Arakion looks very similar to Bastion, except it is rendered in 3D and has more traditional RPG elements (a party system, complex skills and character customization, and so on) that make it unique. The game itself is a story-driven first-person RPG that focuses on character customization and town building. However, it does differ from typical RPGs by cutting out leveling and replacing it with item and skill acquisition, making your customization the same as your progress. This also takes out grinding and replaces it with an emphasis on exploration, giving it a unique approach among all RPGs.
Perhaps the best tell-tale sign that this won’t be a typical RPG is its story—it’s completely conventional, and relies on the typical ‘you have no memory, you make up the story as you go!’ Just so that’s not misconstrued, I don’t think of that as a positive thing. However, story customization is a plus, and how you play the game affects not just future events, but also the events your character did before the game began. It’s a neat concept, but I feel there is a better way of introducing it than giving the main character amnesia.
The battle system appears to be action-based, rather than turn-based, but with the minimal graphics displayed in the Kickstarter, I honestly can’t tell. Characters have a typical HP/MP bar setup and the game displays multiple characters in the party—since the game description does emphasize group play, I have to wonder if you will be able to co-op with other players rather than recruiting characters throughout the world. Forging equipment offers a refreshing take on items—since there are no item drops, you have to work with the item you already have in order to create a better one. You can forge new abilities or passive effects into new weapons, although you will probably have to go questing for the material to make these weapons.
A rule of thumb in RPG skill development is that each class must have four different types of specialization—however, the base classes only have four skills, so unless the skill customization is incredibly specific across a range of classes, I wonder if multiplayer or even single player battle will remain interesting as you play through the game. Housing offers a unique dimension, and the different objects you put outside your home affects how your character gains skills and materials. It’s rare to see an incentive for environment customization, so seeing it here gives me hope for the game.
The mellow piano music nicely complements the game, although it’s hard to judge a soundtrack based on a single piece. The design factor in Arakion is still rough around the edges—although the land masses are floating in the middle of a clouded landscape, the floating land manages to look boring. Even though it has grass and shrubs dotting the ‘landscape,’ they are so oddly spaced that the environment looks empty. While it does look beautiful (especially for a Kickstarter game), the graphics could use either some better textures or more detailed models.
While I might seem negative about the game, there are plenty of features that have me interested and looking forward to its release. The character customization is this game’s strong point—and while I’m questionable about the skill setup, it’s completely different from the games currently on the market, and that alone should make it interesting. The plot isn’t alluded to in the commercial (other than the whole end-of-the-world bit), so seeing how that pans out will also be interesting. Overall, Arakion is one of the best on Kickstarter, looks absolutely beautiful, and is full of promise. They still have 23 days to go, so if action RPGs are your thing, make sure to donate before the deadline!