This year’s E3 was host to a number of surprisingly unknown RPG’s. Hidden behind the European contingent and the sizeable Korean software presence at this year’s convention was a little known RPG by a completely unknown software company.
The Taiwanese developer and distributor, Soft-World International Corporation showcased their visually impressive PC RPG, The Seventh Seal: Lost Reminiscence. The Seventh Seal features gorgeous rendered cinematics, attractive pre-rendered backgrounds and sprites, a fighting game-inspired combat engine, as well as a musical score by none other than gaming maestro, Yasunori Mitsuda.
Set in the world of Huho, a realm governed by the power of six elemental forces, the human and elven races lived in peace for generations. During the era known as the Divine Age, a destroyer came to Huho and using the power of the six elements, threatened to rip the moon from orbit and destroy the world. Those who opposed the Destroyer used the power of the planet to seal the six elements and prevent the destruction of Huho. Victory is not without sacrifice, and due to the elemental sealing, no winds blow across Huho, no waves stir in the sea, and fires burn dim and cold. Despite these aberrations, peace flourished throughout the land for 18,000 years after the end of the Divine Age. The prophecy of the Destroyer’s return faded into myth and legend. Now, after millennia, the seals have begun to break. If the prophesy is fulfilled, Huho will be thrown into chaos; and only a chosen few have the power to prevent the unimaginable.
The Seventh Seal bears a close resemblance to Final Fantasy IX with high quality pre-rendered fantasy backgrounds, but uses pre-rendered sprites over real-time polygonal characters. Combat in The Seventh Seal is turn-based but employs a combo-centered combat engine that plays like a simplistic fighting game. With proper timing, players can land a multitude of blows before their turn concludes, adding a new level of intensity to the classic formula. All of the playable characters in the demo appear to practice hand-to-hand martial artists exclusively. No information about character-specific weaponry was available from Soft-World’s press release information. The Seventh Seal promises an extensive magic system to complement their fighting engine.
Unfortunately, Soft-World’s choice to use pre-rendered character sprites was disappointing, as there was a noticeable lack of movement and combat animations present in the demo. While the visual effects and pre-rendered environments were impressive, the FMV cinematics are simply stunning. The music is typical Mitsuda goodness, though the scope of his score for the game remains to be seen.
Sadly, The Seventh Seal requires extensive localization and Soft World International has yet to find an American publisher. Though the character animation needs some improvement, Soft-World International has an extremely promising RPG in The Seventh Seal and we hope that the game receives the industry attention it so richly deserves.
Very special thanks to Jayde for putting together The Seventh Seal image galleries on such short notice.