“Step into the enchanting world of Alphadia, a revitalized epic fantasy RPG series that merges the first two titles, ‘Alphadia I’ and ‘Alphadia II’, into a single, captivating adventure.”
Two RPGs in one, what can go wrong? While a solid package overall, there are some things to be mindful of. The original versions of these games are old enough to drive a car, so put on your retro cap with me as we jump into the world of Alphadia.
First, I’d strongly encourage you to read my review of Alphadia Neo, a much newer game released earlier this same year. Several elements appearing in that game—from the core gameplay to even the music—are present here. So, if you enjoyed that one as I did, you’ll enjoy this package to a fair extent. The Alphadia Genesis games, while also enjoyable, have enough differences to be considered cousins rather than siblings.
The original Alphadia was available on 3DS, and thus might not be as compelling to Switch players familiar with it. I’d already beaten it on the handheld, so I mainly focused on the “updated graphics,” which are a sizable selling point. One on hand, they’ve succeeded on Switch. The colors are more vibrant, movement is smoother, and more of your surroundings are shown off thanks to a wider screen. On the other, a lot of the changes seem to be changes for change’s sake. The character portraits, although the expressions better reflect what’s going on, have the most minor of updates (Ash has green eyes instead of blue, and Eclair’s posture has improved). The same applies to the environments, such as the change in the shape of trees. Overall, it’s still the typical presentation you’ve come to associate with KEMCO games. Not bad, but nothing that stands out on Switch, as the game is dated.
The Switch port also has extras like four in-game difficulty settings (welcomed) and optional ones via DLC. This package also adds “cross events, bridging the stories of I and II” for cohesion. But as I’d already beaten the game and was anxious to dive into the sequel, I exited the first adventure after 7 hours, more or less. It’s worth noting that you can play the games in either order and even jump back and forth between the two.
The sequel takes place a couple of centuries later, and it is interesting to see how previous characters and stories connect. It’s no spoiler to say that Enah’s presence makes sense, and she is a series fixture energi clone lifeform. The plot seemed to grab me more, but whether that was due to having an established tale to build from or just because it was fresher, I can’t say. The idea of having another lead with memory loss, though, reflects why so many of these games lack originality. Developer EXE Create would benefit by exerting more effort into original writing.While a battle arena is a fun extra (seen in some other KEMCO titles), the novelty now is having these games released as a duo rather than any new content. It’s not the story politics of the Energi War (energi is like The Force from Star Wars) that’s the main draw, nor is it the barely legal-aged lead characters. Honestly, you could substitute young male leads across these games from many other KEMCO ones without losing a ton. Even the combat flow with elemental rings and break skills—though comfortingly familiar—are just that: familiar. Again, it’s the presentation as a package for new players, with the added perk of being better looking with some gameplay updates.
That said, one change for change’s sake that proved highly annoying involves purchases. On the 3DS, this was a simple option, as you’d rightly expect. For whatever reason, the extra steps added here make it clunky. You can’t just buy an item any longer. Now, you also have to purchase it and then reconfirm said purchases. It’s more sizable than it sounds. Considering how often you’ll want to upgrade armor and weapons, not to mention getting health items, these extra seconds add up in a head-scratching way.Not everyone can appreciate these KEMCO RPGs. Pure Nintendo is fortunate to have some staffers who can, including my friend, Kirk. When chatting with him about these games, a comment was made that “even lesser pizza is still pizza.” So, while this isn’t the gaming equivalent to the pies you’d find at the CT/NY border, neither is it Mama Celeste.While the Alphadia series is among the best of the KEMCO-published games I’ve played, there’s little doubt they are showing their age. And the minor updates in this package don’t do enough to elevate this beyond your wishlist for a future sale.