Release date: Available now
Review by: Lieren Teeling
Ah, Atlus and Sting. I could write a small novel on the wealth of great RPGs they’ve brought us, and the ones they haven’t yet localized. My own collection holds many that have claimed a great deal of my life. Hexyz Force is their latest collaboration to arrive in the West, and it bears the signature styles for which both companies are known. Another traditional RPG with a few enhancements, Hexyz Force has a lot to live up to in a genre that’s progressed far past this basic formula.
Levant von Schweitzer, Knight of the Rosenbaum Empire, and Cecilia Armaclite, Cleric of Palfina, live in opposite halves of a split world. Lustrous Berge, where the sun always shines, and Dark Berge, which is cloaked in perpetual night, have no contact. The Black Precipice that splits them kills all who step into it, save the Hexyz, the reincarnated forms of 15 Divinities who gave up their phsyical bodies to save the world from the cataclysm that caused the split. The goddess of creation has restored the world on one condition: the world must choose it’s own fate when the Day of Judgment arrives. Now that day approaches. Your characters Levant and Cecilia are Hexyz of two of the three most powerful Divinities, the Pillars of Creation. As the champions of their worlds, the two must guide them to creation or destruction, based on choices you make in-game.
Hexyz Force is a 2-for-1 game, giving you the opportunity to choose either the storyline of the cheerful cleric Cecilia or the brooding knight Levant. Whichever you choose, the game is a traditional turn-based RPG reminiscent of older Final Fantasy titles. Each lead has two teammates who accompany them the entire game. Your team wields powerful weapons called Ragnafacts and lesser weapons called Forcefacts and Spirifacts. In battle, Ragnafacts use Rune Points to do anything, even a simple attack, while Forcefacts and Spirifacts have durability that is spent and runs out. All abilities in the game are directly dictated by what you have equipped, from basic attacks to healing and magic. Battles earn you not only XP but also Force Points (FP). These are spent to do quite a lot: upgrading your Ragnafacts, creating Forcefacts or restoring your party mid-dungeon. Even items and equipment require FP to create, rather than buying them at a shop.
Ragnafacts put a nice twist on the normal “buy new weapon, equip weapon, use until next shop” formula. Instead, your character uses FP gathered in battle to upgrade their one main weapon or create lesser ones that can break after too much use. FP is also used to create items and equipment. This is incredibly convenient, since it can be done anywhere and it takes away the need to run back through a dungeon at low health to restock. The battle system is easy to grasp and flows nicely, with plenty of information readily accessible in the UI. There’s even a rather nice feature for impatient people: pressing the right trigger sets all battle animations to double speed. I found this useful for the inevitable FP grinding that needed to be done, but good voice acting and very nice graphics made it unnecessary to use this feature all the time. There’s also an extensive set of side quests that can actually lead to a third ending, apart from the “good” or “bad” ones available in each story.
Though I found Hexyz Force incredibly enjoyable, it does have some minor flaws. Most of the game has no voice acting. Some of the more intense scenes would definitely have benefitted from it, especially since it’s done so well elsewhere. Another small irritation was an occasional lack of direction; you’re given a task, but absolutely no information on how to do it, or sometimes even where to go. This info can be discovered with a little trial and error or thought, but figuring it out throws frustrating hiccups into the otherwise smooth flow of the linear storyline. There are also the inevitable stops to grind for FP. Since it not only takes the place of money, but is also used to do so many different but equally important things, FP’s always in short supply. My regular routine was to stop maybe once or twice a dungeon near a save point and grind for it.
Hexyz Force offers a lot of gameplay for your money, with both stories running about 25 hours each. There’s also a hard mode to unlock. Despite it’s small shortcomings, this is an extensive and well polished game that delivers a pleasantly nostalgic experience for fans of older RPGs, and a plain enjoyable game for those newer to the genre.