Update: 'Evolution' RPG Review

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Update: 'Evolution' RPG Review

Post by Green Ranger » Sun Jan 01, 2006 12:01 pm

Happy New Year Everyone! I feel that the Dreamcast Forum could always use more reviews for those thinking of purchasing particular titles. I thought I'd start it off by presenting a Critical Review on The Sega Dreamcast RPG "Evolution":

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Mag launcher, an adventurer, must pay the family debt to "The Society" by engaging in treasure hunts throughout various dungeon locations. He is accompanied by his female friend Linear, whose secret will unfold an adventure all on its own.

Evolution is designed by Sting (not the singer, the game company) and published by Ubisoft. This is a full 3d rpg, featuring the top down view. The camera rotates a full 360 degrees, granting the player the ability to decide on his own viewing angle during gameplay. Being the first RPG released for the dreamcast, this game could have built itself a good reputation, but there are too many flaws blocking it's path.

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Graphics (5 out of 10): Graphically, Evolution is average. On the plus side the character models are lively and visually appealing, giving off an anime feel. Their personalities are likable, and they even express facial emotions when engaged in conversation. The game's environments however, are a different story. There appears to be only one town, and it is quite bare. Nothing is brightly colored to attract your attention. The palette seems washed out, limited and rather bland. Going inside the town's houses will bring you no difference because the interiors are also bare, exposing you to nothing more but a few scattered furniture pieces.

As for the game's dungeons, they are seriously lacking. While it is pleasing to know that the rooms are randomly generated, they look almost identical to the room you were in before. The main setup of a dungeon deals with giving the player long corridors to walk through, with the ocassional empty lot containing scattered enemies and items. They are no puzzles to solve, getting to the top floor is the only objective. Dungeons are also time consuming, as the game will bombard with you
numerous floors before reaching the final boss. Fortunately the game offers you a save point once you leave a floor, most likely because the game itself knows how long you will be inside the dungeon.

It really does seem as if the game developers were rushed into making the game's scenery, because it leaves a lot to be desired. For those who adore eye candy, you will be bored rather quickly by the game's limited visuals.

Controls and Gameplay (5 out of 10): The analog stick can be used to move the character around, offering a level of freedom that is unavailable with the directional pad. The controls are quite responsive, which is a plus. You can jump, walk and run in this game. The jump feature however, unless used in a specific dungeon, serves very little purpose otherwise.

Storywise, the game progresses at a moderately slow pace, which can be a turn off for some. Your objective is as follows: Mag goes into town, receives a mission from The Society, and is off to a dungeon. That's it, then the cycle is repeated. You are however usually rewarded with a cutscene after the completion of a dungeon. For those who enoy sidequests in their RPG, they seem none-existent here. The only objective apparently, is to complete the game's dungeons so you can pay off The Society.

The saving grace for this game is perhaps the battle system, a turn based system which offers the player a turn based on a particular monster that is killed. This system also provides a "move" feature, in which three diagonal squares are offered to each character. Depending on the square you move your character to, his defense and offense are affected. The top square offers the best attack advantage but a lower defnese. The bottom square offers the best defense with the lowest offense ability, and the middle square is neutral. This offers quite a bit of strategy, giving you the freedom of how to fight.

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Another positive note to add is that there are no random battles. Enemies are clearly visible, thus giving the player the choice to interact with them or not. If the player runs into an enemy from behind, "initiative" is received, which is a distinct advantage in the battle mode, offering the player multiple turns to attack before the enemy has a chance to retaliate. The monster designs are nothing special however, most of them resembling modern animals that we see in our everyday lives. Additionally, if a game company's objective is to encourage more girl gamers into playing their products, it is an exceptionally bad idea having the main female character's weapon be nothing more than a frying pan. This is perhaps the worst weapon even given to an RPG character. Sure she upgrades it later...to an even more devastating frying pan! To some this sends a negative message, insisting that a woman's place is in the kitchen. Smooth move Sting. :wink:

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Sound (5 out of 10): The game's soundtrack is lacking. While some melodies are catchy, they are also very short and sound similar to each other. The songs can get annoying during dungeon exploration because of their repetitous nature. There is no voice acting in this game, except for the ocassional japanese phrases during battle when a particular move is done. Even the game's sound effects used in the game are forgettable, for they do nothing to enhance the gaming experience.


Summary:

On the plus side:
+ Likable and Entertaining Characters
+ No Random Battles
+ Adjustable camera angles
+ Decent battle system
+ Save feature implemented after each dungeon floor is completed
+ Responsive controls

On the negative side:
-Bland, boring and limited environments
-Little variety in monster design
-Slow story pace
-Repetitous music
-Repetitous dungeon design with too many floors for each
-No side quests

Ultimately, Evolution is a very average RPG with a low fun factor. While the characters, the adjustable camera, and the battle system are commendable, the dungeons will keep you occupied throughout most of the game, and since the dungeons are poorly designed, you will find himself unmotivated to play. With Evoultion's other flaws to consider, unless you want to test your patience, it is recommended that you look elsewhere for an RPG experience.

