Review: Artifact Adventure Gaiden

Exploration is handled via an overworld with towns and dungeons scattered throughout the lands.  At any point, players can fast travel back to any discovered town, but require the explorer’s ability to fast travel to dungeons and caves.  Unlike the RPGs that this game draws inspiration from there are no random monster encounters, players will either see shadows spawn which they can try to attack or whirlpools will spawn which when attacked will have players fight multiple waves of monsters.  In dungeons, players will find spider webs which can be attacked to fight a wave of monsters or can be burned to give a smaller amount of experience.  Webs come in two variants light webs and dark webs.  Dark webs typically have more difficult monsters and require two kindling to burn, whereas light webs only require one.

 

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Equipment menu, the panel to the right shows the stats of each highlighted item.

 

Similar to Zelda 2 Link’s Adventure combat stages are 2D stages with a top-down overworld.  Damage is dealt by running into enemies weapon first, the player will take damage when monsters come into contact with their sprite.  Dealing damage with a weapon will also refund a small amount of health to the player.  Players can also bind up to three skills to be used in combat, these vary from throwing daggers to calling down a dragon to breathe fire on enemies.  The biggest flaw in the combat starts to show itself later on in the game, toward the endgame combat stages become packed with enemies some of which have large hitboxes which are difficult to avoid.  Some attacks are also very flashy which make it hard to tell where you are relative to the enemies.  The unique thing about combat is that death will not lead to a game over in most circumstances.  You will pop back into the overworld with one HP and can use potions to heal or immediately rush into combat again and try to fight your way back to full health.

Player customization is handled fairly well, each weapon and armor has it’s own sprites which display from the menu, the overworld and the combat stages.  Weapons vary from polearms and heavy axes to rapiers and daggers.  There are even two types of off-hand items shields which allow for more of a warrior style run or orbs which better suit a mage oriented run.  On top of being able to equip three combat abilities as previously mentioned, players can also equip three passive abilities.  These abilities come in the form of artifacts which you receive from quests or find exploring, granting powers such as increased movement speed, increased item find or augmenting attack abilities like fire or lightning.  With the different weapons, armors and artifacts it becomes easy to make each run unique.

 

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Skill menu, you may have up to three active skill and three passive skills.
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