Exist Archive looks great, but it has a lot to prove


It’s nothing special so far

When Spike Chunsoft and tri-Ace announced Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky, I was supremely impressed with the visual style. As it turns out it looks even better in person, as I witnessed during my hands-on time with the TGS build.

From a gameplay standpoint though I have some concerns, mostly stemming from the repetitive nature of the flow.

As you can probably tell, Exist Archiveis one of the better-looking games of the year. This is even true in the menu screens, which are dynamically presented with views of crushed worlds, feeding into the narrative that involves a mysterious alien planet that hosts a battle between multiple Gods.

Within the demo I had the option to tweak/change my party of four, which I opted to forgo in the interest of time (plus, the text was in Japanese). The game seems to be mission-based, but is heavily reliant on an RPG presentation, right down to lengthy conversations between party members (which are all fully voiced) and various interludes that contain story progression.

You’ll get through these missions in a 2D Metroidvania manner, with light platforming elements, and ranged/melee attacks. Like Chrono Triggeror Lunar the enemies are visible on-screen before battles engage, but once you touch a foe it triggers a battle scene reminiscent of so many classic JRPGs. I was expecting something much more complicated, but based on the demo, it seems like you only need to select an area in which you wish to attack, and characters will blast that area.

Each party member’s battle animations are incredibly stylish, complete with sweet flips with dual-wielding pistols from one particular character. Right now the framerate isn’t the greatest in and out of combat, which might be a result of the fact that it’s an earlier build. The game isn’t even out in Japan yet.

Exist Archivehas a lot to prove in my mind. Right now the framerate isn’t ideal, combat seems rather shallow, and the platforming sequences aren’t quite thrilling enough. I wasn’t able to fully experience the story however beyond gists here and there, so hopefully that’s where it will grab me. As usual, I’m holding out for the finished version to make a full judgment — if it ever gets localized.