Dual Tales

Reviewed on PSP

About five years ago, when I began teaching, my body could not handle the multitude of germs that children inherently collect and share. And a mere six months into my first year of subbing, I required a tonsillectomy (the removal of the tonsils) after a grueling two months of infections and ceaseless cases of strep throat. Post-surgery for a tonsillectomy requires very little movement or excitement from the patient, so before my surgery I downloaded three games on my PSP Go. Of them all, the most memorable experience was Hexyz Force.

Hexyz Force is an Atlus published turn-based RPG that centers around two heroes – Levan von Schweitzer and Cecillia Armaclite. Before the game starts, you can choose which character to follow, and their paths occasionally cross. The story follows either of the heroes as they find themselves faced with troubling predicaments. Levant, the trusted knight of his kingdom, is believed to have betrayed the prince. Essentially exiled, Levant needs to uncover the person responsible for re-igniting the war between man and beast. Cecillia’s story requires her to locate the Monoliths of Berge.Cecillia imageGameplay in Hexyz Force is a mix between classic turn-based and weapon-skill based combat. As such, Hexyz Force plays like a traditional RPG, but the usable skills are obtained from weapons (and once the weapon runs out of a skill, it is unusable until replenished or repaired). Battles consist of choosing skills to counter an enemy’s weak point, resulting in trial-and-error and memory to easily navigate scrums. Over time, the battle system can become stale, as each fight is similar in nature, but the quickness of battles eases the repetition. Boss battles, however, require some thought, and while the battle style remains the same, the actual battle feels quite different (the difficulty spikes in large amounts per boss battle). One of the final bosses I battled with Levant took nearly thirty or forty attempts and numerous hours of grinding to topple (luckily, I could not do anything else).

The Hexyz Force soundtrack is pretty solid, too. The music throughout is fairly enjoyable and compliments the experience. In fact, there are moments of soundtrack that really make a scene, especially at the beginning of the game (Levant’s story). A strong soundtrack is never a hindrance, and Hexyz Force, while not the strongest of showings, has its share of moments.

Levant imageMy biggest issues with Hexyz Force was figuring out just where to go or what to do. There’s a particular zone where you can easily get lost in the desert sand, and I must have wandered the area for more than an hour before finally figuring out where I needed to go. Normally, I’m not one to complain about little direction – I like a challenge and the feeling of accomplishment when I solve problems. But Hexyz Force often offered very little in the way of any direction at all, and had troublesome in-game ‘textual hints’ that made little logical sense (bad translation, perhaps?), so I found myself frustrated a little too often.

Yet, when I reminisce about my time with Hexyz Force – and, particularly, my time recovering from surgery – I have so many fond memories. The pain and subsequent emergency surgery I required (as my wound re-opened, potentially resulting in asphyxiation) are almost nonexistent in those memories; Ar Tonelico and Hexyz Force won my heart. Unfortunately, those looking to experience this enjoyable little tale will be disappointed to know that it is extremely expensive to own physically. On the bright side, Vita owners can purchase this game via the PlayStation Network for about $14.99. If you’re looking for a shorter, enjoyable RPG with classic mechanics and minimal flaws (and you don’t mind exploring to figure out your next destination), then this little known title is an endeavor worth pursuing.Rafael image

Hexyz Force Review
Traditional turn based combatExcellent complimentary sound trackDual stories doubles valueInteresting story progression
Battle system stales over timeUnexpected difficulty spikesLinking skills to weapons and having a set number of uses
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