Evolution - Preview

A very promising Dreamcast RPG from the makers of Treasure Hunter G

By Alex Kimbel, RPGamer Writer

In a forest
Evolution boasts nice graphics and realtime cutscenes

   RPGs exploded in 1998. From Parasite Eve to Breath of Fire III, they were everywhere. It's already 1999 and RPGs are looking to have another big year. But, that doesn't necessarily mean all of the RPGs will be winners. Despite the fact most of them look great, there is the possibility that a few of them will be less than good. Plus, with all the hype surrounding Final Fantasy VIII, there are many RPGs that won't get the attention they deserve. Will Evolution be one of them? Let's take a look.

   Featuring a fully polygonal world, colorful and Anime-ish characters, and all around great graphics, Evolution does look promising. Many have said it's very similar to two popular Super Famicom Square games. The first being Treasure Hunter G. Well, why not? Sting, who worked on that title (Which was never released in the U.S., by the way), are the developers of Evolution. The other is Chrono Trigger. And any game that has similarities to Chrono Trigger is, in my book, very promising.

   Gameplay is more like "classic" RPGs: Simple menu-driven battles, exploring, and interacting with NPCs and other characters. Battles are nearly identical to those in Final Fantasy VII, with a somewhat active time battle system and the menu-based commands we have come to know (And love?). Spells are half the fun of battle, as intricate animations provide much eye candy for the player. Enemies are seen as you roam the dungeon (like SaGa Frontier and Earthbound), and bosses are huge..

   In most RPGs, the story affects the gameplay, right? Not in Evolution. Your actions will affect how the story is played out, straying away from what most RPGs tend to do. And what about that story anyway? Evolution is set in a world much like that of Final Fantasy VI's. It's fairly technologically advanced, but not to the point of the technology in say, Final Fantasy VII. You play as Mag, who is searching for the history to his people's evolution (hence the name Evolution). Along the way you discover a strange machine, which you must uncover the use of. Sounds pretty simple, but since when have RPG storylines been simple?

   Evolution has potential. A whole damn lot of it. It has already been released in Japan and guess what? The reviews are good. Though it may be overshadowed by the monstrous Final Fantasy VIII (like many other RPGs this year), don't count it out. In fact, I'd be looking out for this one.

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