Xbox has been slowly and quietly obtaining more JRPG titles through the ID@Xbox program. Revenant Dogma has catered to the mobile side, but don’t let that make you think any less of a console version. This RPG has a turn-based fighting system flooded with abilities. There is a transformation system which alters the heroes appearance and allows a variety of choice. Status effects can also change the tide of battle, leaving you helpless until a certain amount of turns have passed. With witty dialogue and a pretty decent fighting system, this should whet your appetite until another big budget turn-based RPG comes out. The graphics are nothing to commend and everything is pretty simplistic, but rest assured you may very well be happy to have played through it. If you go in with high expectations you will be disappointed. It’s mediocre in many aspects but is overall a decent package. There are plenty of weapons to find, and four difficulties you can change at will. If you’ve played any previous titles associated with this lore, you may find this title more difficult. With the right approach, you can make it a breeze.
Here’s what I liked:
Story/Humor — If you enjoy awkward humor then you will be delighted with the dialogue presented throughout. I found myself laughing out loud, something I normally don’t do while reading. The story is the classic good versus evil tale. Life is too peaceful so a God has taken it upon himself to cause chaos, even though gods aren’t supposed to interfere with life. A group of four heroes finds themselves battling together to bring back the peace. It’s just so well written and delivered flawlessly. I was never confused with what was going on. This genre is supposed to shine in this category, and Revenant Dogma does it justice.
Transforming — I thought little of the transformation mechanic at first. You are a bit limited for a time on how it actually helps you. But as you near the endgame you will start to enjoy the change of pace. Allowing any character to play any role (all with different abilities) creates a sense of customization in fighting. It’s critical you get to know what abilities do what and how they are unlocked and used with your transformation. It reminds me of Final Fantasy 10, where your characters can assume different roles at will. Well after you have beaten the game, you will continue to gain more powerful abilities. Even with so many options, it’s still very manageable to know exactly what’s going on.
End Game (after completing story) — Like other classic JRPGs, after you beat the game it’s almost just the start. There are achievements that require you to be extremely high leveled, meaning if you’re a completionist you’ll have plenty of after story content to enjoy (or not enjoy). You can switch your difficulty at any time, allowing you to skip through certain areas or level up in others. Playing the Hell difficulty in the Hell labyrinth, for example, will gain you levels almost every fight. If you purchase (for real money) the experience booster, you’ll be gaining upwards to three levels a fight if you’re around level 100. It’s also an added challenge, and I always welcome after story gameplay.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Lost Weapons — There are a few glitches I can forgive, and there aren’t a lot of them. But weapons you earn from the labyrinth will sometimes vanish without a trace. You’ll suddenly hit an enemy for less than you’re used to. Checking your equipment, you’ll realize the prized weapon you farmed for is missing. This has happened to half of my weapons. To add insult to injury, there are 500 levels in the Hell labyrinth, meaning a ton of bad luck can happen with your best gear. There really is no excuse for this type of error. It’s a critical one that must be addressed.
The Map — For almost the entire time I played, I had no clue that I could hit the X button to pull up a map of the world. I was blindly running around and sailing, it was quite frustrating. While having the “avoid weaker enemies” ring, I was still encountering them because I was not taking steps. You aren’t technically “taking steps” because you’re in a boat. Finally, when I found out I could pull a map up and even teleport to towns, it became easier. The biggest issue I have with the map is that there are way too many mountains. It breaks the momentum of travel, and it’s near infuriating to have to turn around because endless barriers leave no room to walk. I just wish there were more routes you could take to reach your destination. Dungeons are also disappointing. Mazes of uninspired environments with little absolutely nothing to look at. You will end up throwing a ring on that avoids fights, because you really just want to reach the end without all the hassle if fighting enemies. There is an option in the settings that allow you to instantly win battles where you’re significantly stronger than your foe, which helps if you don’t have the ring.
Simplistic Menu System — Yes, the game is supposed to look a little retro, but the menu system is ugly and dull. Nothing looks cool, and it’s just sort of slapped in without little thought. They could have added more color or better-looking images to make it appear sharp or stylized. I’m guessing the main reason it looks like this is because it’s also a game made for mobile devices. The other problem is choosing your weapon is a bit tedious. They’re sorted by when you obtained them and not by value or attack strength. There isn’t much sense in how they’ve decided to implement the system, it’s just a cluster of items and gear that takes too much thought to manage.
You will not enjoy Revenant Dogma at first. It might take you several hours. I started to love it once I was about ten hours into the game. Some people won’t have the patience to go that far just to start appreciating it, but if you are a fan of RPG games then I would suggest you give it some time and be patient with it. It is, in fact, free on mobile, so you can mess around with the game there first to see if you’ll like it. The benefits of playing on a console is obviously a bigger screen and being able to gain achievements. If you don’t care about those, then by all means just play it on your mobile device. Besides the flaws and lackluster graphics, Revenant Dogma somehow manages to still capture the genre’s appeal.
Score: Reader’s Choice
Revenant Dogma was published by Kemco and developed by Exe-Create on Xbox One. It was released on September 12, 2018, for $14.99. A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes.