There are plenty of reasons to be cautiously optimistic about this one.

by Jason Venter

It’s not available in North America quite yet, but logic says Chaos Rings 3 will arrive here eventually. Ahead of that possible launch, Shaun Musgrave at Touch Arcade put some considerable time into the import and put together a lengthy hands-on preview that paints a mostly rosy picture of the game’s future once it crosses the ocean.

“I find myself constantly going back to it, even when I have other things I need to do,” writes Musgrave. “That should clarify perhaps the biggest concern about the game, I’d hope. This is a very good game, and a very good RPG. At the same time, I’m a bit torn about a few things, and I have worries about a few others.”

One of the first things Musgrave mentions is a lack of in-app purchases. The game is yours once you pay for it up front, at least in the current iteration. However, that doesn’t mean the game was always developed with such an approach in mind.

“It feels like that choice was made very late in the game’s development,” Musgrave adds. “All of the earmarks are here, including multiple currencies, collecting random characters from a gatchapon-style draw, fusion and evolution, daily login bonuses, and even the ability to use your rare currency to buy a World Of Tanks-style premium account subscription to earn more experience and cash for a period of time.”

The game also employs a brighter aesthetic style, as you might have noticed, and Musgrave offers reassurances that underneath the cheery exterior, there’s some dark stuff at play.

“In a way,” says Musgrave, “the bright colors are meant to fool you into feeling a certain way, but as I haven’t quite finished the game yet, I can’t say with any authority how well it ends up delivering on its current flirtations. It’s neither as dark as the older games nor as compromised as it initially appeared.”

The game stars a farm boy orphan who is seeking out the lost world of Paradise. Along with his sister and a number of other characters, the orphan boy will complete missions to advance the plot, along with side missions. Cutscenes add character development and comic relief.

Musgrave also discussed the mission grounds, which now take advantage of 3D, though apparently not to any remarkable effect: “They’re not usually very big, and they’re made up of two or three visually distinct sections connected by spokes. You’ll occasionally earn new abilities that will help you navigate them, such as bombs that can knock down walls. Treasure chests will be randomly seeded in every time you enter.”

There also are some changes to the combat system, including the ability of party members to team up with compatible attacks or to land extra strikes as a follow-up to critical hits. A lot of systems also return from the previous game, though they don’t necessarily play out in the same manner.

Another system Musgrave discusses is the gene system, which he compares to Persona. Genes can gain skills and gain levels, though characters don’t. He also talks about uses for the in-game currency, known as onze coins, and how that affects the continue system.

“If you fall in battle and you don’t have a continue item, you’ll be kicked out of the mission,” Musgrave writes. “If it’s an optional mission, you’ll have to start from scratch, while if it’s a story mission, anything you did in that mission is still done, but you’ll have to start from the beginning area again and hike back out to carry on. Continue items go for a whopping 15 onze coins a pop, so you should probably be very careful.”

There are plenty of additional impressions in the preview, so be sure to check it out if you’d like more information about the promising title.

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