I thought I'd seen it all, really. Until Resonance of Fate. I have never come across a battle system that is so unrelentingly punishing. Ever. In 20 years of playing video games. First off, and I know I'm not alone here, how can a game this unyielding not provide a decent tutorial system? When I was finally allowed to go to the arena and learn, it didn't help because I'd already learned all that basic stuff from hitting my head against a wall for 5-6 hours.
The saddest part about all of this is that it doesn't seem like a terribly complex system! It only seems that way because: 1. You die ALL THE TIME. 2. They provide you with nothing but the most basics of combat.
Every time I die, I feel like it's because they implemented some idiotic quirk into the newest monster, and I just have to figure it out through dying repeatedly.
And now that I have the basics of the combat system down, it's just a repetitive grindfest. Harder enemies will take forever, too, and you'll often be stuck having to go through a dungeon all at once. That can take a couple hours when you include all the times you'll die, not to mention the fact that you can't save or back out without going through it all again.
While that time might not matter to some of you, it matters a lot to me. It's hard for me to justify making that kind of a time commitment to something that I don't even enjoy that much.
This game has some tremendous main characters, what appears to be an interesting plot, nice music, and stunning graphics. Those are not insignificant achievements. But I can't think of another gameplay system that I have so genuinely disliked more than this one.
(It's worth it to say that I didn't even mention the difficult-to-grasp world map system. You need look look no farther than to see the number of topics dealing with the colored hexes and terminals to see the kinds of problems people are having. There's NO reason to create a system in this manner.)