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Hexyz Force (PSP) artwork

Hexyz Force (PSP) review

"If you're looking for the next big thing in JRPGs, you're better off looking elsewhere, but if you have an itch for some traditional JRPG goodness, Hexyz Force might be just the thing to scratch it."

I've been told that Sting like to do things differently with their RPGs. They like to mix things up and create unique, deep, complicated gameplay systems that may confuse some people but are rewarding for those who invest the time and energy to learn them. Hexyz Force is somehow almost the opposite of that. It's about as JRPG as a JRPG can be.

Now, that's not to say Hexyz Force is a bad game. It doesn't do anything exceedingly badly. It just doesn't do anything particularly interesting, either. It hits all the major points on the JRPG checklist. Turn based battles, rock-paper-scissors style alignments, oodles of loot (though that may be more of a WRPG thing), refining equipment, etc. Nothing you haven't seen before. If you're looking for the next big thing in JRPGs, you're better off looking elsewhere, but if you have an itch for some traditional JRPG goodness, Hexyz Force might be just the thing to scratch it.

Despite falling into a few of the traps of the genre, Hexyz Force is a very playable game. It moves at a nice pace, never staying in one spot for too long. Dungeons are somewhat labyrinthine sometimes, but easy enough to figure out thanks to the fact that you're never more than one button press away from a full map of your current area, which is even marked with treasure chests and important enemies. In battle, you can hold X to constantly select the basic attack of the last weapon you used. Thanks to that and the ability to increase the speed of all in-battle animations with the R button, common battles with weak enemies feel like much less of an annoyance than they otherwise might have.

Then again, the fact that you can just hold the X button to win most battles (including many boss battles) probably isn't a good thing. Hexyz Force is incredibly easy. It uses the traditional alignment system where each of the three main alignments is strong against one and weak against another. If skills of these alignments are used in a certain order, all attacks (from both enemies and allies) will grow more powerful until the chain is broken. You will probably ignore this system entirely. Since each character will mostly just attack using their main Ragnafact (more on that later), and attack alignments are based on the weapon being used, consciously manipulating the chain is kind of annoying. That's fine, though. As attack power increases, so does the potency of your healing abilities, so you'll usually have the healing power to cover any extra damage without really thinking about it.

There are two types of weapons in this game. Ragnafacts and Spirifacts. Ragnafacts are holy weapons that you can improve by spending Force Points, which are earned at the end of each battle. Ragnafacts cost RP (which is basically MP with an R) to use. At first, even your basic attack costs 1 RP, but restoring RP is easy enough that you don't have to worry about that too much. Spirifacts are normal weapons that have a limited amount of "durability" and will break after a certain number of uses. There are no traditional healing items, but healing skills are attached to certain Ragnafacts and Spirifacts, and since each character can equip up to four weapons, and the items used to create healing Spirifacts are common, you should never run out of healing power. If you can do the maze on the back of the children's place mat at your local gas station diner and know well enough to heal yourself when you get hurt, you won't find much of a challenge in Hexyz Force.

"Oh, well," you might be saying. "As long as it's playable, that's all that matters. I play RPGs for the stories anyway." Well, the story of Hexyz Force matches the gameplay perfectly. It's just as full of JRPG cliches. There are two main characters; Cecilia and Levant. At the beginning of the game, each character starts off on their own completely predictable story. Cecilia is a flakey Cleric who discovers that she is the "Maiden of the Staff" and reluctantly sets off on her quest to save the world by protecting the six magical whozits to prevent the mysterious baddies from reviving the God of Destruction. Meanwhile, Levant is a knight of "The Empire" which suddenly turns evil and oppresive because it's being manipulated behind the scenes. After refusing to murder innocent elves and being thrown in jail, Levant escapes and, naturally, joins a group of rebelious furries. Both characters form their own parties and eventually meet up, and from that point on they're pretty much working toward the same goal, but traveling "different" paths to reach it. I use quotation marks because they visit most of the same places, just in a different order. Instead of feeling like two seperate games that take place in the same world, it feels like one game you're supposed to play twice.

Thankfully, the characters are mostly pretty tolerable, as far as generic JRPG characters go. Cecilia is a reluctant hero, but she's never really whiny. Irene is a pampered princess, but she's not bitchy about it. The characters are bland but not annoying, with the exception of Luffina. Luffina is 100% moe. She's 15 and acts about half her age. Soon after you meet her, she's kidnapped by a mad scientist, but the game's T rating prevents him from vivisecting her, unfortunately. Thankfully, you rarely have to use her, and can usually just keep her in the reserves and forget about her.

Of course, the most important point to make regarding Hexyz Force as a whole, is that it's a pleasant enough experience. It doesn't break down any barriers, but it's comfortable just doing standard JRPG things and doing them pretty well. If you're in the mood for that kind of game, you could do a lot worse than Hexyz Force. If you're especially tired of any part of the standard JRPG formula, though, you should probably stay far, far away.


Roto13's avatar
Freelance review by Rhody Tobin (June 11, 2010)

Rhody likes to press the keys on his keyboard. Sometimes the resulting letters form strings of words that kind of make sense when you think about them for a moment. Most times they're just random gibberish that should be ignored. Ball-peen wobble glurk.

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If you enjoyed this Hexyz Force review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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aschultz posted June 15, 2010:

I've never read any of your work before but I'm impressed with what I see from this first bit & so it's good to see a new (to me) and strong writer at HG.

Pulling out my editor's pen, there's not much to find to try to correct. But that's what I do as RotWer away from the main topic.

Then again, the fact that you can just hold the X button to win most battles (including many boss battles) probably isn't a good thing. Hexyz Force is incredibly easy. This transition feels awkward and maybe "Unfortunately, Hexyz force is full of these too-easy battles." The description after that is well done and I think we've all played RPGs like that.

I enjoyed the small pokes at how HF tries to mess with tradition ("MP with an R") and the story is described succinctly and well, without forcing the reader to laugh at it ("rebellious furries.") I enjoyed the bit on Luffina, too. We've all been there. The score of 7 maybe seemed a bit high with the digs you took at it--maybe describe that the graphics are worth it, or par for your average JRPG?--but other than that, I liked this. Please write again!

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