Septerra Core Retro Review Info Bar

There’s an ancient prophecy, of course. This one says that, every hundred years, the seven bits of floating continental stuff that make up the world of Septerra will come apart, exposing some kind of biocomputer at its core. The prophecy also says that if some guy has these two fancy key things, he can use them to claim great and terrible power of some sort. Apparently this is called the Legacy of the Creator. Now, about a thousand years ago, this demon named Gemma tried doing all this, but the gods intervened by dispatching Marduk, who had a massive brawl with Gemma and won. Then some other stuff happened, although that’s all a bit convoluted, but then, this is a game that spells possessive “its” with an apostrophe and uses “your” for “you’re”, so getting a coherent mythology together probably wasn’t really part of the design brief.

I don't know what's actually going on anymore, either.

I don't know what's actually going on anymore, either.

Anyway, you’re this kid Maya, a junker on World Shell 2. She spends most of her time collecting trash chucked off World Shell 1 and having blue hair. Until she’s all tangled up in a dastardly plot, obviously. Standard cookie cutter Japanese RPG drivel, really, right down to the allegedly adorable but actually really drab and uninspired robot sidekick who’s nothing much more than a cheap damage soak. You can swap him out later in the game, but all the other characters are rather drab and uninspired too.

This guy wouldn't even wait around for a combat sequence to die. He got himself killed during a cutscene instead. That's how bad the combat is.

This guy wouldn't even wait around for a combat sequence to die. He got himself killed during a cutscene instead. That's how bad the combat is.

Septerra Core is also a relentlessly linear

game. It’s so linear, in fact, that the developers dispensed almost entirely with any of the character customisation you’d usually expect in an RPG. When characters level up in this game, they’re just automatically assigned a couple of new stats. It neatly excises some of the otherwise unavoidable RPG “DO I CHOOSE LIGHTNING OR ICE POWERS OMG I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO CHOOSE” bloat, sure, but it also means character progression is about as absorbing as single-ply toilet paper. Presumably this was to maintain focus on the story, but the story’s rubbish. So’s the voice acting.

Not as rubbish as the combat system, however. This is just about the most dreary, tedious, and awful combat in any game ever. It’s an active time system comparable to the Penny Arcade Adventures games, or even Chrono Trigger, except it completely lacks whatever it was that made those systems work. Like succinct action animations, combo manoeuvres, style, and ingenuity. Instead, you just wait around a lot with no option to change turn speed, skip through clumsy animations, or even quit the game.

As a very obviously console-styled RPG, this might’ve been a cool game a decade ago, but now it’s only just barely tolerable. Mostly, it’s boring.

Septerra Core Bottom Line

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