Capella's Promise ~ A Simple Diversion with Complex Gameplay

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Capella's Promise is a half-typical JRPG by a Japanese group called Plainsoft. The game menu opens up with a lyrical song. I find that placing
a lyrical song on the menu like this is annoying. After looking at the .txt file that shares the lyrics to the song, I got even more upset...
these people made the simplest lyrics ever. After playing the game for a few hours, there is no mystery behind their meaning, which leads us to the
first annoyance I had with this game - almost everything was too expected.

Story 3/10: Capella's Promise begins in a somewhat promising manner, but this is only because we can see the great graphical work done on the game, as
well as the depth of the gameplay and menus, before anything really happens. However Capella's Promise ends up being an extremely flat story for the most
part. The story feels mostly like a clever excuse plot at most times. And unfortunately, this makes missions very uninteresting. Every mission is in the
format of "X is missing! We need them to do something! We have to get through this dungeon to find them or gain the key to rescuing them." Or, it simply
becomes "We have to go through here to get closer to our first/next destination." The plot is ever-present and ever-mild, so it is quite annoying.
The end of the game brings some plot twists that you would be unlikely to expect, but they end up almost exclusively existing for the sake of tying
up plot holes to a nearly non-existent plot. There are no real losses at any point in the story and characters just exist to fight with you for the most
part with shoe-horned backstories. The plot just feels absolutely dead until they cross the sea, so perhaps the writers were improving a bit alongside
the game's progression.

When I look at a foreign game that has been translated to English, I do wonder if something was lost in translation. It seems very unlikely, but
perhaps VGPerson does so much work that the translation of such a big game just wasn't quality and didn't do things justice.

Characters 6/10: The characters suck for most of this game. The first half of the game feels like all of the characters have the same voice as the
main character, just trying to act a bit different. The tone of the main character is awful and the beginning of the game really failed to get me
engaged because of this. Once they start crossing the sea, however, character development actually starts to happen and it isn't the worst it could
be. The protagonist's party mostly acts as under-developed as little children, but they are indeed very sheltered in essence. Ricky has easily the
best character development for most of the game since he is introduced rather well and has a really natural conclusion to their plotline that
doesn't suffer from the fact that everything in this game goes right. The doctor and the royalty are written in a fine way. Velk and Shena
actually have a great setup for romance (which is rare in pretty much all fiction). All of the interesting characters return enough for you to
get a feel for who they are. But overall, characters still suffer too much by the writing having an weak level of skill all around and being stuck
behind the pacing of gameplay segments.

Gameplay 9/10: The combat and other abilities you are given in this game are near-perfect. It feels like a lot of the game is just making way
for the dungeons so I think the team was most confident in their gameplay over anything else. There are some pretty annoying flaws. Dungeons
having a torch system just gets incredibly annoying when the torch actually spreads light thinner instead of providing more light. The darkness
made the game take much longer. Additionally, the dungeons were a bit too frequent because every main objective (quest) had you going through a whole
dungeon. Lastly, the item system is a little too random and overkill. You get a treasure chest drop from every single enemy, you have the ability to
dissolve equipment you don't need and using those dissolve points for a useful item or two later on... But it is hard to tell what a good equipment
is until late into the game and even then you are constantly doubting yourself. Worse, after obtaining too much of a certain kind of equipment,
more equipment of the same type will automatically break and disappear once found in a chest. You wont even get dissolve points.

And, as a comment on the late game content, getting Ocean Relics is way too rare. It is supposed to increase with higher level chests, but they may
actually have gotten rarer past the small point of introduction.

While there may have been multiple points of annoyance with the gameplay, there is still so much to cover. First of all, this game has Multi-stat
Equipment and it can really make your equipment feel personal to you. In fact, if you want to be more organized, you can even use an orb to name your
your weapons and armors. I never actually tried it, but it is something I would have enjoyed if I had really thought about doing it.
Orb embedding is really a great thing. Once you decide you want to make a certain character build, you have the option to take well-suited
equipment and make it better. Not to mention, the EXP gain orb is actually perhaps the most effective orb in the game. Leveling up in this game
is rather effortless, which is pretty great since you also have the megaloma items which allow you to decide how your character will grow.
It is quite often that I pick favorite characters in an RPG and now I get to play a game where I just run with my favorite characters
through the whole journey. The only limited aspect of characters is their base weapons, and that can be a significant problem, but mostly
for rod/staff users since those weapons are practically worthless no matter how far you go.

