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Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While I like what Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge is attempting, this first episode gets some of the role-playing game basics wrong. I like the throwback visuals and combo-based combat, but the slow pace and repetitive locations sink this first chapter. I'm hopeful future episodes will address many of the problems and match the potential found in this debut. Rating: 40%
Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge
Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge
  • Review Score:

  • C-
As any showrunner will tell you, creating a television pilot is an incredibly tricky task. That first episode is an unwinnable balancing act where they not only need to hook you with the premise, but also introduce a half dozen disparate characters. Every so often a series will manage to get off to a running start, but at the same time, some of the best shows of all time suffered from weak beginnings.

I hope that's the case with Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge, the brand new episodic role-playing game from White Guardian Studios. Using a throwback look, this turn-based role-playing game feels like a mash-up between beat-em-ups from the 1980s and Xenogears. It has a ton of promise, but the execution left me disappointed.

In this first episode, players fight through two different storylines that are designed to ease people into this new sci-fi/fantasy world and the combat. It sets up two parallel stories, each led by a different protagonists caught in the middle of a larger conflict. Hasphal is a planet being torn apart by prejudice; where humans have turned against the natives and routinely hunt them down to honor their Gods.

The two characters we're introduced to in this episode come from different sides of this divide. Jagen was born with nobility and joined the ridders to protect humanity against those monstrous natives. Sen, on the other hand, lives far away from humanity haunted by the memories of her past. Fearing that she'll always be hunted, Sen is trying to come to grips with her demonic abilities and survive on her own apart from society.

Playing through the two stories gives us a better overview of the larger picture, something I hope will help Celestial Tear stand out in future episodes. No matter who you choose, you'll largely be traveling the same locations and fighting familiar enemies. This first episode focuses on forests filled with dangerous wolves and caverns covered in poisonous snakes, standard fare for old 16-bit role-playing games.

Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The combat is also the same, giving us a unique twist on the usual turn-based battles. Similar to Xenogears on the PlayStation, Demon's Revenge has players customizing their own combos. All characters are given a set of combo points to spend across three different attacks -- light, medium and hard. Initially, this means that our fighter can pair a hard and light combo, two medium strikes or a four-hit flurry of light attacks. But not all combos are created equal, and you'll find some attacks work better on certain enemies. What's more, there are a number of special combos that will unleash magical attacks for extra damage.

From the retro-themed visuals to the combo-based combat, I like a lot of what Celestial Tear is doing. I see nothing but potential when I look at the few hours packed into this first episode. It's clearly inspired by games I love and the 16-bit style won me over almost immediately. But just like Seinfeld, this debut episode is a little rough.

A big part of the problem comes from the repeated locations and enemies used in both storylines. While it's cool to see events play out from two different points of view, I wish there was more variety between stories. There are a few big differences between the paths, but they aren't enough to keep Celestial Tear from quickly becoming repetitive.

Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The game's weird difficulty spikes certainly don't help. The game will lull you into a false sense of security by throwing simple enemies at our heroes, only to pull the rug out from under our feet and throw frustrating bosses into the mix. It's common to see a boss kill off a party member before they even have a chance to fight back. Worse yet, you won't be able to grind for experience points, since there are only a finite amount of enemies and the game has a funny way of trapping you into tough sections.

It's also a shame that the character options are so limited. While there's loot to find, it's not the typical weapons and armor. Instead of finding new swords, players will pick up items to attach to their equipment. This certainly does the job of increasing stats, but isn't as satisfying as swapping out shields and amulets. And don't expect to shop for the coolest items, because apparently Hasphal doesn't have any retailers.

I'm hoping that the next episode will add in some of these missing elements. I can see the potential for this series, but this first episode is too repetitive and slowly paced. Instead of feeling like the first act of an epic story, Celestial Tear: Demon's Revenge came across as more of a demo. Or worse, a proof of concept.
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