium attack that uses a bit more BP, and a special attack that takes a good amount of BP. On top of this, weapons and items have a cool-down gauge on your strike buttons to prevent you from spamming them. This also prevents you from switching between weapon to weapon so that you can keep up a flurry of attacks.

Each weapon has different moves, attributes, BP usage, and cool-down to consider. You first begin with a melee weapon, a long-range weapon, and a defensive shield. As you acquire more weapons, you can customize your equipment a bit more to your liking. I found the shield to be extremely important to surviving tougher battles. When facing off against a group of enemies, you can easily be knocked out with two hits if you aren’t guarding yourself. This calls for speedy timing and close attention to your enemy’s gauges as well as your own. You are expected to continually be multitasking and juggle all this knowledge at once, which can be pretty frantic at times.

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Although it may feel overwhelming at first, once you get into a groove of how to approach battles, things become more manageable. There are also a few items that can revive you to make early deaths less daunting. Still, even if you don’t, you are given the option to retry the battle from the start instead of returning to a save point. As frequently as I died early on, this was extremely helpful and made me eager to jump into battle again and again.

Each of these systems combined leads to some pretty enjoyable battles. Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much variety to the monsters and enemies as I hoped. I found myself fighting many of the same enemies again and again.

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Battles can tend to be a bit on the long side. Some take a while to chip away at, and while I understand this for tougher bosses, it becomes tedious when it happens so often. Luckily, the responsiveness of the battle system does make this more comfortable to work with, but I think some balances would have improved the overall experience.

Another element to help ease any tedium is the “adjust encounter rate” item you get early on. This super helpful item is something that I used several times throughout my journey. This can pretty much keep you battle free if you’re feeling too battle drenched, or you can even turn up the encounter rate if you’re looking to gain experience.

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The Revenant Prince gives you a couple of different ways to earn experience. You gain levels like most RPGs, but you can also add to your sphere grid, which can be customized by either adding to “offense,” “defense,” or “utility.” Each orb in your sphere grid requires SGP, which you obtain through battle. It’s essential that you prioritize what to upgrade first as each subsequent sphere grid requires more and more SGP.

You are also able to upgrade your weapons and armor at the blacksmith. Rare items are needed for each upgrade, so you’ll want to make sure your base weapon or armor is decent to start with. Even with a good deal of grinding, I didn’t get many chances to upgrade these items, so I found myself hoarding them until particularly tricky areas.

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Moving around is exceptionally speedy as Troy can really book it if you want him too. I wish a lot of other RPGs could have you zoom by as quickly as this. In combination with various warp points, it’s pretty easy to get around the world. If there is a main map in the game, I was never able to find out how to access it. While not vital, it would have been beneficial to have.

Even though The Revenant Prince has some intense and dark themes, many of the characters I spoke with had fun and quirky personalities. As grim as things can get, these moments were welcomed levity and strangely didn’t feel too out of place. The overall story is fairly compelling as well, although I unintentionally missed a good portion of it just by chance. This is good and bad, I suppose, as it’s a title that seems to ask for multiple playthroughs. It’s also nice considering some players might only want a ten to thirteen-hour gameplay experience while unlocking all main story elements and side quests could easily double if not triple that time.

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The Revenant Prince has many of the core elements that make a compelling RPG, with an intense battle system and a mysterious story. Still, there’s a noticeable amount of refinement that could have made the experience more approachable and user friendly. Shaping the adventure based on player choice offers a sense of immersion in this dark world, and I was gladly along for the ride.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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