Resident Fantasy I
The game puts you in the heels of Koudelka, a gipsy prostitute medium that finds herself in Nemeton Monastery, at the behest of a ghost that called to her. It's not too soon before she meets Edward, a man of vices and maybe a few virtues. Last to join the party is father James, a man of religion and literature. These three will bicker, fight and bond their way through the mysteries surrounding Nemeton Monastery, it's eccentric inhabitants and the creepy monsters seeking to make mincemeat out of our heroes. While the story is nothing to write home about, the main three characters are very interesting, and as unlikely as JRPG heroes get, and there're a few very poignant scenes that make you fall in love with them. The game's monster design also deserves praise, these monsters are creepy and brilliantly designed, some of these are unlike anything you've fought in any other JRPG or Survival Horror game before!
Battles are fought by turns, dictated by your party's agility as well as the enemies' agility. There're some strategic elements at play as well, you can move character through an invisible grid, you need to be in range if you are to attack enemies with melee weapons, but guns can bypass having to run towards your enemy, or you can simply use magic. You've to be careful though, ammunition is limited, and every melee weapon will break eventually.
Speaking of building characters, when you level up you'll be granted 4 Ability Points to spread among the characters' stats. While you could build them in any way you want, you should strengthen their strengths instead of trying to play against archetypes or building jack of all trades. Koudelka's built as a mage, so making her a tank or a melee character will handicap yourself in the long run, while Edward is supposed to be your main tank as well as your main attacker! James is a little bit unique in this way, as his stats lend himself to act as a secondary tank, a melee attacker or another mage... but Magic is so useful and important in the game, that he's better off as an off-tank mage!
Koudelka was fantastic. I liked the survival horror/JRPG mixture, I loved the cast of characters and I enjoyed the combat system. It has its issues, some design choices clash with each other, and it's a very short game... but it's a very enjoyable one.
8.0 out of 10