Traysia (Genesis) review
"I tried to pay attention to the game’s muddled plot and it seemed that much of it revolved around an evil group of wizards trying to take over the world. To back up that theory, as my characters explored different lands, they saw evidence of diabolical spells designed to sow the seeds of chaos. But in battle, these wizards do nothing more than walk towards the heroes and try to bop ‘em on the head with their staves. Brilliant!"
I’ve never looked at role-playing games as the toughest I’ve ever played. Some, such as 7th Saga, seem difficult, but just require more time devoted to the beloved practice of level-building. Others, such as Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, have their fair share of tricky spots....but most are stuck in optional, post-quest dungeons one may not even have the desire to play through after devoting an unseemly number of hours in getting to that point.
Even considering all that, Traysia shocked me. A pretty bland game to begin with, this largely unknown Sega Genesis offering by Renovation boasts an easily-exploited glitch (at least I hope this wasn’t intentional) that not only makes it the easiest RPG I’ve ever played -- but allowed me to go from beginning to end with none of my characters even taking ONE SINGLE HIT POINT of damage!!!
So, what minor little programming facet apparently eluded the brain trust in charge of creating this game? Well, like many RPGs, characters can purchase and equip one weapon and one suit of armor at any given time. However, Traysia’s shops also stock accessories (called “sticks”) which can be equipped by any character for the purpose of enhancing their defensive rating. Only two factors limit how many accessories a character can equip -- the amount of inventory space he or she has and the amount of cash held by the party.
The various brands of sticks tend to be far cheaper than the actual suits of armor, so it doesn’t take too much brainpower to figure out it might be a good item to load up on these items before spending ANY money on weapons and armor. After all, it doesn’t matter if it takes an eternity to win battles for a while when the party members are so well-equipped even the strongest monsters are unable to scratch them.
Of course, this makes Traysia a pretty boring game, which only serves to magnify its other flaws. For one thing, fighting isn’t exactly fun. Believe me, there’s no rule saying a player MUST exploit Stickgate, but after enduring a handful of encounters, most folks likely will see things the way I did....assuming they’re masochistic enough to actually play through this game.
Battles are ugly in design and take place using some sort of fake strategy-RPG system where character and foes maneuver around on a battlefield displayed from an overhead perspective. The game’s entire bestiary seems to recycle the same half-dozen or so designs and NONE of these foes seem capable of anything more than melee attacks. I tried to pay attention to the game’s muddled plot and it seemed that much of it revolved around an evil group of wizards trying to take over the world. To back up that theory, as my characters explored different lands, they saw evidence of diabolical spells designed to sow the seeds of chaos. But in battle, these wizards do nothing more than walk towards the heroes and try to bop ‘em on the head with their staves. Brilliant!
Buying and equipping weapons and armor also is a pain. Shopkeepers aren’t keen on letting one know which character can equip what OR how items will affect their offensive or defensive ratings. Personally, I get a wee bit annoyed when I spend an arm and a leg on a powerful sword, only to find out the only two characters capable of using it both have superior weapons. Once something has been bought, it’s then time to brave this game’s most diabolical challenge -- navigating an awkward series of menus that looks designed for a mouse-driven PC game. With the average console controller, these menus are confusing and turn even seemingly simple tasks like selling or equipping items into real annoyances.
Trying to follow the game’s plot got annoying, too. There seemed to be some potential for a few good story-telling elements within Traysia, but a poor script took away any potential impact the game’s more dramatic moments might have had. And that left me with a “been there, done that” story featuring a young man named Roy who left his beautiful girlfriend (Traysia) to seek adventure. In the faraway kingdom of Salon, Roy and three other adventurers are enlisted to do some sort of monster-purging job for the local lord.
Things get pretty grim for Roy, though, as he soon finds out one of his companions and the lord are plotting to kill off every strong person in the kingdom by leading them to their doom. Of course, since Roy and his two loyal companions are likely impervious to harm, that plot fails miserably, giving the young hero that great adventure he was looking for -- TRAITOR HUNTING!!!! Be still, my beating heart....
Roy soon gets a new character to replace the departed traitor and the new foursome travel from land to land where they tackle such not-so-exhilarating challenges as talking to countless people in a gigantic city that actually consists of a multitude of connected towns. There is scarcely any mandatory fighting at all in this entire section of the game (an arena provided the bulk of my party’s combat), so I found myself being lulled to sleep as I went from town to town looking for keys to move on to the next location. It was like playing through a huge, boring puzzle that seemingly had no end.
Fortunately, both that region and the game itself did come to a conclusion. Looking back on my time playing Traysia , it’s amazing all the little things that got botched up in its design. I remember not being able to retrace my steps and leave the forest that serves as the first dungeon because the exit was so poorly marked, it was invisible to my eyes. The name of that early-game party member that betrayed me was inexplicably changed when my party finally encountered him once and for all. In towns, buildings aren’t drawn to any sort of scale. A house that looks small on the outside, could actually be a huge mansion; while decent-sized dwellings might really be tiny hovels. I could spend hours compiling a list of all Traysia’s flaws and still miss a few.
Even without all (or even most) of these minor flaws, Traysia isn’t much of a RPG. Its generic story and clunky menus make getting from the beginning to the end a tedious task and being able to make my characters god-like sure didn’t add much to the excitement. And consider this -- as I got further into the game, I considered keeping my characters untouchable a necessity solely because being able to take damage would only add to the amount of time it would take to beat the game....and I wanted to be finished with Traysia as soon as possible. Yeah, I can see me recommending this clunker -- as a tutorial on how not to make a role-playing game!
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (March 06, 2006)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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