Terrific Technical Turn-based Tournaments
[Ed. Note: Being that TV and City is on a bit of a hiatus, this article has not been edited.]
By Noam Abrahams
RPGs are one of my favorite game genres. From classics like Final Fantasy to the tactical plays of Fire Emblem, turn-based battle systems are intrinsically complex. Esports is all about well-balanced games and high-end plays, so why aren’t RPGs more commonly competitions?
RPGs aren’t exactly the best to watch… Seeing menus scroll by, and characters step forward and swing their swords for a frame or two isn’t as thrilling as a Mortal Kombat combo, or a great Smash Bros. read. But AVARIAvs is all about keeping things competitive.
That’s why AVARIAvs shines in its presentation. Not only do the attacks and effects look stunning, but the radial menus make selection easy, while still keeping it looking slick. Using arrow keys to select a direction make the combat move a bit faster than classic RPGs’ lists and sub-lists, but also adds enough visual flair to keep looking cool, but keeps it fairly out of eyeline, so the screen stays clear. The extra screen real estate makes room a beautiful view of the battle occurring on screen. The character models are all extremely polished, and the spells all have short but sweet flourishes.
The game also controls really well. Selecting directions on the radial menu with the arrow keys feels intuitive and fluid. It took me a second to get used to the default selection keys being F & G, but after one game I managed to get a flow going. Finding your flow in the game is tremendously easy. The game comes with some preset parties with certain focuses, and gives you the ability to make two of your own teams with the sixteen different characters. The presets give you a wide range of options, from pure damage to excessive heals, and really compliment almost any gameplay style. All the characters have 3 normal abilities, and it makes gameplay as simple as it can without the removal of strategy. Damage is important, but status effects can easily turn the tide. The game is tremendously well balanced, and any strategy can probably be countered with enough planning.
However, the games not perfect. There are 16 characters, but in essence, there are really only 4. There are 4 classes, each with 4 characters in them, but they aren’t different enough to feel distinguished. They have a different skill or two on each and slightly rebalanced stats, but the character variety still feels very low. Each character can also pick between two special moves, but they don’t really feel differentiated.
All-in-all, the game is a fresh take on both RPGs and E-Sports games. The controls and graphics are amazing, but it definitely still feels like it’s more of a concept test, rather than a completed tournament-ready game.
I give AVARIAvs an A-.