Exist Archive: The Other Side of The Sky for PlayStation Vita
Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky is an RPG where Kanata and various others have been imbued with pieces of the dark god, Yamatoga’s soul and are sent to Protolexa, for reasons unbeknownst to them.
Battle enemies and the armies of Chasseur as you search out for your other teammates, complete quests and side events, and learn the truth of why you have been chosen.
Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky is the latest to come from Spike Chunsoft and Aksys Games with some assistance from Tri-Ace Tri-Ace, while being well known for their work on the Star Ocean games, are sometimes forgotten to have also made that amazing cult classic Valkyrie Profile. This is important to note, as Exist Archive may be a spiritual sequel to that very title*.
Exist Archive is the story of twelve teenagers that are transported to another world in either one piece or at death?s door. Guided early on by a disembodied voice who calls himself Yamatoga, it isn?t long before the main group that finds itself together learn that this powerful being was once a source of evil in this strange land. Making matters worse, each of the twelve summoned here contain a portion of his now shattered soul and have been granted the curse of immortality as a result. Immortality on its own wouldn?t be so bad as those close to dying are now fully healthy and can continue living, but these twelve are the only humans present and the one that summoned them here both can?t and won?t let them leave as they cannot permit Yamatoga to go free.
Setting out as a small group and eventually finding more of the twelve in order to join in and help find a way home, Exist Archive plays out in an interesting fashion. It can take some time in order to slide into the swing of things as for a heavy narrative JRPG it comes across as a mission based experience. When on the world map, this ?planet? in the rough meaning of the word has multiple areas to visit. Furthering the story can simply be done by moving to the next location available and either letting the cutscenes roll or by exploring the area before a cutscene makes it appearance. In either case, they are always a welcome experience with unique characters and awesome voice actors that really sell the personalities. There were some immediately recognizable voices while others even if I didn?t, were just as good and fit their characters well.
Exploring various areas comes a refreshing change of experience for an RPG as it plays out like a Side Scrolling Platformer or even a Metroidvania at times with abilities that need to be unlocked in order to move further. Jumping up or down onto ledges, using teleporters, sliding down sandhills, or simply running forward towards your goal will take up the bulk of your time while looking for exactly where to go next. The earlier stages are rather simple in design but as the story advances the challenge factor can advance and the way forward is not always the most clear which is where the exploration comes into play.
Battle is the heart of Exist Archive and it is both very well designed and a lot of fun to partake in. A fair warning is that things can spike in difficulty and even become frustrating with fights being almost twelve versus four at times but that comes down to party composition and not actual party member levels and equipment. While equipment will play a fair part, having those to deal with certain situations such as a fire, ice, or storm mage will come in handy especially with some of the larger monsters being weak or at least susceptible to magic. Essentially, don?t get overly attached to specific characters as in the end you will more or less need them all.
The last thing that I felt worked against Exist Archive more than for it is how long it takes in order to get access to certain features such as the Skill system. Not only do characters receive very little points per level, but by the time that this opens up it’s already been hours into the story and the points that are given are enough for either one of two things. The first is to level up a character’s specific class which grants them more combat skills and new abilities to learn, while the other is learning the abilities that are already present. Abilities can be anything from adding a counter to the guarding skill in combat to modifiers for the first, second, or third attacks of a character in battle such as adding a launch attack. These are all great features but they come fairly late to the game and even if they couldn’t be learnt right away, it would have been nice to see all of these present much earlier in order to prepare for them. – Chalgyr’s