A nice RPG Maker game with a lot of interesting mechanics that are hindered by the grind and high encounter rate.
Release date: 5 Feb, 2021
Nemesis – RPG tells of a unique story. Instead of presenting you with a purpose at the beginning of the game, it tries to reveal its plot little by little until everything is connected. It allows you to create a party of 4 from 7 playable party members, where each party member has a different fighting style in battle.
Character portraits are what enticed me from the start. They are of the same quality as visual novels, with handsome-looking men in anime style as their main lineup. However, the blurry nature of the portraits makes it hard to enjoy them to their fullest. I suppose it has something to do with my screen resolution (1920 x 1080) and the small, default RPG Maker screen though. Leaving that aside, the game does a good job in its mapping. All areas are unique, focusing on a different feature of each region.
Before I start talking about the story, I would like to say that I probably missed some parts of it. Some dialogues were not translated in the English version (they should be fixed as of now) and I didn’t bother to open Google Translate to make sense of what was happening. Some dialogues are also in need of proofreading due to their wording. I had to reread some dialogues a lot of times to find out their meaning and there were times when I didn’t understand what was being told even after that.
Aside from the wording, the story is well thought. The game starts its story by giving some information that won’t make sense at the beginning. More information will be revealed as you progress, giving you more objective to go through. It wasn’t until the end of the game that everything clicked, and you’ll have to remember the story from the beginning again to enjoy the story to its fullest. However, the conclusion feels weak with it focusing on the revelation as a whole while forgetting about everything that you went through.
The game has a lot of features. You can farm materials from enemies to craft gears, which you can use for your party members to get stronger. It also lets you build the party that you want by introducing 7 party members to choose from. Each party member has a unique role in the party, and each attacker works differently from the other. They also can learn new skills if you keep on using their skills several times. It’s a nice addition to keep you invested.
It can be hard to get through the beginning of the game. Not because you have to learn how everything works, but due to the difficulty. I had to recover my health at home after every battle in the first area because I’ll die in the next battle if I keep going. It wasn’t until I leveled up and crafted some gears before I could advance the story. I thought that was all the grind that I had to do, but it happened a couple of times in the game. I even had to grind for 4h+ before I could defeat the strongest bosses which are essential to finish the game. I know that part of it might be because I chose to play in the hardest difficulty, but being forced to grind just to get strong enough to progress isn’t fun.
Enemies are varied. You can use the Analysis skill to figure out their weakness and resistances, allowing you to plan a strategy to defeat them. Some enemies come in groups of 3, which can wipe your party if you’re not careful. Harder enemies usually drop good materials, although they will also be harder to beat. You need to learn when to run away from the fights or continue fighting.
Running away takes time. You need to wait for all of your party members’ ATB bar, which also translates to the time your party member is going to have their turn, to be full while risking getting hit by the enemies in the process. The encounter rate is also very high – you can even get into another fight after walking one step from the previous one. This makes it hard to explore the area fully, especially in one area where enemies can softlock you with their skills. Note that the developer already patched this by adding an item that can reduce the encounter rate, but since you need to start a new game to get it, I wasn’t able to test it.
Bosses are challenging at first, although it turns into a grind later on. I liked how they are different at each fight – you need to learn their weakness and resistance, attack patterns, and switch out your gears to defeat them. You even might need to replay some fights several times until the RNG goes in your favor. While I’m not a fan of the RNG part, it was satisfying to beat them in the early game. However, it turns into a grind later on, with you having to do the same thing over and over until they die – most bosses took ~10 minutes to beat while some might even take 30+ minutes.
Length and Difficulty
The game is very long – it took me ~80h to beat it in the hardest difficulty. However, some of my playtimes were spent grinding and walking since the default walking speed is very slow. There is also no dash button, and having to battle an enemy one after another wasn’t enjoyable when you were exploring an area. I had to multitask playing this game with another game and took a break sometime in between to recover my sanity. Going through places with random encounters become a nightmare to me because I had to deal with the very high encounter rate again.
The game has 2 difficulties: normal and expert. I played in the expert difficulty because of the achievements, although I found the save point in the normal mode to be lacking. The game might be giving you some difficulties when you reach a new area, forcing you to grind to get you geared and leveled to tackle it.
There were some bugs when I played the game, although the developer claimed to fix everything that I reported.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
This game has a better quality compared to other RPG Maker games. Features are implemented well – the crafting system help to get the right gear for your party while the learnable skills encourage the use of skills in battle. However, the grind and high encounter rate ruin the game – a lot. It wasn’t fun to be in a fight most of the time, and you still need to grind for levels and/or materials even after all of that.
I wished there was a way to change it to be less grindy, including boss fights. I like challenging bosses, but doing the same thing for 10+ minutes isn’t fun, especially if your party was wiped out in the process. I was fortunate enough not to experience it, although there were times when I would like to redo some of them if not for the lengthy battles. Luckily, since the developer is responding to my feedbacks quickly, there is a chance that these will be adjusted later on.