Alphadia Genesis is a small JRPG, developed by Exe Create, and published by Kemco. It was released on mobile in 2013, then was released on many home consoles much later, hitting Ps4 in 2020!
The story starts off as you see Fray in a tournament of the sorts, fighting for victory. Afterwards, you return to your hometown, to be summoned by the King of the nation, and you’re asked to investigate the death of a rich nobleman by the hands of clones. What are clones? Well in this universe, obviously they’re a carbon copy of somebody, but at the same time, they’re more treated like robots. They get left in pods until their “master” wakes them and registers them. Then they do your bidding. Now this sounds like a really simple premise for a really simple story, but believe me, it’s actually a lot deeper than you would expect. Throughout your travels, you hear talks about Clones being able to live with freedom, and how some people don’t believe they should have such things, considering they were originally made to be weapons in the Energi War that happened 15 years before the event of the game. Now I really wish the game explored the Energi War a little more, because everything you hear about it really got me interested in it. There was even someone known as the “War Princess”! That’s really frickin awesome if you ask me. There were also a surprising amount of twists and turns that made me wanna play more, and more, or made me think about it all day when I never had the chance to play it. The game is only 15-25 hours long, depending if you do the side quests, or grind, but there’s so much writing, that’s so well done, that it’s kept me hooked for so long! Some points even got super dark and sad, and I actually got choked up. Which is funny cuz the game seems to stay on the comedic side with writing 95% of the time.
There is also a surprising amount of character development to the characters too. But there were two that I was super interested in. Fray, the main protagonist is the perfect gentleman, who happens to make all the right choices, and has a moral compass that’s always set to right. He never wavers or falters, until tragedy strikes, then you see his downward spiral. Then you have Walter, who is an egotistical jerk, who thinks he’s better than everyone else, and they should bow before him. But eventually you see him go through stages of self doubt, and cowardice, only to realise there’s more to life than being a tough guy. It was really nice to see his character get fleshed out. So I went from hating everything Walter does, to really feeling bad for the guy. Then you have the stereotypical cast of characters. The annoying sibling, the dad of the group, the love interest. You know them all if you’ve ever played a JRPG before! Even the antagonists have character development. Which was a bit weird to see, but also a nice change of pace.
Now if you’ve ever played a turn based JRPG before, you know how this game plays. There’s a bar that shows all of the characters, and who gets to go when, and you pick the attack or spell you want to use, then it’s the next person’s turn, and so on and so forth. Now there are two difficulty settings. Easy and Normal. Normal makes enemies hit harder, have more defense, and get rid of healing circles that usually appear just before boss fights. So I went for Easy, because I just wanted a more relaxed experience. The game starts out so easy, I was really regretting starting the game on Easy difficulty. But I was already an hour and a half in, so I said screw it, I’ll stick with it. Boy am I glad I did. The difficulty ramps up so quickly! After the first dungeon, I had a side quest to do, that took me back to it. I had to defeat a big bad monster, and this thing killed me, a lot. It took me 20 minutes of slowly pounding on it, and constantly healing, and thinking every move through, that I half enjoyed it. I just wish it didn’t take so long to kill. Then even the normal fights kept me on my toes for a good long while, until I got leveled up and unlocked more skills. Now I can breeze through fights like nothing. But that initial spike really got me. Although with this being an RPG, there are random encounters, and there are still some fights I struggle with, only because sometimes you get a giant version of an enemy. That fish you’ve been fighting? Oh now there’s a GIANT version of it, and it hits hard. So do you stay for the extra EXP, or do you run? This was an honest question I asked myself quite a few times, and it was great! So I wasn’t just turning my brain off every encounter and doing the normal motions to win. Now I will say, on the note of turning your brain off, there are microtransactions that kill the game, and I feel would ruin the experience of the game, if you bought them. As you can make it so you always get 5x EXP, or always deal 2x damage, or make it so skills don’t cost MP. Don’t ever buy these! Please!
Then you have a bit of party customization. As you have 6 characters you get throughout the journey, but only 4 can stay in battle, and the other 2 that get left out of it, actually do things. They sit in the “support role”, which depending what characters are there, give you different buffs. So all the male characters get 10% attack damage, while all the female characters get 10% magic damage. Why are the male characters physical damage dealers and the woman are magicians? Who knows! But the support role system felt like everyone in my party was doing something. Although one of my gripes is that these buffs didn’t do anything unless I used an option in battle, that emptied a support bar, that then only filled by damaging enemies. It sucked that they didn’t last forever.
