Let us get one thing straight off the bat, Revenant Dogma isn’t a good game. It’s likely going to appeal to those of you that truly love the old-school RPGs, right down to the NES-esque visuals, but if that’s not you and you, like me, enjoy some depth, Revenant Dogma isn’t going to do that RPG hunger any justice. Perhaps I should have seen this coming when looking at the add-on packs; full recovery, experience, damage multipliers and even one that enables you to configure the encounter rate in the options menu – each collectively costing the same as the core game.
Choice is good, but only when choices make sense. Why doesn’t it make sense here? Because you can pick up the game on iOS and Android for free. I understand charging for the core game, but the add-on plan here is just ridiculous. Moving on. As alluded to above, Revenant Dogma is a turn-based fantasy RPG that’s set in a time in which humans coexist with a race known as the therians. Therians (lion-like creatures) and humans live by their own beliefs and habits, and to be expected, there’s a clash between them, being that they’re constantly fighting for territory.
When a couple of young revenant-corp soldiers enter therian territory in search of a way to obtain a relic known as the Feral, they stumble upon a plan that revolves around their very fate, and from here, shit hits the fan. Rewinding, the game opens with a lengthy talk between you and a colleague regarding the aforementioned relic, as well as highlighting why you’re tasked with retrieving it. Dialogue is text-based, and any actual voice acting is typically foreign. It doesn’t help matters that when it comes to the dialogue, there’s just far too much throughout.
If the add-on system or the over abundance of dialogue isn’t the first thing you notice, chances are, you’ll be smacked with how dated the visuals are. Revenant Dogma sports a look as though it’s just fell out of the back end of RPG Maker 2000. I fully appreciate that there’s a market for these sorts of games but even the likes of Romancing SaGa 2, which shares a similar dated visual design, had interesting gameplay elements to back it up. Revenant Dogma, on the other hand, just feels too dated across the board and too straightforward to sit alongside standards.
To the game’s credit, Revenant Dogma is very easy to sink your teeth into. From the moment that you gain control of your crew – which grows at a nice and steady rate – you’re given subtle and easy to follow commands from the get go. Of course with this being an RPG, there’s a range of side quests thrown in along the way, which helps to break up the flow of the story to some degree. Given the genre, you can expect to see the usual elements within; weapon crafting, item management, gear sorting and so forth. Simple stuff, really. Nothing above and beyond.
It all sits inline with the era that it seems to visually adopt. This is great for fans of the genre that prefer simplicity over depth, but if you enjoy the flip-side, you’re going to be somewhat disappointed. The same can be said about enemy encounters, being that they’re invisible and that battles occur when you take so many steps. The only notable effect that you get before a battle commences is that the left and right side of the screen will start filling orange and then red, giving you a proverbial heads-up that a fight sequence is about to unload on your party.
This comes in handy if you’re in need of swiftly changing equipment or healing your party members. The battle sequences, much like most other corners of Revenant Dogma, offers very little depth outside of swapping 2D visuals for 3D visuals. Here, the game’s turn-based mechanics are put into full swing. The game does house an auto-play feature that allows you to press just one button per-turn, but when utilizing this, characters don’t seem to use abilities or even heal themselves – making this a very redundant function against tougher enemies.
However, when you’re not using the auto-play feature and you’re issuing your own commands, the game’s battles feel a bit better for it. There’s a small range of choices to select from; attack, use an item or skill, or alternatively, use the ability to transform. This is what it means to be a revenant. The ability to transform gives you extra strength and defense based on what your transformation choice is. It’s a neat addition I’ll admit, but other than that, the whole ordeal is about as deep as a puddle. You attack and they attack until someone is left standing victorious.
There’s very little visual splendor, even during these 3D sequences. The developers states that the battles are “full of ambiance”, but throughout the majority of play, I didn’t even see the enemies actually moving during attacks. Like most turn-based RPGs, you’ll need to grind your way through the lower class enemies to up your capabilities, and Revenant Dogma is no exception. Consisting of little more than moving, battling, moving some more and battling some more. It’s important to stay on-par with the enemies for one simple reason, ladies and gents.
The boss battles will slap you around like there’s no tomorrow. Though one could argue that it’s nice to see some challenge within. Either way, the whole experience just doesn’t seem suited in 2018. There’s little depth, little originality and little imagination here. I will commend the soundtrack, however, which is easily one of the game’s high points. I wont go so far as to say that you’ll be racing to download it to your mobile devices, but it does a good job at setting the theme and the mood of the adventure quite well. It’s just a shame the rest of the game falls behind.
Revenant Dogma looks and plays as though it’s been spat out of RPG Maker 2000. There’s very little depth within, and any depth that it does offer is usually puddle deep. The game may well be accessible and house a decent soundtrack, but in the midst of its near complete lack of innovation and originality, that’s hardly a selling point. Furthermore, Revenant Dogma is free on iOS and Android. Go there to avoid suffering a loss.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.