Equipment gets even crazier once we consider all of the different abilities that equipment can attain. You can get weak spells attached to your
attacks (attacks can already multi-hit, by the way), you can get passive chance to reflect magic back at the enemy, you can even get magic-evasion
stats that will allow you to dodge the normally undodgeable and even better - each armor has specific element resistance stats, but you can also
get an equipment trait that basically halfs all types of magic damage. There are also skills attached to weapons, or elemental spell boosts on
on equipment and traits that encourage enemies to avoid a character when choosing to attack (and higher weapon range stat also keeps enemies away

Beyond equipment, skills are overall very well-built for strategy. You could end up using just about all of the skills due to how unique each one is.
Where other RPGs would just give you stronger magic as you leveled your magic up, magic in Capella's Promise has different traits based on elements.
Wind magic will be multi-target most of the time. Ice magic will be multi-hit, single target. Lightning magic is multi-hit, multi-target. Fire is
only single target with traditional strength increase per higher version. Poison is not tied to pure magic. The one non-elemental magic also causes
a status effect. Another great part of magic here is the fact that it follows Skill Training. The more often use a spell, the more damage it does.
This also applies to pure healing spells.

Pure magic is also joined by Space Magic and Prayers. I have no idea why it is called Space Magic, but it has an interesting name for a reason - I
recommend two of your characters learning most Space Magic. The Space Magic used for attack is all possible to level up, which includes the only poison
spell with levels. Additionally, Cyclone is essentially the best spell in the game. I used Cyclone to win many battles early on and ended up even
primarily using it on the final, final boss. Armor Breath, Magic Barrier and Healing Mist are also really useful defensive buffs that I used in many big
battles were it seemed like I might not survive. I beat the final bosses on my first try, mainly relying on Space Magic and Prayers.

Now speaking on Prayers, they are basically broken in early game, but they don't really scale for late game. Healing Wind and some of the other health
-based spells can be used as a key in winning, but it is better to level up Melcrain since prayers degrade way too quickly in late game while Melcrain
could be improving mid-battle.

Physical combat skills also have a lot of potential in this game. Combos can be done jointly based on turn order, but combos require leveling
and the right weapons. The same goes for Techs... Techs are pretty versatile attack skills, but it is hard to use them all. Interestingly, there
seems to be a special weapon trait that allows you to perform any weapon based technique with one weapon. You can use Double Shot with a sword instead
of a bow. If you focused more on physical attack and defense, it seems that the game actually would not be too difficult. Attacks seem to outperform
magic in most cases and only optional parts of the game punish the lack of magic usage. Additionally, auto-fighting is really good at cutting down
time in this game. By pressing A, you shred through the enemy quickly. If someone played the game based on attack power, they would surely have a
nice and quick time going through everything.

Sound/Music 7/10: The use of sound in Capella's Promise did not feel pleasant to me. There was a definite lack of music, which is sad, but
they really pushed things by not having mood music. That's right - this RPG has no mood music. Basically every scene that should be emotional
or uplifting is cloaked in silence or just has the typical music of the environment. I felt before that silence made an RPG feel more personal...
but this game fails to even insert ambient noise and the pure silence ends up making the game feel a lot cheaper than it would have been. For the
music that did play, it was extremely repetitive usually. Most dungeons played a song that I really grew to be annoyed by. Towns were quite varied,
which was nice. However, barely any other music existed outside of town and dungeon music. The same music basically played with every area connected
to the main plot. The music itself... it is a bit typical sounding in most places, but I find it to be good music that is just a bit too short to listen
to outside of the game itself. The sound effects were somewhat satisfying, but mostly sounded like too much of the same sounds.

Graphics/Presentation 8/10: To make it short, Capella's Promise uses art that is very RPG Maker-esque or just outright default RTP art (enemies)
but they presented it all in a way that made it actually feel like I wasn't looking at RPG Maker art. I felt that just about every fight in the game
fit what it should be like. As for dungeons, they were actually very well designed. I definitely paid attention to how the dungeons looked. If only
the darkness had not been such a pain in this game... I would have liked the dungeons more.

Overall, 78% rating.
This game really feels like its gameplay is designed to have you ignore its flaws, but the game is free so I appreciate what
work has been done. It is just sad that the game was too lacking in chaaracter and made me feel like I had wasted my time since the atmosphere never
went above where it started.