But there were two characters I never really played as, because compared to the others, they just felt super weak. Even with more spells or attack damage. The way spells work in this game is interesting as well. Every character has a specific elemental affinity. Take for example Aurra, the annoying sister. She has a Light Element affinity. Light Element is used for healing and buffs, so she was a must have in my party at all times. But what if I wanted someone else to be a healer because Aurra was too weak outside of healing? Well I had to get an item, to get an Elemental ring. So I could make a Light Element ring, and give it to Fray, so then he’d start learning light magic, which in turn would give him healing so he could heal himself in the heat of battle. So this was really neat, as if you wanted, EVERYONE can learn EVERY spell in the game, but it’s just a matter of the melee characters having terrible magic damage. But it was also good to keep everyone in a spot where they were all useful, considering there are spots in the game where the group gets split up. So if you don’t use character X and Y, and never buy better equipment for them throughout the journey, you’re gonna have a bad time. Although it’s just a rule of thumb to keep everyone in an RPG viable, because you never know!
I also can’t ignore my sort of annoyance at the fact that there was a post game dungeon. But only because after you clear the game, you then get told to reload your save, because there is another ending path. So you have to refight the last boss, and then you have a dialogue choice. I didn’t know it was just gonna pop up instantly, so I ended up mashing X through the option. Luckily it was defaulted on the true ending route. So this added another 2 hours onto the game, but it was also a better ending than the normal ending. Luckily this dungeon also never dragged on like the last dungeon of the normal ending!
The graphics in this game make me feel like a kid again. Somehow Exe Create has a way of making these games pull at the perfect nostalgia cord, in terms of how games used to look. So everything looks 16-Bit, and just oozes of old school. Unfortunately outside of that though, the graphics aren’t great. Your characters equipment never changes, the skills don’t look amazing, and the areas kind of look like a copy of paste of one another. Speaking of the skills though, there is skill that is said to create a wave of fire, that engulfs enemies in its wake. I was expecting a literal tidal wave of fire to come ripping through the battle screen. I was so excited. Instead I get met with measly explosions that don’t look at that great to be honest. Then the music is all the same chip tunes. You don’t get that dark pitter patter cave music when you’re in one. Or a creepy dilapidated tower. Heck when things get hectic, you get met with the battle tune. Or there’s a really emotional scene? Chances are you’ll hear the battle tune that gets your blood pumping, as opposed to music that takes a baseball bat and hits you right in the feels. There were a few occasions where there was, but not often enough.
Now because it’s an RPG, it’s hard to say these have replay value. But there is some side content to do! There are some side quests you can seek out after doing story beats, that usually ask you to go back to the story dungeon and fight a new boss monster. This was great for me, as I got to make sure I had every corner explored in it, before I never visited it again. Then there’s a few side quests that have you seeking out random monster drops and these are awful. I spent an hour and a half one night just to get 4 items from a monster! The drop rate was horrendous! Now should I have just left it? Yea maybe. But at the same time, the side quests felt rewarding to do. That’s for one simple reason. They usually have you stat boosting items! So you could increase your STR stat on your favourite damage dealer by say 15, and make them more brutal in battle! Then you have the Colosseum fights! Every RPG needs a Colosseum! Most games with arena stuff outstay their welcome so fast, but it was a nice change of pace in this. There are 12 challenges in all, and each one consists of 4 battles each. The battles didn’t take long to get through, and as you do them, you get arena coins. These can be exchanged for awesome items or equipment that can be super useful to you, IF you get them throughout the game. If you saved it for the end game, you’re going to feel disappointed at the rewards you can receive afterwards.
If you feel like you’re in need of a good, old-school RPG, I can’t recommend this game enough. Sure the design choices for spells are awful, and the music isn’t the best, but the story makes up for all the faults. At least in my opinion. Yes there are some bad microtransactions, but you can easily just ignore those and still have a great time. Exe Create knocked it out of the park, with a nice RPG that doesn’t overstay its welcome, and I hope that one day we get to see Alphadia Genesis 2 come to consoles. Or I’ll have to buy it on mobile and never play it!