Stella Deus - Review  

The Gate of Eternity and Catacombs of Boredom
by kupomogli

25 - 30 hours


Rating definitions 

   Recently released by Atlus, Stella Deus seems to be an attempted recreation of Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth, a game released by Atlus for the PSX, as well as one not being recieved well due to it's faulty gameplay and difficulty.

   You are Spero, a young man from Porta who wants to help his friend Viser save the world from the spreading Miasma. Finding out that Viser and other people that use spirit energy are the reason why the Miasma is spreading and the world is being destroyed in the first place, which helps him make the decision of searching for the Gate of Eternity. However, this is about all the storyline is, as almost the entire quest is about searching for the Gate of Eternity. The game does add some religious tones to it, but they are only there to show how weak all the NPC characters are, and actually having a reason for the heroes to fight alone.

Beautiful character designs. Beautiful character designs.

   In battles, they are just about exactly the same as Hoshigami, except some added differences. Just like Hoshigami, each character has 100AP which restores after you end their turn, and the characters being able to move a certain distance, as well as attack multiple times by using a certain amount of AP each action. The problem with this system, is that rather than using any other strategy, the only real strategy this game has is playing keep away while attacking any enemy that gets close, making it almost impossible to lose any battle, and rarely getting to a point where you need to gain levels. Added to the game however, is the ability to learn skills through SP gained from attacking enemies and changing classes when your stats increase. Most of these abilities raise your stat points by a percentage or resist effects, while the others are special abilities, however, there are others called effect zones. Effect Zones help allies or hinder enemies depending on which one is equipped, and only work when the enemy or ally is in the characters effect zone range, which end up causing an enemies movement to double, or restore HP to allies once the turn is ended.

   On the map screen, you have your status screens, as well your basic town, letting you buy equipment, or go to the guild which you can take on quests like on Final Fantasy Tactics or Arc the Lad 3, getting you extra money, allies, or even items. Also in the guild, is the ability to fuse two items together in order to get another item, the choice being yours of which two items to use, giving you a huge array of possibilities, and even being able to create some extremely powerful weapons and armor way before you're able to purchase them regularly. The final thing on the world map is the optional dungeon called the Catacombs of Trial, which should be called something like the Catacombs of Boredom instead, because that's exactly what it is. Each floor in the catacombs is a random battle of enemies, all the enemies being on the same level as the floor number, and the bad thing is, is if you've never needed to go to the catacombs until you're on level 25-30, you'll have to start at the first floor and make your way up no matter what level you're on.

Anime-ish characters are good. Anime-ish characters are good.

   The graphics are good in some areas, but disappointing in others, where the character designs are beautiful, and the maps look great, but when it comes to the animation, it's just really poorly done, reusing frames from regular attacks to many of the team attacks, and special abilities. The game also featured some well done anime type movies which seem to be done in cel-shading and look incredibly beautiful. The games music reuses the same few tracks over and over again, none of the music ever sounding that good. The sound effects are just as bad, having some of the worst for any PS2 game period, and reusing the sound effects even more than the music. Voice acting that was done on this game however was done well and was some of the best I've heard since the Growlanser Generations release.

   Overall, this title features a boring and repetitive storyline, a faulty battle system in which you play keep away rather than use any sortof strategy. I would recommend this to no one, and actually advise players to stay away from this title as it was one of the worst RPG's the PS2 has to offer.

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