33 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 44.9 hrs on record
Posted: Oct 6, 2018 @ 12:18pm
Updated: Oct 6, 2018 @ 12:56pm

I could never get into the MMORPG genre. I didn't get far in the first MMO I tried, dropping it before it supposedly gets good, which probably wasn't helped by me being an asocial git, and getting XP by myself got old fast. Luckily, there is a way to experience the thrill of MMORPGs in a single-player RPG - CrossCode!

You play as Lea, amnesiac girl who undergoes a rather unusual "therapy", playing a VR MMO that she liked before losing her memories. The in-universe MMO, CrossWorlds, has some lore you can bite your teeth into, but for the most part it just serves as a backdrop for gameplay, Lea's interactions with other players, and the proper game's story. Honestly, I feel the plot is one of CrossCode's stronger points, which is in part thanks to really endearing characters; the almost-mute protagonist manages to have way more personality than many chatty heroes from other games, and the party members are no slouches either. (Emilie best girl) Solid twists, comedy scenes, serious moments, the game has it all. The only thing worth complaining about I can think of is that the good ending is currently rather bare-bones. Supposedly it's going to be remedied by post-game content that's going to released later, but right now it kind of just makes you thirsty for more.

The devs cite Legend of Zelda as one of their inspirations, mostly for the way dungeons work. I don't know if it was intended, but I feel some 2D Ys vibes from it too, mostly when it comes to combat, though it's definitely distinct from both of those and I have no idea what game would be the closest analogue. Lea can fight in melee, but she also relies a lot on ranged attacks, which together with her high mobility and additional unlockable skills make the combat system both deep and very fast paced at the same time. Some of these abilities are unlocked as you progress through the story, but you also have a skill grid that lets you pick various combinations of traits; if I remember correctly, Final Fantasy X had a similar leveling system.

Graphics really speak for themselves. They're stylized to resemble a game from late 16-bit era, and if it wasn't for certain effects that the old consoles couldn't handle, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Nintendo should have put it on SNES Mini. Pretty pixel-art aside, what really blows my mind is that the game runs on HTML5. I am not kidding, you can even play the demo in the browser. Truly a technological curiosity, but the game has two technical problems, one minor and one major. The minor issue is that if you're playing in fullscreen in aspect ratio other than 16:9 or weirdly stretched window, the Steam overlay will have problems: https://i.imgur.com/4rmJutY.jpg Nothing gamebreaking, but it's annoying when you're someone who loves making many screenshots. The big one, though, is the performance. The game doesn't look taxing, and it usually isn't, but I experienced some memory leaks here and there, which tank the framerate hard, especially annoying if it happens during an important cutscene. I don't know how much of it is on my side, because I've seen threads of people with the same problem, but it doesn't appear to be universal, so maybe for you it will be buttery smooth 100% of the time.

This game feels seriously overlooked, maybe because it was in Early Access for a long time and people kind of forgot about it. It definitely deserves way more attention, and is a must have for fans of action RPGs.
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