Another day, another KEMCO title hits console. They must be busy like bumblebees over there. Anyhoo, today we’re going to look at an entry in the Asdivine series: Asdivine Dios. A turn-based JRPG with a retro pixel look, Dios was actually released back in 2015 on the mobile storefronts. So how does this port stack up against its fellows? Let’s break it down!
Humanity and its negative emotions, such as jealousy and greed, give off a black mist-like essence called Murk. Murk can infect animals and plants, turning them into demons. The aloof Izayoi (our main protagonist) is the deity of Asdivine. He can take the murk and purify it by transferring it to his spirit tree, the Yggdrasil. The world is at relative peace until one day a human with a mysterious sword appears, hell-bent on destroying the deities and their spirit trees. The Murk is spreading at an alarming rate and Izayoi is unable to return to his psyche form. Izayoi and his spirit companions Iris, Minerva and Freya embark on a journey to the spirit trees of the four main elementals in order to protect them and regain the magic they lost so they can put an end to the chaos and restore peace to Asdivine.
This is another one of those trope-heavy harem situations you occasionally see in Japanese multimedia. Izayoi is the only man in the party. The other three members are totally in love with him, but of course, he’s totally oblivious. Iris is the kid of the group (though technically she’s centuries old. I dunno.) and she is always acting goofy and getting talked down to by Minerva, the shadow spirit. Freya is the older, more mature one who just sort of loves him from a distance. She’s also got this tsundere (Google it) angle going on where she’ll hit him, or subtly threaten other party members. A good chunk of the game banter is made up of situations where the ladies are either getting into awkward situations with Izayoi and becoming embarrassed while he remains oblivious, running an inner monologue describing their conflicted and misunderstood feelings for him, or just straight-up fantasizing about him. I don’t know who would enjoy these kinds of situations, but it ain’t me.
Another thing that drives me crazy (in a bad way, not a Britney Spears way) is the awfully self-promoting way they choose to break the fourth wall. For example, there is an entire scene dedicated to asking players for a review. It even takes you directly to the store page if you acquiesce. Later on, Jolie Curie even entreats you to go to the store to buy the "ad eliminator+ADP set", which one can only assume is a leftover bit of dialogue from the original mobile game, considering that there are no advertisements in this version. Pretty lazy work for the developers to have left it in there. Even if you do a bare-minimum port, least you could do is take a sec to snip out this irrelevant bit.
Presentation-wise, Asdivine Dios has its fair share of problems. The framerate can be quite jerky when you are moving about the areas. It gets even worse when you move diagonally; even your character’s sprite periodically flickers in and out of existence. It’s a shame, really. It marred the otherwise beautiful retro-style pixelated graphics. The sprites, in particular, have a nicely rendered 32bit look to them. It isn’t the first time I’ve seen this framerate issue in a title from Exe Create, either. You figure they would have gotten it down pat by now considering how many games they’ve pumped out. Speaking of which, the soundtrack will be very familiar to gamers who have played any of the other Asdivine entries. It’s the same five or so tracks: from the relaxing town music to the high bpm battle theme. I actually enjoy them, but the sound placement can feel a little weird sometimes. You start to feel how limited it is when in one conversation you can go from normal background track to ominous, then high-speed battle track, then back to normal. I also had to adjust the sound levels in the menu because the music volume was way too overbearing. You couldn’t even hear the character voices in battle, I had to max out the battle voice option and lower the background music to about 1/3 just to normalize it. I got used to the graphical issues after a while, but the music can still grind my gears.
The battles are the most enjoyable aspect of the game, but there is nothing here that an RPG veteran hasn’t seen before. Speed determines who gets to attack first. Magic costs MP to use, while BP is expended when you use your battle skills. If you deal heavy damage to an enemy, you have a small chance to activate a limit break. This allows you to use up to 5 consecutive skills without expending additional BP. An icon with two random skills pops up. Choosing the bottom skill gives you a better chance of getting an extra attack, while the top skill does heavier damage at the risk of a slimmer chance for attacking again. It rarely ever activated for me. I only got to use limit breaks a handful of times during my playthrough. It is most likely due to the fact that I auto attack, though. The game explicitly states that limit breaks won’t activate while auto attacking. Later on in the game after unlocking the Unison Menu, you can customize up to six combo attacks per character. They are really powerful attacks that deal more damage and expend less BP than they would if used separately. The person who initiates a Unison has to wait for three turns before they can use another, so you can’t abuse the system. Character damage dealt and received varies depending on whether or not they are placed in the front or back row. You also get a special boon depending on who is leading the party. Izayoi, for example, grants plus 10% speed to all allies, while Freya gives a 5% bonus to all parameters while in the lead. It isn’t life-changing, but it gives you something to think about while arranging your party members.
On a side note: you start off with 1000 ADP (Asdivine Points). These can be used in an in-game store to buy extremely useful items and powerful equipment. I used it to exploit the hell out of this by purchasing the double experience orb plus all the experience bags that offer something like 200k experience each. I would use them all as soon as possible, getting double the experience gained thanks to the orb. This would shoot me to around level 60 in the first 20 minutes of gameplay. Then I would turn on the option of auto-winning battles with enemies weaker than my party. Thanks to this exploit I’d be able to go through most of the game without encountering any enemies aside from bosses and special ones. I’m a bastard, I know. Anyhow, while the double experience orb is still available, the instant-experience granting bags have been removed. Darn.
After all is said and done, Asdivine Dios is a fairly average JRPG with some noticeable flaws. It has some decent moments, and it is a lot easier to stomach if you throw on your own favorite tunes while playing. But unless you’ve tapped the well dry, you’re better off going for a better entry such as Fernz Gate, if you haven’t already.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Xbox Store page can be viewed here.
Final Score: 6.5/10
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