If you’re a fan of KEMCO games, or even just played one before, then stepping into the world of Revenant Dogma will feel comfortably familiar. This sense of déjà vu brings with it some great aspects to the game but also some mechanics which aren’t as in-depth as I would have hoped for.
So, how does the game do overall? Let’s start at the beginning…
Revenant Dogma is the story about humans and therians, a beast-like race, who have formed a grudge against one another, thus resulting in them living separately rather than as co-inhabitors. The therians have blessings from their gods while humans don’t. Our story revolves around the adventures of Caine who comes to form bonds with not only the humans, but the therians as well. He’s hoping he can use his multi-race bonds in order to prevent a war from breaking out between the two species.
From the start of the game, there are strong similarities to old-school JRPGs with their turn-based battle systems and overworld travelling. Throughout the world-map are towns and dungeons which get marked as you discover them one by one. The world isn’t large, so you don’t have to worry about aimlessly wandering around for ages before you come across new locations. In fact, reaching a new destination is usually only a minute or two of walking.
The towns are filled with NPCs who will either talk to you about a random topic or, in some cases, provide a sidequest related to the area you’re in. For instance, ‘kill 8 wolves’ or ‘find person X who was at the last cave you were in’. It a nice touch that all side quests can be done in the local vicinity, as opposed to travelling all over the map.
The dungeons are presented as multiple floors of progression. Once you enter one of these locations, you have the ability to trigger three warp sigils, one at the beginning, the middle and the end – this helps with resuming and returning to a certain position much easier. To further help you out, there is typically one sigil that will fully heal your party. I found that if the monsters are too tough, you can hang around this regenerative position and constantly level up whilst healing your team!
Revenant Dogma has an amazing feature I deeply wish was within more games, you can turn on “auto-win monster encounters” if your party is more powerful than the enemy. This saves a lot of time instead of having to go through a whole battle scene over an enemy you can clearly wipe the floor with. In turn, this also helps with grinding sessions. Upon entering a new area, I would make sure that I was able to auto-win random encounters as that was a good sign that I should be able to stand up against the bosses within this dungeon.
Combat is turn-based, with your character’s speed deciding who goes first. The animations, models for the enemies, and your team look very retro and reminds me of many early PlayStation One games, but in a HD sense. When it’s your character’s turn, you have all the usual commands for fighting, defending, skills, and escaping. With Revenant Dogma, you also get the option to transform. When you transform, you get boosted stats as well as access to other skills based upon the transformation you selected.
An example being that Caine can transform into a knight and has access to an attack that hits three times. With transformations, there is a limit with a bar that represents the maximum you can do. Once the bar is filled, you lose control of the character, so it’s best to time transformations and not get near the upper limit and lose control!
One feature which is present, which I have seen in other KEMCO games, is the extra shopping menu within the options. Here, you can spend points to participate in a lottery of weapons that can reveal high-quality gear. The other option is to use your points to unlock items that can really benefit your team, items that will give you exp as you walk or having no encounters for example. I love this as I play JRPGs for the stories and if I can have an extra boost or assistance with the combat so I can enjoy the narrative, then I’ll definitely take it.
The characters introduced throughout Revenant Dogma are great and all have their own quirks. The downside is that other characters aren’t really introduced aside from the party and key officials for the therians and humans. It would have been nice to have more characters or more in-depth side quests to flesh out more people and bring the world a little more to life.
Completing the main story doesn’t take too long. I assume the story is short due to the fact that Revenant Dogma is also available on mobile platforms. Still, there is a decent amount to be played and after completing the main game, there are other things to do such as finishing true endings or completing all side quests. There are also optional labyrinths that can be completed for bonus gear.
Overall, the old school JRPG vibe in Revenant Dogma is great and I love the auto-win feature. However, with such a short story and the feeling that there’s not a whole lot of meat on the bones, I felt a bit disappointed that the adventure was over when it actually felt like it barely began. There was also no satisfaction of having side stories that would have enabled me to bond with random characters – they were all rather generic and without depth.
On the plus side, trophy hunters will enjoy that Revenant Dogma has a very easily obtainable platinum if they wish to put the time into it.
**It appears Revenant Dogma is only out in American Regions on PSN at the moment. I’m not sure when it’s heading to Europe**