Tech News on G4
Oreshika, a spectacular journey
Apr 17, 2015
By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada
Oreshika: Tainted: Bloodlines is the epitome of why gaming on the Vita can be such a deeply rewarding experience. Bloodlines is massive time investment that fits right at home on a portable simply due to the sheer convenience of being able to dump hours into your save file, wherever, whenever.
Much like Persona 4: Golden and Rainbow Moon before it, Oreshika is a title that demands a particular level of dedication and tolerance to truly experience all that it has to offer. While it may initially sound intimidating, those who are willing to devote the appropriate amount of time to mastering this JRPG's ins and outs are in for a deeply rewarding journey.
The story in Oreshika is an odd one. An ancient Japanese village has been devastated by one natural disaster after another as of late. Without any real rhyme or reason, your clan has received the blame for said events and is immediately sentenced to death. However, with the help of some ancient deities, your clan is brought back to life with the sole purpose of exacting revenge on those who have wrongfully convicted you. But not without some major caveats of course. You and family members have only two meagre years to live and cannot reproduce. If you wish to expand your family tree, you must offer your power to the Gods before dying. In doing this, the Gods will create more kinfolk for you clan, thus continuing the curse that befalls your family's lineage.
After a beautifully stylized animated intro, the story for the most part disappears. The topic of revenge is touched upon via NPC chatter here and there, but nothing in the way of significant story development is to be seen. This was a little disappointing considering the potential the story had.
After adjusting the skills of your beginning party and picking from a wide variety of unique classes, you'll hop into you first dungeon or "labyrinth" as the game calls it. Each labyrinth functions much like you'd expect. Enemies meander about looking for a fight, while the occasional loot crate lies in wait, just begging to be plundered.
Upon making contact with labyrinth enemies, you'll be promptly whisked away onto a separate screen where a clash will go down. Oreshika follows the rules of turn-based combat pretty narrowly, but manages to add a couple of unique elements to the mix. Each opposing party your clan battles has a leader. The leader carries all the possible spoils that can be earned from each fight. These range from consumables to weapons, armour and more. The thing is, clan leaders can withdrawal from the battle at any moment, taking all goodies with them and effectively leaving you with only the XP you'd gain from slaying the remaining foes. This unique enemy behaviour added a sense of urgency to combat and made me extra vigilant during each battle. When not skulking around labyrinths, you and your clan rest at a hub town where stats and inventory can be managed.
Spending too much time in labyrinths isn't recommended, as each ten minutes of play time equals to one month off of your clan members lives. This is where the aforementioned power offering mechanic comes into play. Constantly switching out party members that die from old age is an interesting idea on paper, but ultimately feels needless. It ended up just being another thing I had to do every now and then, rather than being a worthwhile feature.
Oreshika's most egregious fault however, is its lengthy intro tutorials, which culminate in a massive information dump that lasts about one hour. All this information is relayed to the player in the form of; you got it, text boxes. Even the most die-hard JRPG fan is most likely to end up spamming the "X" button in hopes of finally getting to the meat of the game. Long start ups aren't exactly foreign in the world of RPGs, but Oreshika's makes playing its beginning portion feel like an exercise in tedium.
When all is said and done, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines is a content heavy JRPG with a level of depth that requires patience and keenness to fully enjoy. Once you get passed the long whinnied intro, a rich adventure awaits.
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines
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