Overall Game Score: 5 out of 10

Feel free to comment on this review. Hopefully this will help those inquiring about the game.


Images taken from various Internet sites. Review written by Green Ranger.
Last edited by Green Ranger on Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:01 am, edited 13 times in total.
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Post by GyroVorbis » Sun Jan 01, 2006 12:34 pm

Whoah, nice review. I guess I'll go with either Grandia II or Skies of Arcadia as my first DC RPG when I get enough money...
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Post by c99koder » Sun Jan 01, 2006 3:28 pm

Skies of Arcadia is AMAZING. I have Grandia II and Evolution, but I haven't gotten around to playing them yet.

Def. play SoA on the DC, not the NGC. They screwed up the music and some of the visual effects on the GC version, and the "extra" features don't really make up for it. I originally played it on DC, and my friend bought the GC version and I gave it a try, and I cringe every time the battle theme starts to play on the GC.

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Post by Quzar » Sun Jan 01, 2006 8:26 pm

A suggestion for Evolution, play Evolution 2 first. Evolution 2 is the same game mechanics and world, but done better and with a much better story. After playing Evolution 2 I enjoyed the world and systems enough to make Evolution more bearable.
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Post by Hashmire420 » Sun Jan 01, 2006 10:50 pm

c99koder wrote:Skies of Arcadia is AMAZING. I have Grandia II and Evolution, but I haven't gotten around to playing them yet.

Def. play SoA on the DC, not the NGC. They screwed up the music and some of the visual effects on the GC version, and the "extra" features don't really make up for it. I originally played it on DC, and my friend bought the GC version and I gave it a try, and I cringe every time the battle theme starts to play on the GC.

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agreed, I bought the dreamcast one, beat it in like a week, bought the gamecube one, and wanted to get 100%. Im still following a walkthrough, and absolutely hate the music, graphics are slightly nicer when in bigger towns though.
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Post by Akarik » Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:04 pm

I haven't played the Dreamcast version of SoA, so I can't personally compare them, but I heard that the loading times as well as the random battle encounter rate are less in the gamecube version.

Is there any difference between the Dreamcast and Gamecube versions of Evolution? I haven't played either since, like your review states, they both look pretty mediocre.
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Post by Green Ranger » Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:02 am

Akarik wrote:Is there any difference between the Dreamcast and Gamecube versions of Evolution? I haven't played either since, like your review states, they both look pretty mediocre.
The Gamecube Release is known as Evolution Worlds, which is a combination of Evolution 1 and 2 into one game. I have not played the Gamecube version but from what I've read, nothing has been dramatically enhanced to differ itself from the Dreamcast versions except for the voice acting.
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Post by Lartrak » Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:52 pm

c99koder wrote:Skies of Arcadia is AMAZING. I have Grandia II and Evolution, but I haven't gotten around to playing them yet.

Def. play SoA on the DC, not the NGC. They screwed up the music and some of the visual effects on the GC version, and the "extra" features don't really make up for it. I originally played it on DC, and my friend bought the GC version and I gave it a try, and I cringe every time the battle theme starts to play on the GC.

-Sam
On the other hand, the GC version reportedly has far fewer random battles.. They've been cut in half, something like that. That alone made me consider it, since I got halfway through the DC version before getting very tired of the constant battles which take forever due to the flashiness and load times.
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Post by GyroVorbis » Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:26 pm

You also have to consider the GC doesn't have VGA. If the DC version supports VGA, I'd rather buy that any day over the GC version. It'll be far sexier on VGA than it would be with a few extra polys, methinks.

Also far cheaper...
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Post by Cid Highwind » Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:16 am

Skies of Arcadia is one of those games where I didn't care about seeing blocky characters, just like in FF7 I was able to see it as part of the style in which they made the game.

Nice review about Evolution btw, I think I don't miss out on much. If there's one thing I hate more than random encounters it's bad random dungeons :P
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Post by HomerCIDAL » Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:35 am

Both SoA and Grandia II are great games on the Dreamcast that shouldn't be overlooked. You can probably find Grandia II for a relatively inexpensive price but might have to look a little harder for SoA. Besides, it's not like there are many other DC titles hitting the shelves these days, so you should have a little time to play both.
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Post by Green Ranger » Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:08 am

UPDATE TO REVIEW: Added pics and added new content to review. Should make for a better read now! :D
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Post by HomerCIDAL » Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:59 am

Maybe the moderators could make a reviews section for the boards. Hell, maybe they could have an entire review crew responsible for offering their opinions on all the games for the system.
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Post by Cid Highwind » Sat Jan 14, 2006 9:59 am

Sounds like a nice idea, there are plenty of members able to write good reviews. And as most members have played the game as well, comments can be added to give members new to DC games a good impression about the games.
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Post by Tall Israeli » Sat Jan 14, 2006 1:28 pm

You forgot one plus:
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Post by Christuserloeser » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:10 am

HomerCIDAL wrote:Maybe the moderators could make a reviews section for the boards. Hell, maybe they could have an entire review crew responsible for offering their opinions on all the games for the system.
Dreamcast-Scene.com got a great WIKI where everyone could submit articles, reviews and tutorials. :wink:

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