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Rusted Emeth (Android) artwork

Rusted Emeth (Android) review

"It had the potential to be good, but apparently was rushed out the door a bit prematurely."

When I write about Kemco's RPGs, I tend to harp on the company's policy of churning out a new game virtually every month, thanks to the efforts of its four internal teams. That frantic release schedule usually leads to games that are interesting but not legitimately good. Localization is awkward, soundtracks consist of a few looping tunes that barely register, and a lot of the same art assets are utilized in multiple titles.

Hit-Point's Rusted Emeth has a slightly different problem. Incredibly, the team created a unique battle system, and provided loads of customization options. Deadlines must have gotten in the way and led to the game being shipped before it was polished, however, and that led to a respectable experience that with a bit more work could have been truly good.

Well, "truly good" if originality isn't high on your wish list. Rusted Emeth finds Kemco doing its best impersonation of Metal Max, an RPG series that never made it outside Japan, with the exception of Metal Saga on the PlayStation 2. The main difference here is that, instead of securing a collection of tanks to pilot into battle, you'll ride golems. The plot, meanwhile, has players completing jobs offered at town guilds and collecting bounties... just like in Metal Saga!

When I played that older game many years ago, I found the concept interesting for a while, before eventually losing interest ahead of the closing credits. Rusted Emeth, being a Kemco game, is noticeably shorter than its inspiration. The campaign checks in at between 10 and 15 hours, which I see as a positive. The plot might not be thrilling, but I had fun hunting down bounties and strengthening my golems. Then the game ended, right as the formula started to get old.

The neat thing about bounties is that they can be satisfied in a number of ways. Some targets are found in regular random encounters, meaning you could easily become locked in combat with a boss-caliber foe while simply wandering around the world. Others aren't found so naturally, requiring you to instead complete side quests. And, of course, a few others will cross your path while you are accomplishing goals necessary to advance the plot and complete the game.

I like that every major battle is important within the game's world. Boss fights in most Kemco games simply pit you against some random monster that just happens to be in the way. Those encounters have no real connection to the plot: "What is that? Uh-oh, it looks like we'll have to fight it in order to pass! GET READY!!!!" Here, at least, the bounties provide background. Some of your foes are even talked about in towns, which gives the impression that they're legitimate sources of trouble for the local populace. It's a small detail, but it adds flavor to the world of Rusted Emeth.

Customization options achieve a similar effect. You can fight inside and outside of your golems, meaning you have to purchase equipment to suit both scenarios. You can also improve golem parameters by dividing points between attack, defense, speed, shields, and special ammo capacity. Manage such tweaks proficiently and it can make a huge difference in battle, especially late in the game when each possible advantage might be the one that allows you to topple some of the most powerful foes.

Unfortunately, Rusted Emeth really could have used further refinement.

Let's start with the customization. When you're upgrading your golem, you can tell just how each modification will affect its stats. That's good. When you buy equipment for either your character or golem, however, things get complicated. There's no way to see what impact gear might have, so you have to make note of an item's parameters, then exit the shop screen and check your equipment to see what you already have available. That's quite tedious, especially given the number of stats you must monitor. Another approach is to simply buy the most powerful gear available at each new store you come across and hope you didn't already find something better during your travels to the most recent dungeon. I finally went that route and only had to immediately re-sell things a few times. In this day and age, though, how do such interface issues even still exist?

The plot is also nothing to write home about. You control a lad with the unfortunate name of Jink, who is a member of the local hunting guild and a pretty standoffish jerk. He wants to work alone and has no patience for others. After meeting a pair of mysterious women, Jink embarks on a quest to stop a large company from manufacturing artificial humans, since such projects seem to be responsible for disasters known as "Edea Banishes." Whole communities have been destroyed, including the one where Jink was born.

And that's about that. None of the members of the very small cast see any real development. There are some points where you can agree with one character or another to get them to like Jink more, but that doesn't seem to have much of an effect, other than possibly altering the ending slightly. And the dodgy localization does the script no favors. The story revolves around artificial humans, but you won't hear them referred to as "androids", "clones" or even "artificial humans" because the translator apparently settled on "dolls." That choice makes it really tough to take things seriously.

Fights are more ambitious, at least. They're displayed from a split-screen, isometric point-of-view that positions your party members on the right side and any monsters on the left. When you're riding in your golems, you have the option of a weaker attack that can hit all monsters in a group (at least if you give them machine guns, as I did) or a more powerful one that only connects with a single foe. Both options eat up attack points, which regenerate from turn to turn. Until the final couple of dungeons, regular mobs are easy to demolish. Bosses require a certain amount of strategy, though, as you must find a balance between weak and stronger attacks, while also regularly using items to repair damage done to your machines' armor. Occasionally, you'll also have to travel on foot, which means tougher fights because you're less durable and inflict less damage than when you're riding in a properly upgraded golem.

I liked Rusted Emeth more than a lot of Kemco games I've experienced. The battle system alone makes it worth playing, but it's hard to ignore the paper-thin plot and the shop interface that makes it so difficult to purchase the new equipment that will best meet your current needs. In other words, while the path taken to the final verdict might be different than usual, that verdict is essentially the same: Kemco released a decent game that fell just short of deserving enthusiastic praise.


overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (June 13, 2016)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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