As we play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time.
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God is a geek
So if Disgaea, Izuna and Shiren The Wanderer had a lovechild, The Guided Fate Paradox would be the result; a bizarro mash-up of the most rewarding roguelike roleplaying experience, with a quirky and entertaining storyline and some beautiful anime cutscenes to boot.
From the onset, The Guided Fate Paradox throws you into the most freaky situations and expects you to just roll along with it. See, the game begins with ordinary looking high-school boy Renya Kagurazaka suddenly winning the opportunity to become God, after a chance encounter with an angel and a lottery machine. Sound weird yet? Go figure. Well, there is no choice whether or not you take this once in a lifetime offer, and so Renya becomes God and thus enters a crazy saga full of the most curious assemblage of angels and demons one will ever come across. It is at this moment that we discover that Renya is the typical dorky anime schoolboy hero; he’s quite the introvert, scared off by the opposite gender, and possesses the need to appease simply everyone. Basically, he’s just the epitome of average. So when his life goes from having no purpose to being the answer to every mortal’s prayers, well, you can imagine it’s going to get a little bit crazy.
God. Prayers. Angels. Demons. As religiously laid out as the story sounds, The Guided Fate Paradox manages to avoid being the slightest bit preachy. While it has angels and devils, and does happen to delve deeper into the idea that the role of these characters to us mere mortals is to serve us and so forth, it becomes apparent very early into the game that this is not what the game is setting us up for. A mysterious talk regarding your character’s failure, and a constant reference to ‘them’ goes to show that there is more to this storyline than meets the eye. Whatever you’re expecting from this game, it takes every expectation you have and makes sure to ramp up the crazy. To that effect, the narrative manages to be so incredibly off-the-wall that ‘pervy’ could very well be an understatement. Since you’re surrounded by a bunch of adoring females, the tone of the game can get a little uncomfortable in places, especially since some of these women are horrifically predatory. Embarrassing situations are afoot here, as the script can jump to situations where the most innocent of girls are delivering the most painstakingly obvious innuendos, leaving Renya in a flustering mess. Ouch.
Your first act as God though, believe it or not, is to jump into the world of fairytale fiction, and save our princess Cinderella from her own misery and answer her prayers by attempting to alter the ending of her famous tale. An interesting set-up without question, but The Guided Fate Paradox holds nothing back short of silly, as the game’s idea of weird and wonderful doesn’t stop there.
Yes, it is silly, yet in many ways charming too, if you can overlook the occasional sexist digs throughout the plot. However, the game’s main disappointment falls mainly upon what should be its greater strength; the dungeon-crawling.
Aberrations out the Wazoo
As God, it is in His power to affect a ‘copy world’ to influence any outcome that may occur in the ‘original world’. In this ‘Copy World’ we begin to unravel the story behind the characters who have asked for God to answer their wishes, which in part is demonstrated mainly by cutscenes. Is it a visual novel or a dungeon crawler? Who knows, because both the story and dungeon crawling feel majorly disjointed from one another. In this copy world, we must fight aberrations (the bad guys that represent the real world trying to fight back against it’s change). The dungeon scenes unfortunately scream the word dysfunctional, and feel disjointed from the main story. This might well be because of the fact that they look very unlike to the story scenes, or it might be because of the way the game is structured to flip between cutscene to dungeon. Sadly, it just feels as though there’s something missing. That’s not to say it isn’t fun in some way or another. Moving your way around an isometric map, players must keep their focus on health, energy and magic whilst engaging in battle with foes in a fundamental turn-based combat system. You can pick enemies and objects up and throw them, in a fashion not dissimilar from Disgaea. When death comes, it is very forgiving, as any time you fail in your quest, you may lose your equipment and items (minus half your cash stash) but you manage to retain the levels you originally gained throughout the crawl. Phew. Though there can be times when the game seems like a bit of a grind, preparing well before battle bodes well in these cases, so keep an eye on your vitals before entering the battlefield.
The words Japanese visual comedy speak volumes here. The Guided Fate Paradox may well be a dungeon crawler, but for 70% of the time gameplay manages to take a significant back-seat. At times, the story-scenes can feel a little on the lengthy side, but the narrative’s quirky entertaining touch manages to keep things light. Sadly, the intrusive narrative holds the game back something fierce. Though The Guided Fate Paradox is a game with a great concept and a whole lot to give, it fails to succeed where others have thrived.
Overall, a game worth investing the time into, if at least for the entertaining story, but don’t be surprised if it takes a little time to get used to the sometimes outlandish narrative.