Most JRPGs are the grouchy grandpas of the gaming world, set in their outdated ways and loath to change the habits of a lifetime. But if the likes of Tales of Vesperia and Lost Odyssey are boring old farts whose idea of a banging evening is an Antiques Roadshow/Last of the Summer Wine double-header, then the brilliantly-named Infinite Undiscovery is the young-at-heart funster who’s still chatting up the blue-rinse biddies down at his local bingo hall. Why? Because, brace yourselves, there’s no separate battle screen, meaning all scraps will play out in real-time.
Developer Tri-Ace have a hard-earned rep as the brains behind some of the meatiest combat to be found in any RPG (check out their PS2 classic Star Ocean: Till the End of Time for definitive proof), and their latest innovation aims to focus hard on the strategic importance of terrain. So expect to have to dodge boulders, lure foes into traps and dodge tsunamis!
Perhaps Infinite Undiscovery’s biggest draw is its funky hero twist. Poking fun at traditional Japanese RPG archetypes of heroes with their androgynous features, flowing blond locks and chivalrous mentalities – you’ll actually play as a chap mistaken for a celebrated saviour. Finally, in a big ol’ fate-twisting irony, you’ll team up with said champion to save the universe – so it’s an introspective journey of self discovery. Basically, expect decisions with multiple consequences, branching storylines, multiple endings, a typically gorgeous visual aesthetic and even a spot of old fashioned romance.
What more could a JRPG fan wish for, right? With a thoroughbred team behind it and a veritable stallion of a combat engine, Infinite Undiscovery is shaping up to be that most tantalizing of dark horses. Final Fantasy XIII beware? Don’t bet against it, chums.
Aug 11, 2008