As one of very few Western-Developed RPGs on the PSP, Throne of Agony has big shoes to fill.
The easiest way to explain this game is to look the title of the review: Fetch Quests: The Game. Or, if you would prefer a more elaborate title: Fetch Quests: Dungeon Loot Edition.
Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh here, but really, that's all there is to it. You're given some quests, you go to a dungeon, you kill enemies, open chests, and go back to town and finish the quest. While there's nothing wrong with this, in fact it's my favorite thing to do in gaming as I love dungeon crawlers, loot grinding, and quests, it's the presentation that matters. And Throne of Agony's presentation is a mixed bag.
Graphically, Throne of Agony is outdated. Very outdated. Your character's appearance does change based off of what weapons and armor you're wearing, but that's about as complex as it gets. Environments and animations are plain, as are dungeon designs. The music is good, very mood fitting. Some of the exploration themes were great. The voice acting is limited and you will likely recognize many of the actors as union actors.
There are three pre-made characters you start as in Throne of Agony and they are all relatively interesting. One is a Mage, Allister, who leaves his Legion in search of his wife. Serin is a blind "Elf" Thief who is searching for the answer to her visions. The final character is a Warrior, Mogrim, who is a Half-Giant searching for his ancestors. You only play as one, and other than the initial scene, the others have almost nothing to do with your game. You cannot modify appearance, though you can modify stats and skill levels.
While there are classes like "Thief" and "Mage," there are also multiple advanced classes using something of a morality system. When I say "morality system" I don't mean "answering questions by being mean turns you evil and answering questions being nice means you're good." No, there's nothing like that. In fact, your answers, when you can choose them, are relatively insignificant. The "morality" system is limited simply to "Light" and "Dark" classes that you can choose. I'll use the Mage, Allister, as an example. Jobs (Warrior/Thief/Mage) all have this same general progression, but not exactly with the same classes. Obviously a Warrior isn't going to become a Lich. Allister can choose to become either a Vile Wizard or a White Wizard. Vile Wizards are Mages who seek power in all forms, while White Wizards stick to the rules and want to help people. That's not necessarily saying Vile Wizards don't, or can't, help people, it's just how they seek their power that makes them "Vile." Either Vile or White changes how Allister plays. Vile gets Death-based abilities, such as Necromany-like skills. Choosing Vile or White also changes your third class as well. In Alister's case, he can become a Lich, or a Death Knight if he's Vile, or he can become an Archmage or something of a Paladin if he's a White Wizard. These classes once again give you new skills and powers and slightly change up your gameplay.
Other than the aforementioned loot, dungeon, and quest grinding, Throne of Agony uses a real time battle system with a top-down point of view. At any one time you can have one story-companion summoned, for example, one of your companion choices is a Mage Dryad. You can have more than one companion only if your class can summon. If you're a Mage, you can have 4 companions due to summoning.
While the game does try to add depth, the game ends up being played pretty much the same throughout. Other than having more powerful skills, I was playing almost identically at the end of the game as I was at the beginning. In addition to that, the ending sections of the game are far too easy. Once you get your Secondary (and Tertiary) classes, the difficulty spikes down immediately.
Customization is limited to Stat and Skill points. You have Stats such as Strength, Stamina, Willpower, Agility, and Luck. You get 3 points each level to put into your Stats and each character also grows in stats naturally without you having to put points in. Skill points are used to level your skills, which go up to a maximum level of 20 and can go higher with equipment bonuses. Followers also have Skill Points, but you can only level them using a special NPC trainer and by spending large sums of gold.
The story and lore are somewhat interesting, but the game doesn't really give you a lot of incentive to read about it. Sometimes you want to read up something interesting and there's only one or two sentences. On something else completely insignificant you'll find huge paragraphs. At least on the positive side, there are some humorous jokes and I didn't encounter many typos or grammar errors playing. Like with many loot-grinders you won't be playing this for the story, but more for the character development and customization.
My absolute biggest problem with this game are the technical issues. The load times are terrible and constant. The game needs to load for very little thing, including something as simple as looking at the world map. I froze at minimum 5 times on load screens, each time causing my PSP to completely crash rather than just a freeze, at times losing quite a bit of playtime.
This game is rather cheap now, I was able to get it for $4.50, and I would say it's absolutely worth that if you enjoy WRPGs. Just don't expect a perfect game. It's fun for what it is, but nothing spectacular.
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About the reviewer
Feb 21, 2011
Mar 20, 2011 03:03 AM UTC
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