The world of Shendoah has been protected by the world tree, Sephiroth. However, the tree’s power has begun to wane, countless people have been overcome by an encroaching murk that has transformed them into monsters.
Well, that is a short story, and it does not get much better than this, unfortunately. What story points are raised within the game add nothing to the plot, and the writing is abysmal.
Sephirothic Stories is a JRPG at heart with a bit of exploration added to try and keep it fresh. Unfortunately, the game has been aimed at mobile devices, and it shows with the quality on the Switch.
The battles are the same as every other generic JRPG attack, ability, defend, and so on, just standard stuff. It does, however, have one slight difference.
There is a fusion attack which will use all the party members’ attacks and make it into one big attack. While attacking and being attacked, the fusion bar will increase (once unlocked) and then it will be possible to use this attack. Also, this fusion attack can be customised in the options menu.
This being a KEMCO game and a mobile game to boot, it has the fast forward battles and auto attack to speed up the gameplay.
The game’s map is several nodes that can be accessed, more are unlocked as the story progresses. Once a node is selected, the player will be loaded into the selected area with a couple of joining areas to the main one. In the area will be a few puzzles to solve, for instance, find a box and take it to a gap to walk over the gap. It is a nice change of pace but adds nothing to the game.
The enemies just stand there, not moving so most encounters can be missed. I have nothing against battle encounters where you see the enemy, but at least make them move. Set them on a simple path at least, there was no life to the world.
Each character has its own unique skill, for instance, Harold (the main character) can sense monsters. This is shown by the monsters being visible on the map, if you swap to a different character, the monsters become transparent. Still visible but slightly harder to see. Making Harold outside of the story is pointless. Izzy, the lizard, on the other hand, can see in the dark, making him useful in dungeons to see.
As leisurely walking about the map, missing any fight bar a few that the player will be bottlenecked into, floating coins can be found that can be picked up and spent in stores in towns.
There is a bar in the top left is the Murk Meter, when it gets to 100% you are kicked back to town.
The shops are located in the town, where Mana (the main currency) can be spent on getting the gear that is on sale that will get better and more expensive as the game goes on. Mana is found in chests as well as a reward from fights.
Floating coins that have been collected in the areas visited come in two colours silver and gold. These can be traded in at the coin exchange for more powerful items and also sprigs for the garden.
There is also the ‘Shop’ in the menu like in Alvastia Chronicles. It shows its mobile roots – there are Sephirothic Points (SP) which can be spent in the Menu Shop. It allows you to buy unique items for SP. 10 SP is obtained after every five fights.
Also, the Menu Shop has a game that will give one or ten items(depending on how much SP is spent) of different quality, in armour or weapons. I tried this right at the start and got a lovely 40+ weapons. Needless to say, I was set for the most part of the game.
Weapons And Armour
All weapons can be upgraded with the use of different weapons of the same type. When upgraded, agility and power will be improved, along with the possibility of taking on the extra property from the weapons used in the upgrade, e.g. if a weapon has poison attached to it and it is used to upgrade a weapon, then the poison effect will be transferred over as well. The rarer the weapon, the more properties it can hold.
Armour can be forged as long as the materials and mana are right.
This is a garden that can be carried around with you. Sprigs can be used that grow fruit over a set time, that once harvested, will increase characters parameters by 1 to 6 points. This is worth the investment and time.
Within JRPGs and any game, I am a big fan of the music side. Music can add to a games experience or take away for it. I tend to pay special attention to the soundtracks. I have also died countless times in games due to this fact, and I don’t mind.
In Sephirothic Stories, the music adds or takes nothing away from the experience. This leaves me a little perplexed, so I listen to many of the tracks in the levels. After doing so, it turns out the music could have been left out, and the game would have been the same. It is sub-par at best, at worse, it’s plain bad.
Sound Effects are simple, low fidelity, generic sounds for swipes of swords to throwing down a box.
Needless to say, the audio is not good.
Visuals & Performance
Sephirothic Stories adopts a 3D model approach to the characters rather than my last review of KEMICO’s Alvastia Chronicles which was in pixel art form. The models are something that needs some work, they are fine but, again, sub-par compared to other JRPGs out and about, for instance, The Caligula Effect: Overdose.
The areas that the players are going to visit are pleasant and nicely presented, and some of the enemy models are pretty cool, but bar this again it is all sub-par. Everything looks like it belongs on a PS2.
The performance was excellent, no slow downs with short load times. I played mainly docked as that is my preference with JRPGs. I feel as if the TV screen made the game look worse.
I am sorry to say this, but for USD 14.99, £13.49 GBP, it is not at all worth it unless you are a massive must play all JRPG fan (sort of like myself), but do yourself a favour and wait for a massive sale or buy a different JRPG.
Fusions are cool
Some enemies look good
Can get overpowered weapons at any time
Poor character models
Audio is bad
Not worth the price