Exist Archive Review (PS4)on November 14, 2016 by Mitch Jay
You may have heard about Exist Archive as the game that carries the spirit of the tri-Ace’s Valkyrie Profile series, and it does so proudly! Whilst it has no relation to that series, the inspiration is evident and tri-Ace have created another exciting adventure with fast-paced gameplay and an intriguing plot.
Exist Archive follows 12 young adults who were killed and woke up in Protolexa, an unfamiliar planet with wonderful scenery but is also teeming with monsters. Each carrying a piece of Dark God Yamatoga’s soul, they soon find themselves caught in the middle of a long-lasting battle between Yamatoga, who wants to be pieced back together, and the Goddess Amatsume who wants to prevent this – she’s brought you to her world in an effort to keep an eye on you. What follows is an adventure with the 12 characters getting to know one another whilst fighting their fate of being kept on Protolexa and who they’ll choose to believe, and there are multiple endings to be seen. It’s engrossing and there is plenty of character development, so those looking for addictive gameplay and a strong story will enjoy Exist Archive.
Tri-Ace have created another exciting adventure with fast-paced gameplay and an intriguing plot.
Valkyrie Profile fans will be familiar with Exist Archive’s gameplay. You have 4 characters in a battle and they’re each assigned to one of the PlayStation’s face buttons, and stringing the character’s attacks together create bombastic combos – it’s very accessible, but thought is required if you want to create one smooth, hard-hitting combo as it’s easy to let them drag out! Each character has a devastating ultimate attack with unique classes and equipment, and their skill tree can be custom-developed to create the ultimate team. Battles can be quite challenging but it’s easy to come to grips with the gameplay, and the fast-paced nature of the game makes grinding less of a hassle.
Bringing crystals to Amatsume grants new skills such as being able to double jump when dungeon-crawling, which takes place on a 2.5D plane. Travel is quick and a map makes it easy to locate where you’ve been and where you need to be going, so navigation is as quick and simple as the battle system. Adjusting your team’s equipment and skills is effortless too, although each character can only take a certain amount of skills into battle so you’ll want to choose carefully which would be best, as these also use up the team’s shared action bar and skill cost varies. You can grind whenever you like and whilst the game isn’t very challenging, being under-levelled makes things a whole lot tougher than they need to be.
Mino Taro’s art is truly beautiful and Exist Archive is no exception.
The character designs are by the outstanding artist Mino Taro, who has quickly become a favourite of mine and who also recently did the character designs for Root Letter, and saying that I love them would be an understatement – Mino Taro’s art is truly beautiful and Exist Archive is no exception. His art embraces the anime style but they’re drawn with more realistic, sharper features that strongly appeal to me, and I’ll be looking out for his work going forward! The world of Protolexa is magical and this is evident in the world and creatures, although areas do become repetitive and there isn’t very much change up during the course of the game. The 3D models are in an almost chibi-like style and whilst I prefer the 2D art, the 3D models don’t look out of place.
Exist Archive’s localisation comes with the choice of playing through with either English or Japanese voice-overs, and there are several notable and fantastic voice-actors in the English dub. Bryce Papenbrook, Matthew Mercer, Wendee Lee, Eden Riegel, Patrick Seitz and several others lend their voice to the main cast and help bring the life the already engaging characters. The soundtrack may not stand out to me quite as much as the voice-acting, and like the areas some of the tunes can become rather repetitive, but overall it’s a delightful soundtrack that really matches the feel of the wondrous and mysterious world of Protolexa.
Exist Archive is a game that deserves more people giving it a go.
I wasn’t really into Valkyrie Profile so I wasn’t sure what I would make of this, but I ended up enjoying myself a lot and it’s easy to spend a couple dozen hours on! The gameplay is fast and simple, whilst the character development and plot kept pushing me to go forward. Bundled in with the brilliant art design and English dub, Exist Archive is a game that deserves more people giving it a go. Thankfully, getting each of the endings isn’t a huge hassle but if you’re entire unsure, feel free to use a guide as it is a pretty lengthy game that you might not want to play again in a hurry!