Vengeful Rites has issues, but its Zelda-like structure will appeal to virtual reality adventurers. Here is our review of Vengeful Rites!
Most modern role-playing games tend to act like a helicopter parent, constantly reminding you of your next goal, pointing out savings points, and marking routes on your map. Vengeful Rites dodges this approach and, after the tutorial section, kicks you out the door to go exploring the world at your own pace.
Deep Dive Interactive has returned to the past to be inspired by its action-adventure RPG, creating an experience reminiscent of titles like the first Legend of Zelda games. This nostalgic feeling extends to the graphic style, which uses a bright, colorful palette and simplified cartoon-style art and animation.
As expected, Vengeful Rites takes the time to explain the basic mechanics before you start your adventure. The player takes on the role of an apprentice in a kind of magical order, with a disembodied voice that will guide you as you adapt to the controls and systems.
Swordplay is the main way to attack and it feels very satisfying. The game uses a system of attacks, stops, and blocks, with enemies telegraphing their attacks to allow the player to respond with the correct block or stop. Some basic knowledge of fencing or sword games is very useful, as standard stopping positions are very useful. Rapid and strong changes are recommended, but weak flaking will only give a glance that does little damage. Unfortunately, the game only recognizes sword swings, so any instinct to use a push will not be rewarded.
Thankfully, there’s even a left-handed mode for fucking. There is also a bow, similar to the sword, which requires something akin to real archery skills to accurately hit a target. Stocks of arrows are limited, although it is advisable to take time to aim and choose targets carefully. This is especially true, as many enemies are surprisingly smart, so it’s a good idea to have a moment to devise a proper strategy.
The magic system has an impressive depth. A medallion is visible on the back of the player’s hand, which is used as a magic spotlight. In relation to left-handed users, any hand that does not hold the sword can be used for this purpose. There are four schools of magic; Defensive, Destruction, Restoration and Kinetics. Start with some basic spells, which can be updated and new spells added as you travel and make new discoveries. Spells are activated using gesture controls, which consist of selecting the magic school you want and then making the right gesture to cast it, such as turning a key gesture to use a magic shield.
This can take a few times to do well, and annoyingly, sometimes gestures don’t activate the spell, especially when playing in left-handed mode. Most types of magic consume mana, which is slowly restored over time or can be replenished with mana crystals. An exception to this is kinetic magic, which does not consume mana and can be used to move objects, which is very useful for solving puzzles and removing obstacles.
When you finally get out into the wider world, it’s usually done well. Despite the simplistic graphic style, everything is meshed and feels part of a coherent world. The movement is performed by default soft locomotion, but the frame rate is generally kept constant, unless there is a lot of action at once, in which case it starts to stutter a bit. One of the places where the brand fails is the emptiness that the world feels.
Aside from monsters and other enemies, there is little that gives the world a sense of life. Villages and other settlements feel naked and there are only shopkeepers who greet you. A few more splashed NPCs — or some birds, sheep, and chickens — would make it feel a lot more like a real place.
The feeling of emptiness extends to the sound. The music is minimal and a bit generic, and the sound levels are inconsistent, with some sounds, such as the river running near the exit area, being unnaturally loud, while others feel too quiet. The voice acting is also a bit right. The narrator’s voice guiding you through the tutorial is competent, but some other characters seem to try too hard and the sound quality is variable.
Villain Dragore, for example, has a very muted sound quality that sounds like you’re using a poor quality microphone. It’s not unexpected for a small business that would probably have to record voice over remotely, but it’s an aspect that could be improved in some way in a professional recording studio.
Vengeful Rites has a light touch to the story, which uses a standard plot hook to “avenge your Master” as a starting point, but otherwise lets the player choose their own path and make their own history and adventure. This is where the real meat of the game lies, in exploration. There are many secrets hidden around the world and finding them is one of the great joys of the game. The Excessive World isn’t as expansive as, say, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, or Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but it still has enough content in its four chapters for about 15 hours of gameplay, especially if you like to search all corners and cranny for hidden secrets.
Revision of vengeful rhythms: final impressions
Vengeful Rites isn’t a perfect game, but it’s a solid, engaging action-adventure RPG that’s ideal for those who enjoy combat, exploration, and puzzle solving. Despite the lack of a deep narrative, there is plenty of room for players to create their own story as they travel through the landscape.
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