reviews\ Dec 15, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Evolution Worlds - GC - Review

One of the most popular game genres for any system is Role Playing Game or RPG for short. Since the GameCube’s launch last year, there have been a few RPG’s released, but they were sub par at best. Ubi Soft decided to fill in the giant void, and release Evolution Worlds for the GameCube. The question remains: will it be the best RPG to grace the system, or another easily forgettable game?

Several millenniums have passed since the destruction of an ancient and extremely technologically advanced civilization. The year is 930, and the people are finally getting to the point of building airplanes, submarines, and other things. Certain people are able to use a device called a Cyframe, which is an ancient tool that came from archeological excavations. These people are employed by the Society, which is a research institution, to explore the ruins and gain further knowledge about the past.

Mag Launcher, of Pannam Town, comes from a line of famous explorers and adventurers, and he aspires to be just like them. Within the past few years, the family has not produced anything of notability, and they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Mag is now the head of the Launcher household because both his mother and father were lost on an adventure. One day, a little girl came to the door of the Launcher’s house with a letter. The letter was from Mag’s father and told him to “protect this girl Linear,” so wherever Mag goes, Linear can be found right at his side. With the help of the butler Gre, and friends they meet on the way, can Mag find the coveted Cyframe Evolutia? The answer to that question lies within the player’s hands.

During Mag’s adventures he will make many friends and even some enemies. Before hearing about other people, it is best to know what the main character is like. Mag Launcher is a young adventurer, and is always cheerful and in high sprits, but he has a short fuse and can be easily provoked. He carries the magic hand-held Cyframe known as Airacomet. Linear Cannon is a young girl with a very mysterious past. She hardly ever speaks, and when she does it is only to Mag. She likes going on adventures with Mag, and is always self-conscience of what others think about her. Gre Nade is the butler to the Launcher family. His goal is to make Mag into a first rate explorer to surpass his parents. He is a good ally in combat with his trusty hunting rifle. Chain Gun is the daughter of the rivals of the Launcher family, the Gun family. She is the only one left to carry the Gun clans adventure heritage. She uses the sword-type Cyframe, which can fly. Pepper Box is another adventurer from another county, and she uses a bazooka-type Cyframe. Eugene Leopold is the commander of the 8th Imperial Army. He is searching for the Evolutia Cyframe, but will he prove to be a friend or a foe?

The games combat engine is unique, because the different battle formations players put the characters in can drastically affect the outcome of a battle. The formation is a three-by-three grid, in which players can be placed. The first row will take more damage from enemy attacks, but they will also have a better attack strength. Putting characters in the back row will have a stronger defense, but also will have smaller attack strength as well. The ideal strategy is to place all of your attackers in the front row, with the recovery team in the back, but it is entirely up to the gamers to find what works best for them.

There are many status effects that players will receive several times when exploring the various dungeons. These status effects will limit several of the actions characters can do during a battle. Skill block, which can be one of the most deadly effects, will disable any special attacks during a battle. Confusion will make the character attack randomly at their party or the enemy. Sometimes characters will not be able to dodge enemy attacks or see the enemies very well; this statues effect is called blindness. At times players will not be able to attack or defend themselves when they are put to sleep. When a character gets paralysis, the body will stiffen so they cannot fight at all. When characters are poisoned, every time they attack an enemy will slowly take damage. Exhaustion occurs when players hit points goes down to zero.

During the course of the game, players will find that there are two different types of dungeons to explore, random and predefined. The random ones change constantly, and they do not let you visit a previous floor. The predefined ones will let players go up or down to any floor they want, and can exit through the entrance.

Evolution Worlds is rated E for Everyone and contains comic mischief, mild language, and violence. The game requires between 4 to 8 blocks on your memory card.

Gameplay: 8.1
Evolution Worlds is fun to play, but it can get boring and repetitive quickly. In the beginning players will have to go through a few dungeons, which look exactly alike, except that there are more levels in them the further in the game you get. For the first few hours of the game, it is like this: go in dungeon level one, kill all the enemies, collect the treasure, go up the next level and repeat. This gets extremely mundane, but if players stick to the game, they will find that it still can be fun mixing up the different battle formations and prepare for foes they will encounter later on in the game.

One of the additions to the game is the midlevel save. Each time players complete a level in the dungeon, and up to the next level, they will be presented an option to save on a temporary space. This is helpful to people who can only play for so long, and there is no save point in site. Once players load this save up, it will disappear from your memory card, so players will have to be careful.

I have to complement Ubi Soft for making all of the enemies on screen. This means that players can totally avoid any battle they want to. It is always nice to have this option available incase some of the characters are low on health, plus it makes the game seem more realistic.

The game offers many customizable options. During the battles, characters will accumulate points which can be put towards a new special attack to use. For example Linear has to get over one thousand points to get a “cure all” type spell, or she can choose to get a “cure poison” spell. This is left up to the players, so that no two gamers will have the exact same experience going though the game.

Graphics: 8.3
The game has an anime art style to it, with the characters having big heads and eyes. A result of this is that the game sports a lower polygonal count, and will not lean on the side of realism. The characters are nicely modeled and are highly detailed, from the hair all the way to the different Cyframes used. The different towns that the party will transverse are nicely detailed. Every time a spell is cast or a special move is evoked, the game produces some nice particle effects.

All of the character animations are handled very nicely. All of the characters walk realistically, which is nice to see in RPG, since you do a lot of walking around. Also the Cyframes have nice animations when they are winding up to do an attack. It is nice to see that Ubi Soft paid close attention to this area of the game.

The bad thing about the graphic department is the dungeon. Each dungeon level looks exactly the same as the previous one. That wouldn’t be bad if it did not look so boring. Ubi Soft could have gone wild with this, and make each dungeon dark, dreary, and have an eerie feeling to them. Instead it is drab, boring, and just plain dull.

Sound: 8.1
The voice acting in the game is good, but it still has its faults. When they characters are reading the narrative lines, they do an excellent job! All of the voices fit the characters, but the main problem is that there at not enough lines in the battle sequences. When Mag is hit he will say certain catch phrases depending on how much damage is done. In total I would say there are five and no more than ten different phrases the characters will say. By the second or third hour gamers will have heard all of them, and then it repeats throughout the entire game. The music and sound effects used in the game are nicely tuned and fits well with the theme of the game. Other than my minor gripe, Ubi Soft did a good job in this department.

Difficulty: Easy
The game is on the easy side, but it will ramp up as player’s progress throughout the game. This RPG seems like it is aimed for the younger players. Mastering the controls for the game, and how to go though the dungeons will be a snap. Watch out for the boss characters though, they can give you a run for your money.

Concept: 8.0
The game concept is a little old, and follows the same path that most RPG’s do. Go into a town; find information about a “big bad,” while trying to be the greatest adventure/hero alive. The game does little to improve on this formula, but the end result is quite nice.

Overall: 8.3
If you are looking for a challenging RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy, than stray away. This game seems like it was developed for the more laid back players. If you need a good RPG to help you appease your appetite from the lack of them on the GameCube this is the best there is out there right now. Have fun!


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