Attending G-Star to preview Netmarble's upcoming title, DEMIS RE:BORN, offered a deep dive into a game that stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of RPGs. I've played my fair share of game like this one, and it is a style that is hard to innovate with. Set in the expansive Grand Cross universe, this game, slated for release in 2024 across multiple platforms, offers a unique blend of traditional gameplay and strong storytelling.
At the heart of DEMIS RE:BORN is the concept of the Grand Cross, a phenomenon intertwining different dimensions, introducing 'Transcendents' and 'OOPARTS' (Out-of-place artifacts) into the game's world. "The Grand Cross refers to the phenomenon of a dimension connecting with another dimension... Based on this basic setup, Demis Re:born has a basic storyline in which the protagonist works with several Transcendents to retrieve an OOPARTS that could bring danger to the world," explained one of the developers. This narrative framework not only drives the plot but also enriches the game's setting, offering a backdrop filled with mystery and intrigue. In what I experienced playing, it's clear that a lot of thought and effort went into this portion of the game, and is something that is likely to resonate with fans of this game time.
The Nuance of Player-Character Interaction
While the game follows a predetermined narrative, the developers have crafted a system where player choices impact their relationship with the characters. "Demis Re:born is... not a format where the narrative changes based on the interactions between the players and the characters... However, the player will be able to gradually increase their intimacy with the character through interaction," the development team shared. While I wasn't able to fully experience this system in the time I got to play, the interactions were already evident, and something I was eager to experiment more with. This mechanism allows players to delve deeper into each character's backstory, enhancing the game's emotional depth and personal connection.
Strategic and Dynamic Combat System
DEMIS RE:BORN offers a combat system that strikes a balance between automation and player engagement. The game focuses on team dynamics, where players combine four characters, each with unique abilities. "The basic combat is automatic... Active Skills and Transcendence are controlled by the user during combat," the developers detailed.
This system encourages players to think strategically, deciding when to deploy these powerful skills. Additionally, the Action View feature offers an immersive experience, allowing players to rotate the camera and zoom in on the characters, adding a cinematic quality to battles. However, besides looking flashy, the combat system doesn't offer anything particularly exciting, and is probably the least engaging part of the game.
Global Contributions and Character Design
The global influence on DEMIS RE:BORN is evident in its diverse character roster and narrative depth. The development team highlighted how international creators have contributed to the broader Grand Cross IP, enriching the game's universe with varied perspectives. However, the character designs and scenarios within DEMIS RE:BORN are uniquely crafted by the team, ensuring a distinct and cohesive identity within the Grand Cross universe.
Graphical Finesse and Emotional Resonance
The visual presentation in DEMIS RE:BORN is a key factor in defining the player's experience. It was by far my favorite part. The developers emphasized their commitment to graphical excellence and emotional storytelling. "We are thinking deeply about our own interpretation... In terms of design, we're trying to maintain the identity of the original IP, and we are working to bring our very-own design," they stated. This approach, coupled with the detailed backstories and evolving relationships with characters, promises an RPG experience that is as visually stunning as it is emotionally charged.
World Map and Gameplay Features
The world map in DEMIS RE:BORN is designed to offer more than just a navigational tool; it's an integral part of the gameplay experience. Obviously it's not as impressive as the aesthetics in cutscenes, but it's still very appealing and fun — clearly inspired by the likes of Pokémon and Animal Crossing. "We are trying to fully show the charm of the transcendents through main quests and subquests within the world map," said the developer, highlighting the game's exploration, collection, and puzzle elements. This multi-faceted approach to the world map sets DEMIS RE:BORN apart, offering players a rich and varied experience that extends beyond traditional RPG mechanics.
A Promising Addition to the RPG Genre
DEMIS RE:BORN emerges as a game that, while rooted in familiar RPG elements, offers a least something to be a fun addition to the genre. Its blend of a compelling, dimension-spanning narrative, strategic combat, and deep character interactions, all set within a visually stunning world, positions it as a promising title for RPG enthusiasts.
The game’s emphasis on aesthetic quality, emotional depth, and innovative gameplay features makes it a standout addition to Netmarble's Grand Cross universe. As we await its 2024 release, DEMIS RE:BORN promises to be a game that not only captivates visually but also resonates emotionally with its players.
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