Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is a 2D action role-playing game set in a fantasy world that pulls its inspiration from African culture and mythology; quite a rarely-used setting in the genre, as many RPGs draw heavily from traditional medieval European and Japanese settings. You may find an ‘African-themed’ level in some other titles and genres, but none of them come close to the scope and scale of Aurion. It makes for a nice change of pace in a time where people are calling for more diversity in their games. There is also a pretty interesting backstory to the development of the game, as it’s the very first game to be made in Central Africa. We covered it in our Aurion preview and you can check it out here. http://www.player2reviews.com/home/aurion-legacy-of-the-kori-odan-preview
Aurion tells the story of Enzo Kori-Odan, the prince and soon-to-be king of Zama and his lovely bride-to-be, Erine Evou. On the day of their wedding/coronation, Zama is attacked by a mysterious force of commandos led by Erine’s brother, Ngarba Evou. Talk about a crappy wedding present. Exiled from his own kingdom along with his wife, Enzo must go on a journey across the land to find allies, learn about the world and what it means to be a king, all while going on an aurionic pilgrimage to awaken the four pillars of his Legacy. Luckily for Enzo he has his brave and steadfast wife at his side. Now I bet you are all wondering about what I meant about going on an aurionic pilgrimage. Aurions form the crux of the gameplay and story, so I’ll do my best to explain it clearly.
An Aurionic is a person who can tap into the spiritual power of their ancestors beyond The Great Veil (kind of like the afterlife where the spirits of people go after they die) and is also tied into the personal character traits that they exhibit, such as greed, honor and anger. Enzo has four Aurions that make up the pillars of his soul (also referred to as his Legacy). He is an honorable man so the first Aurion he starts off with is Honour. In order to discover and awaken the other pillars of his Legacy, he must travel the world and learn about what kind of a man he truly is on the inside so he can have an Aurionic Awakening and master his powers, thus the term ‘aurionic pilgrimage’. People who can master the four pillars of their soul become immensely powerful, and Enzo hopes to use this power to defeat Ngarba and reclaim the throne of Zama. But how does this translate into gameplay?
The battles are not turn-based, but fought in real-time with a heavy emphasis on action, such as jumping, blocking, combos, and using special techniques that can be assigned to the shortcuts on your HUD. There are no random battles, enemies wander around the map and battle begins when you bump into them. Activating an Aurion in combat gives you access to a new set of special elemental-based techniques. Each Aurion also has an Ultimate Legacy move that can be used once you meet the requirements. As you progress in the story, Enzo will also learn a fusion technique that allows him to combine up to four different Aurions at once and turning them into new Aurions, giving him access to even more powerful special abilities. However, using an Aurion and its techniques cost you AP (ability points), so you can’t use them all willy-nilly. To keep your AP from running out and deactivating your Aurion, you will need to either use a consumable item to restore it or use the charge up option during battle. The problem with that is charging up in battle leaves you stationary and vulnerable. Just imagine Goku screaming and powering up his chi and instead of his enemies waiting for him to be fully powered, they just run over and beat the hell out of him. This is what will happen to poor Enzo once the battles start getting more difficult later on in the game. Luckily some areas have elevated ledges where the enemies have trouble reaching you, so you can charge up in relative peace. Constantly needing to stand still and charge up during battle does lead to some pacing issues, though. You can also overcharge your AP to the point of a Limit Break, which increases your stats temporarily but it comes at a price. Charging over your AP limit causes damage to Enzo, so you require constant healing when trying to achieve a Limit Break or else your HP will drop so low enemies will have an easy time to finish you off. This is where Erine comes into play.
In battle, players have direct control over Enzo, but Erine can also be used, albeit in a different way. During battle, Erine is waiting in the astral realm ready to phase out and cast magic whenever you need her to. She can be summoned by pressing the appropriate shortcuts that you can set in the character menu. The only spell she starts off with is a healing spell, which is very useful to keep Enzo at full health while charging up his AP and achieving limit breaks. This is a strategy that you will be using the entire game, so get used to it. Later on, she discovers that her special garb allows her to absorb the vibrations of other Aurionics, which in turn allows her to learn new techniques. Once Erine starts learning a wider variety of spells, it adds a greater depth to a number of combos her and Enzo can pull off. Once you start to unlock more Aurions and abilities the battles get more exciting, but they aren’t always perfect.
While the battles are fun and action-packed, there are a few problems with them. Enzo has a charge attack that is meant to be able to break an enemy’s guard and push him back, but due to the time it takes to charge it is pretty hard to pull off, making it useless for most encounters. Also annoying is how easy it is for enemies to hit and stun Enzo, leaving you staggered and unable to move while they constantly pound on you. Another thing to mention is the uneven difficulty. I would find myself breezing through enemy encounters in an area and dispatch them with no problems and then all of a sudden, I would be fighting for my life against a particularly strong boss or group of enemies. I don’t see this as a problem because I love having to pull out all the stops in a challenging fight, but I know plenty of people who would get angry over something like this. And on that note; there is an option in the menu to change the difficulty if you just want to experience the story and not fret too much over the combat.
The graphics in Aurion are hand drawn and posses a light and colorful aesthetic. From the bright, nicely detailed backgrounds of the cities you will visit, to the dark and gloomy underground caverns you will sometimes explore, the world of Aurion is full of beautiful things to look at. The world map doesn’t look on par with the rest on the environments, but you won’t spend that much time on it anyways so it’s no big loss. The music is no slouch either, whether it be a light ensemble of percussion instruments that accompany a moment of levity or the faster, more pulse-pounding themes that accompany tense boss battles. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is a pleasure for both the ears and the eyes.
There are a few more problems worth mentioning. Overall the game runs very smoothly, but there are a few technical issues that can be annoying. The game crashed on me once. I didn’t lose much progress though because the game has a very efficient auto-save system. Occasionally my controller would not work properly once I booted up the game, but that can also be fixed easily by disconnecting it and reconnecting it, or by restarting the game (by the way, due to the complex controls and fast-paced gameplay it is really recommended that you use a gamepad while playing). There are some minor spelling mistakes throughout the game, and sometimes you’ll find little bits of untranslated text (nothing important, though, just in some of the background pictures in the tutorials). It is understandable, though, as the game was made by a small team of people whose native language is not English. It doesn’t do much to detract from the game, but it does make it look unpolished. While all this may sound like a lot of problems, Aurion is a game that is much greater than the sum of its parts. It’s an absolute pleasure to watch Enzo and Erine interact with each other on their journey to reclaim their home, and Aurion offers a lot of gameplay for its very affordable price. Combine that with a unique world and fantastic story about discovering our true selves and you have yourself a memorable adventure that is too good to miss.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 8/10
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