I freaking loved this game. It was simple, unpretentious, very fun, and at the time of its release, its graphics were among the best Playstation had to offer.
Now, on to why I loved the damn title so much.
There are actually two stories. Both are fairly simple but powerfully told. The first is about a mysterious white-haired guy named Rue. Rue was living peacefully with Claire, a girl he treats like a sister. But one day, Claire is killed by a man with a huge ass claw, and so Rue set off on a journey to find a <relic>. An ancient artifact created by a race of supermagicians that imbued with their mysterious power. He hopes to find one that will help him bring her back to life, and so his search eventually leads him to the quaint little town of Corona. He meets with a local doctor and with his help he gets closer and closer to his goal.
The other story focuses on Mint, a bratty, red-haired princess from the East Heaven Kingdom whose “rightful” place as heir to the throne was usurped by her more capable younger sister Maya. Maya inherits the <Book of Cosmos>, the <relic> of her kingdom, and because of this despite Mint supposedly being the better magician, she couldn’t stand a chance against her. So she runs away to seek a <relic> of her own, driven by the two very simple wishes: kick her sister’s butt, and conquer the world.
When these two cross paths…the adventure begins.
The characters are the most memorable part of this game. Rue is a really likeable guy. He’s not really different in the sense of him being overly complex, but he’s got a good amount of depth to him, with the best part about him being how genuinely nice he is. Also, he’s no emoboy. His backstory is a little sad, but the guy chose to do something about it rather than brood over it. He’s also got a badass axe-sword and can transform into the monsters he kills–which is effing cool–and he’s dressed in this vaguely Chinese/ fantastic outfit. His story is more serious, but is for me the one told better.
Now, Mint on the other hand, is the opposite. Her story is definitely more fun and there’s lots of comedy gold to be had there. Mint is a brat, but she’s a likeable brat and karma has its way of acting as her straight-man in this story. Whenever she tries to plot something devious, something always ends up foiling her. Mint is the more entertaining character to play as, and her fighting style is kinda badass: she fights with a variety of colored-spells that she accompanies with a series of chakram attacks and some really powerful kicks. Her design is also pretty memorable: being a red-haired, twin-tailed girl dressed in a purple kimono-tunic, and big brown boots. In the middle of the story, we learn she’s not such a bad girl, and I think one of the better part of her character is how very little drama she has in her life: Mint is former princess who was displaced by her own sister from her rightful place as heir. The comedy? She deserves it. Her response? “Screw you guys, I’m going to back one day to kick you in the nuts!” She just moves forward like a little fireball of energy and ambition, and that kinda makes you want to keep following her around.
The music is god-tier. Seriously. Type “Threads of Fate OST” on youtube and tell me that isn’t a gorgeous selection of sounds. Just do it. It explains itself.
Graphics and Gameplay:
The graphics look dated now. But at the time of its release it was one of the best. For this case, I’ll talk about the style and presentation of the story: it is wonderful. The setting is a nice mix of western and eastern cultures like what you find in J-RPGs, only since it’s a semi-open world you get to explore it a little more of your own volition. The shame is, all the action is limited to one town–everything happens around Corona, and aside from the dungeons, you don’t get anywhere else. However; it did have the effect of making you feel more attached to the town of Corona and its resident(who say different things as you progress into the story), and it is different from other JRPG in the sense that you’re acting on behalf of more personal reason, rather than some grand one like saving the world: Rue wants to get back someone he loves, Mint wants to get revenge and her throne back, and so setting it all on one town heightens that sense of intimacy you develop when moving along the story. The battle system? Still one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. It’s a hack-and-slash JRPG. You move on a 3D world and kill monsters in real time, you also get a variety of different attacks which you can string into combos with enough imagination. It’s fast faced, and it’s a joy to play.
If you have access to this game, or are in any position to buy it online. Play it again for old times sake, or for the love of everything good in the world BUY IT! Because if you love JRPGs this is one title you DO NOT want to miss. Square needs to revisit this IP pronto! Because this is a world I, and lot of people, want to see again.
(Trivia: If you remember Asuna from Negima, her character design might have been partially inspired by Mint.)