It doesn’t break new ground, but it doesn’t really need to.
When we first heard the name “Epic Battle Fantasy 4,” we can’t exactly say it grabbed us, as it doesn’t sound like the name of a game with very high aspirations for quality or innovation. On the other hand, if there have been three others to date, then there must be something going for them, even if only a stubborn developer, right?
Such were our first impressions of the game. But upon actually playing it, the entire experience turned out to be a very pleasant — and rather addictive — surprise.
To be clear, Epic Battle Fantasy 4 won’t win any prizes for trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s a very basic, by-the-book turn-based role playing game; fortunately, that’s all it really needs to be.
The graphics are not very fancy, but they are varied, as a few different styles are used in different parts. The cutscenes have a paper cut-out look to them, while dialogue boxes, certain attack cutaways, and the battle screen have a Flash-based anime style to them. The characters on the map screen have yet another style, a more super-deformed “chibi” look to them which are seemingly meant to invoke the similar style seen in many old school Japanese RPGs.
The game doesn’t tend to take itself very seriously at all, with writing and characters more rooted in humor than drama, though there is just enough of a hint of menace to drive you forth to do something about it. The characters make all sorts of jokes, cracks, and quips at various times, be it during cutscenes, on the map, or even during battle.
And it is altogether amusing. One of our favorites was the item description for “Liquid Ice,” which states it is a “rare form of ice only found in warm climates.” However, a few jokes such as the description for the “tentacle” drop (“Its molesting days are over”) or a conversation about one female character’s breasts (which, she notes, make the boys act “retarded”) might turn off some players from what feels like an otherwise all-ages game.
Overall, the experience is very addictive, and time flew by before we knew it as we played. Enemies on the map don’t come at random, and in most cases can be escaped or avoided without penalty (and you can adjust the difficulty of the game at most any time outside of battle).
The enemies don’t even approach you, but you’ll likely seek out confrontations wherever they may be, as the combat is especially fun. The inclusion of certain items which lead to random attacks for your allies between turns adds a dynamic element which makes it kind of addictive. There’s nothing like an armless cat with a sword suddenly showing up and slashing every enemy on screen, sometimes taking several of them out at once, or when Lance summons his pet tank from off-screen to rain down gunfire and cannon blasts upon the enemy.
The Epic Battle Fantasy 4 package is tied up with a bit of depth regarding building up your characters’ skills and weapons, and comes with some nice music and an easy point-and-click interface. It may not break any new ground among RPGs, but it provides a really solid, fun, and addictive experience that we enjoyed every moment that we played.