Sometimes you just want to play an old-school RPG, where you get into battles, kill hordes of enemies, and save the world from some dark evil god or something. Hexyz Force is just the game for you in this situation, and though it even comes with some depth to the combat, it also comes with a lot of flaws that prevent it from being more than just a stereotypical jRPG.

Much of the gameplay looks pretty standard on the surface: you walk around dungeons and a couple towns (mostly dungeons here though), running into monsters, starting battles, picking up treasure, you know the drill. Things are a little different in Hexyz Force when it comes to combat, though. First, weapons are divided into Spirifacts and Ragnafacts. The former are expendable pieces of equipment, devices which have a good amount of power to them, but with each use of their various abilities, whether it's attacking an enemy of healing allies, depletes their durability. Get it to zero, and the spirifact is useless.

Ragnafacts are different, though. There are not very many of them, but they're valuable weapons for a variety of reasons. First, using their abilities only requires the ragna points of the weapon's holder. Ragna points can be recovered via special recovery points scattered throughout the dungeon, by levelling up, or simply by defending in battle. Every attack requires ragna points, even the simplest ones, which mean rationing them unless there's a recovery point nearby, lest you get caught in combat with no means of attacking at all.

What makes ragnafacts so useful though is the ability to upgrade their strength and abilities. By fighting monsters, you'll earn force points, which can be used to increase the ragnafacts' power, add more abilities, or decrease the amount of ragna points used in attacks. The upgrading isn't bad, but it feels a little simple, merely throwing force points at a weapon to make it stronger.

Combat in Hexyz Force is simple, using abilities that take ragna points, but there're also something called force burst attacks, devastating blows that can wipe out enemies in one blow, bosses in a couple more. All you need to do to unleash one of these powerful attacks is to fill a gauge by attacking enemies or taking damage. The biggest problem with these moves is that they can trivialize any battle. Bosses go in a few hits, groups of powerful enemies can go down in one. Things just become too simple, and all challenge in the game is basically removed.

There's also another aspect of combat involving exploiting weaknesses and using yor weapon's 'aspect' to string together aspect combos and raise attacks or something. The game doesn't really do a good job explaining it, and it doesn't really matter anyway, since it doesn't seem to make any difference whatsoever. Besides, any result you might get by planning out attack orders and whatnot is completely overshadowed by simply attacking over and over again.

Though you can find equipment scattered in the odd chests here and there, most of your equipment is made through fusion, the game's crafting mechanic. Since the game doesn't actually have stores available to purchase items, you use loot gathered from enemies to construct spirifacts as well as other armor and accessories. It's an interesting mechanic, and gives a purpose to fighting enemies beyond just experience points. Unfortunately, since there's no real list of what enemies drop what, and since everything is random, it's a crapshoot as to what equipment you'll have at any given time.

Though the game's combat isn't too bad (when it's not being trivialized by burst attacks), one of its biggest problems is the story and dialogue. There are two storylines, one following a young cleric named Cecilia, the other following a young knight named Levant. Each have their own characters and storyline, though there is some intersection in the plot between the two. Unfortunately pretty much every area is shared between the two characters, so if you're looking for variety between the two plotlines then you're out of luck. The plot is fairly standard, involving a dark god of destruction as well as chasing down a man who's trying to bring him out because, I don't know, he's a jerk. Or something.

It's standard, and normally that would be alright, but it's really the dull characters and the really boring dialogue that brings the game down, and hard. The worst part about the dialogue isn't just that it's slow and trivial, it's that there's just so much of it. Two characters will argue pointlessly about who is lazier, going back and forth between them, for dozens of lines of dialogue, and in a simple jRPG that's about killing monsters and dungeons, that's just far too much. It gets old really quick, and for the first time in my entire memory of playing games, I found myself skipping past dialogue simply because it was so useless.

If I were forced to summarize Hexyz Force in a sentence, I think I'd go with: "Standard fare, don't expect much." It's not terrible, but it's not going to shatter any expectations. There's a lot of gameplay in the game, if you enjoy it, but there're a lot of flaws in the system. In short, if you're really aching for a jRPG fix, then you might get a kick out of Hexyz Force. I'd recommend you wait otherwise, there're better titles out there.