E3 2015: Find your destiny wherever you go in Zodiac

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While many games at E3 are shown off on giant screens and others are shown on the show floor with demo stations, there remains games like Zodiac that are only showed behind closed doors to a limited amount of people. Zodiac is afree-to-Play RPG developed by European game developer Kobojo Games and they have partnered with legends Hitoshi Sakimoto and Kazushige Nojima (Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Valkyria Chronicles) to write the story and music in order to create a beautiful hand drawn cross platform 2D RPG. Zodiac marks the first time that iconic Japanese developers have worked with a Western studio to create a JRPG — the team over at Kobojo stretches from France to Scotland to Tokyo.

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Set in the fantasy world, Orcanon, it’s riddled with secrets for your party members to discover as they navigate through the multiple locations while engaging in combat with all sorts of mythical creatures. Your party will consist of characters who can draw upon the powers and abilities of 12 different gods, each with their own unique skills, and thanks to the flexible skill system you can change your skills and professions on the fly to adapt to the battles at hand. The world of Orcanon has fallen into turmoil and its up to you to discover and stop whatever is causing the current and imminent destruction of the world.

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During my hands-on with Zodiac I got to try out quite a bit, I started out in a prison type area with my first objective assigning me the objective of escaping. While in this dungeon, I had access to a flying Gryphon which appears to be the main way of traversing in the demo. While exploring, I was able to talk to other captives and guards in the prison and while some were mere background conversations, others asked questions or offered subtle advice for escaping. Occasionally, while flying around you will see distortions which are the games encounter system for battles, giving you the choice of when to fight and when to lay low, and while some were obvious and easy to avoid others were more difficult to see and moved faster forcing me into combat.

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Combat is a traditional turn based system which you would expect for a game that comes from a studio that has partnered up with some of JRPG’s greatest creators. Turn order is based on individual character stats and similar to games like FFX, you can see the upcoming turn order so that you can plan out your engagements. Each character had a unique attack style which may be tied to their current choice for profession or alignment to a certain god. My party consisted of 3 characters, the first was a character referred to as Loc, an Avatar who appears to be the one who you’ll have the most developmental control over as well as learning more about him as the story progresses. Second was a woman named Kadyn which bears resemblance to Harpies from Greek and Roman mythology and wields a blade similar to a fencing style. The final character was an Alchemist who mixed chemicals in combat in order to create concoctions to either aide allies or damage foes.

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After combat, enemies will occasionally drop chest-like loot from the different enemies that were in combat. This is one of the first occurrences where micro-transactions start to appear, by spending a certain type of gem (which can be found in the story as well) to open the chest multiple times for a chance at different drops or multiples of one that you already received. Another feature I am eager to try out is MMO’esque which allows you to summon a character from a friend’s game to aid you in combat. I have always enjoyed RPG’s like Eternal Sonata and the various Tales games where my friends can join up and control another member of my party instead of me relying on the AI to cast spells or follow up my combos on the fly. But the best part is, this game will be mobile so I can take it anywhere.

While I was only privy to a small taste of Zodiac, it definitely kept me entertained and intrigued at what could be coming next and what else the team over at Kobojo Games is creating.  I suppose I will just have to keep watching the trailer and make guesses about what destinies will unfold while I eagerly await the full release later this year.

Zodiac is scheduled to release in 2015 on multiple platforms including iOS and Playstation Vita.

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