Tri-Ace, the developer of the Star Ocean series and Valkyrie Profile, has returned with a huge game together with two other teams named Spike Chunsoft and Aksys Games – and it’s worth it.
Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky opens with protagonist Kanata Kujo and friends dying in a big explosion in Tokyo. After awaking in a surreal world called Protolexa, our heroes encounter the evil spirit Yamatoga who will guide them throughout their adventure while even throwing some humor in it.
The graphics of the 2D side-view RPG are drop dead beautiful which makes Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky one of the best looking PS Vita games. The game runs pretty fluid in the 2D side-scrolling dungeons and smooth in the turn-based combo battles. The soundtrack has an epic feel and fits the surreal surroundings.
In Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky, your main objective is to help Amatsume to regain her powers by gathering Essence Crystals which are the character’s life in a way. The world’s areas are mission based with quests like defeat a specific boss or gather crystals and bosses can pack a punch. The game is pretty big although the gameplay is repetitive at times as you have to revisit the dungeons during different quests.
The most useful items are healing items and poison grenades but those are quite rare. Luckily after later quests, you can get items after dungeon runs which make grinding the chore it becomes later on. Fights can be big in Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky and Xeno Factor, which is given to you by Yamatoga, is useful for a couple reasons.
Characters can use new skills by applying skill points and leveling up previously learned skills. But some skills can not be learned until a character has reached a certain level or can only be learned through Learning. And there is also a flashy cutscene before every battle though skippable it looks good.
Turn-based battles are fought with a party of 4 members that can be set up individually. The battles have “Attack Phases and “Guard Phases”. By pressing the corresponding character buttons in Attack phase, you will initiate combo attacks as long as there’s AP available. In Guard phase, you press the character’s button to defend.
There are also special attacks called “Demon’s Greed” that can be activated by consuming the Greed Gauge. The Greed Gauge builds by attacking and if you attack the the enemies’ weak points, it fills up faster. Demon’s Greed can be leveled up with specific items that will make it stronger and adds further properties.
There are two types of quests in Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky: main quests, which advance the main story and free quests, which are optional and can be undertaken repeatedly to level up the characters and experience side stories and scenes. There’s also a “Speed Run” mode which allows you to fight special enemies and compete with other players for the fastest fight time.
Askys Games has one a good job with the English voices and if you prefer the original, you can also select Japanese voices. Loading is pretty quick and I never had any issues or crashes. I only would wish that costume DLC would stop as there are already over 60+ DLC costumes available.
Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky is an awesome looking turn-based role-playing game offering a big story for many hours of entertaining gameplay. If you don’t mind the grinding, you will get one of the best RPGs for the PS Vita this year.
The review was written and provided by Chris. All screenshots are from the PS Vita version.