Some of the greatest games ever made were made on consoles. There is no denying this fact. Games like Final Fantasy, Mario, or the Legend of Zelda. Games that are considered masterpieces, and have a generally huge fanbase, a fanbase which these games obviously deserve. And since there are so many amazing console games, why wouldn’t talented game developers want to recreate the experience of great console games on the PC. Some of the most well loved console games are RPGs. Console style RPG’s are very rare, and very hard to recreate. It takes a very talented group of individuals to make such a game. Luckily, the group of developers known as Tomoshibi are able to make quality 3D console style RPG’s the likes of which I have never seen in the freeware community before. Luckily for us that is, because we, the gamers, have the chance to play the finished products, and the finished product that Tomoshibi created when they created BraveGear Tribute could go down as one of the most professional freeware RPG’s ever made. There’s only one problem. BraveGear Tribute...is in JAPANESE. BUT it is STILL AWESOME.
I don’t know much about the story, because the Japanese language is not in my vocabulary. But here is what I managed to piece together. You play as a boy who lives in a world where gears hold the key to the mysteries surrounding
the ruins of ancient civilizations. Once all of the gears are in place, something wondrous will happen, and his sister is forcing him to go on the quest to find out what that something is. I’m sure once this game is translated to English it will have an amazing story, but at the moment, I have not much of an idea what it is about. Which is OK, because you can still have fun with the wonderful gameplay. This game is separated into six chapters, and when you save at the end of the credits in one chapter, you can restore your game at the beginning of the next chapter. This is an effective way of keeping your stats, items, and weapons. In the extras section of this game’s page, you will find a Menu Guide I wrote, to help you learn how to properly use the menus in this game.
Besides being like your normal console RPG, this game has a few things going for it that you don’t even see in some console RPGs. One of the gears you control is an area where you can store food. You can buy food as healing items and restore yourself with it by summoning this particular gear. The range of food is not too shabby, and by Chapter 5, you’ll see too many food items to remember. The same goes for weapons. There are not only tons of weapons, with varying stats and powers, but there are separate weapon classes as well. The creators of this game get a great loud helping of applause for putting such diversity into the game. The same goes for enemies. Though you see a lot of the same types of enemies, each enemy looks slightly different as the game progresses, and you even see a few new faces by the beginning of the next chapter. At the end of each chapter awaits a terrifying boss, and, to avoid spoiling too much, I have only screenshotted two of them. They are amazing, have a separate strategy for defeating each, and must be seen for the first time to be fully appreciated. As can be expected, by defeating a certain number of enemies, you eventually reach 100% in your stats, and your character levels up. After Chapter 2, you will have two characters in your party. Remember, you must level up each character separately. The weapons and equipable items in the game, like necklaces and rings, each have a meter when equipped. This meter shows how close you are to mastering each equipable item. Once the item or weapon is mastered, it reaches the full extent of it’s power. I recommend mastering your items before facing the chapters boss. Each town you visit has an inn, a weapons shop, and a food market. Sleeping at the inn will help you regain stats, and the rest you can figure out for yourself. The outside areas and dungeons tend to be huge, with many places to explore. The areas and dungeons start out smaller in Chapter 1, then get lengthier and wider as the game progresses.
This game is played in a full 3D environment, with the camera following the player from behind or overhead. Normally you do not have to worry about bad camera angles, but they can be a problem at times. Though you only see this problem normally in some dungeons. The graphical quality of this game shows a bit of age, but for a freeware game, it’s at it’s very best. Liken it to an early PS2 game. The animation quality is very fluid, and each enemy and character has a set of animations for different things, except for the NPC’s in the towns. Each enemy has a varied set of attacks that are shown on the screen, and the enemies also have respective death animations, though most of these consist of getting knocked down. Some bosses have less elaborate death sequences than some may like, and some bosses have no death sequences at all, even though a cutscene always follows the death of a boss. The musical scheme in BraveGear sounds entirely orchestrated, and each tune is very beautiful, though some can also be creepy or hectic. Lets face it, there are some pretty creepy settings in this game.
I have to say, if more games with this sort of quality make their way onto the freeware scene, then the line between professional games and freeware games may blur considerably. I feel very happy to have found and played this game, and even though I know I’m probably hyping too much, I loved this game, and I think you will too. I mean, I know I couldn’t make a game with so many weapons, areas, enemies, characters, and bosses. Nor could I orchestrate the music, or code the interesting cutscenes. I think Tomoshibi have done an amazing job bringing such a professional game to the freeware scene, and reminding us of the old console RPGs, or even of some of the newer ones. You’re going to have a great time with this game, and I hope someday it can be translated to English, so that you can enjoy it’s story, and fully experience it the way the developers intended. BraveGear Tribute gets a full five carrots.
Review by: Secret Fawful