"The Sacred Tears TRUE" is a fantasy role playing game where you take the role of two thieves named Seil and Seana. This game starts off with Seil and Seana robbing a museum and taking a valuable jewel, sadly they set off an alarm and guards go after them. Seil and Seana battle their way out of the museum and trick the guards by throwing away a fake gem to make the guards think that they have given up and returned the jewel. Sadly it turns out that Seil threw the real jewel instead of the fake one and thus they couldn't collect their pay for that mission. Seil and Seana really needed the cash too as they can barely afford to buy food. While on a trip to look at some gear they get called up to see their boss at the thieves guild. Their boss isn't happy at them for messing up the mission but ultimately ends up forgiving them. Not too long after their meeting they hear a true story of a rare item called a "Sacred Tear" and how it is sealed deep in a museum. Now Seil is interested in breaking in and stealing this item so that him and Seana can become rich. Before they can go and steal the tear they notice something rotten is going on with the guild and a mysterious group and so they need to put a stop to that first. Will they succeed? (Click "Read More" to read the full review).
The story in this game is decent although you can tell that this was written by somebody from the indie scene so it has a certain roughness to it that has a warm homemade feeling. While rough I did find myself enjoying it and getting deep into the characters due to the story creating some great immersion. Not all of the story was great as there were some point in the story that was a bit weak and could've been handled a bit better although it's nothing that'll turn you off the game.
The story progression in this game works a lot differently than a lot of other RPGs as this story is told via levels that can run for around between ten and forty minutes long. This is a very hard thing to picture as it's a very unorthodox method as far as RPGs go and the best game I can compare this to give you a clearer picture is the game "Super Paper Mario (2007)". This method works pretty well as the levels are very entertaining and fun to play. This level system also makes up for the fact that there isn't much to explore in this game as all you have is the town and some places that surround the town, so this episodic method gives you an illusion that there is much more to explore in this game, in a good way. There's two groups of levels with one being for the main story and another section full of side missions. If you want to explore the world outside of the stages do not fear as there is an option that lets you travel the world in a "Freeplay" mode.
The battle system in this game uses a weird hybrid of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" and a trading card game. You get cards to battle with that either has a picture of a sword, a shield, or magic on it. It's not as simple as that though as your opponent also battles with cards and so you must pick the right card to counter your opponent's cards. Each card also has a number on them and the higher number you got, the better chance you have of beating your opponent's cards. The battle system does take a little time getting used to but once you get the hang of it you'll find it to be fun.
The item system in this game also takes some getting used to but it's not hard to do and the thing I like is that there's only a basic selection of items and they are all used during battle. The items range from: healing, reviving your dead body in battle, and even stuff like items that will make you invincible for a short amount of time. The way you can get these items is by finding them, buying them, or finding items that will help you craft them at the local alchemist shop. The hardest thing about the items is the alchemy element as you do not know what items you'll need to craft an item until you just happen to have the items you need. Make sure you note down what items you need as well as it can be tricky remembering them. I recommend you just buy the items you need but it can be a bit pricey in terms of in game currency but it's totally worth it.
Controls in this game are very simple as you use the arrow keys to move around and the "Z" and "X" buttons are used to bring up the menus and also used for the "accept" and "cancel" options. "Spacebar" is used to make your character run on the screen and do not confuse the "Dash" bar that's on the screen for how much you can run as that doesn't effect how much you can run. The "Dash" bar is actually used to determine how much health you have in battle as HP is treated as stamina rather than the typical health you are used to. That might sound very frustrating to use and it can be during certain points of the game but you won't find yourself using the "Dash" to the point where one hit could kill you, at worst you'll have a quarter of your health left which is enough to make a recovery very easily.
I like the leveling system in this game as it resembles a system found in the classic tabletop role-playing games like "Dungeons & Dragons (1974)" and "Riffs (1990)". The way it works is that you do not have numbered levels but rather after you have defeated a bunch of monsters you get a stat/point to add to your stats. This system gives me that warm feeling of adding to a character sheet as you can choose which stat you want to level up and gives you some freedom with the characters.
Difficulty in this game is very balanced and can be beaten by anyone and thus makes for a good RPG to introduce players with lack of experience to this genre. Veteran RPG players will find this game to be a piece of cake and fly through this in a few days and will help calm down the player after playing a super duper hard RPG. Downside is that the veteran RPG players might find this game to be very minimal for them and might not enjoy this as much as RPG beginners. There's some grinding in this game but surprisingly there's very, very, veeerrryyy little of it and the only time you will need to grind is right before boss battles but you'll only need to gain a few stats and it'll take fifteen minutes at most.
The graphics in this game have a 16-bit (maybe 32-bit) two dimensional look and looks just like something you'd see on "Super Nintendo" or on the "Sony PlayStation". This game purposely has a pixilated look similar to watching a very compressed video but rather than looking messy like a heavily compressed video, you'll see that it adds charm that will give you even more of a nostalgic feeling. This game was used with the "RPG Maker 2000 (2000)" game engine and if you played any games made with RPG Maker you'd notice that you'll see similar looking graphics and designs in a lot of them. Great news! This game uses completely original graphics, designs, and music and it was very nice seeing a game that used this engine with content made from the ground up.
Character designs aren't anything special as they do look like generic characters seen in many other RPGs but you'll oddly like them for that reason as while generic they are very charming and fun. The character designs also help you get into the mood of the game and you'll become immersed in the world of this game. Animation in this game is basic but I didn't see anything wrong with it as it was all consistent with no choppy animation. This game does have some animated cut-scenes and they were awesome as it felt like that I was watching an animated series on television. My only problem with the animated cut-scenes was with the pixelated look as it made some of the text seen in the cut-scenes look a little blurry and hard to read.
Music in this game is really good and gives you a nice calm feeling that will help make your experience more relaxed. If you are wondering that the music in this game uses a 16-bit style to match up with the 16-bit look, it doesn't as it uses a hybrid sound that uses symphonic and electronic that sounds like something found on 32-bit systems. The music is another reason why this game reminds me of something you'd see on the Sony PlayStation as it's a more modern sound mixed in with graphics from the past and I really enjoyed that as it blended together well.
Overall this is a pretty solid RPG that will keep you hooked from start to finish. Not to repeat myself but this is a good place to start if you are looking into getting into the RPG genre. Basic but solid.
Game: The Sacred Tears TRUE
Publisher: Nyu Media
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG
Price: $9.99 (Steam)