|Dev: Nippon Ichi Software|
|Pub: NIS America|
|Release: November 5, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Fantasy Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes|
Plus, there's the Divinigram. As I mentioned earlier, wearing and using equipment's skills gets them closer to being able to Burst when a special skill is used. When one bursts, Renya gets a chip to place on his Divinigram in Celestia. Think of it as a cousin to Final Fantasy X's Sphere Grid or Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman's Body Modification system. It's a board with spots for chips that can increase his base attack, defense, speed, and hit ratio. Success only comes by diving into completed dungeons multiple times with new equipment or items reset at the blacksmith to improve Renya's base stats even more.
Both are much appreciated, as The Guided Fate Paradox gets very difficult, very quickly. Players will find the introductory dungeon was just that, an easier-than-usual tutorial to lull them into a false sense of security before everything ramps up. Still, I couldn't fault the game for that, since that's what rogue-likes do. It's a challenge, and by buying the game, you accept it. It's then up to skilled players to put in the effort necessary to master it. Will there be cheap shots, and will you lose some incredible items you'd been hoarding away? Yes. Go in accepting that, and be prepared to grind dungeons a few times for more items and levels, and you'll have the time of your life.
Though, sometimes, it may feel like The Guided Fate Paradox is cheating just a bit. It's tempting to stock up on exits and use them whenever you suffer the misfortune of getting tossed into an area with more aberrations than you can beat down, or come close to failing. Except the game actually wants you to die a handful of times. That's the only way certain additional gameplay elements are explained and offered up. As much as I've enjoyed the game, it did feel unfair, and was another knock against an otherwise wonderful experience.
It may sound complicated, reading about The Guided Fate Paradox's various methods for improving new God Renya, but it's much simpler in motion. In fact, the entire experience feels very effortless, and after a few rounds in the Copy World, I felt like I was a rogue-like pro. It gave me more opportunity to enjoy the soundtrack and character art. The backing tracks are appropriately wistful and divine in Celestia, and some of the tracks sound downright regal, which is appropriate, given the subject matter. Also fitting are the character designs by The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya artist Noizi Ito. They're more mature and detailed than the typical NIS America cast, which lends itself well to a game with more gravitas like this. The English voice acting does get a bit spotty at times, but the original Japanese voice acting is there as an option to eliminate that issue.
Though The Guided Fate Paradox is a very difficult game, with the danger of being overwhelmed and losing everything you've worked for constantly looming overhead, I can’t get over how streamlined, easy to understand, and enjoyable this particular adventure is. Renya's tale of stumbling into being named God, and then doing everything possible to use that newfound power to help others, is inspirational, and the individual prayers that must be answered are entertaining. It's helped by the fact that the dungeon crawling is quite entertaining, and the array of different equipment for him and the angels, as well as frequent story segments, keeps the affair from being tedious. There isn't even a sense of futility, as every excursion makes Renya stronger and more capable. If you put effort into The Guided Fate Paradox, and don't give up after it cheerfully and beautifully beats you into submission a few times, you'll enjoy a memorable adventure.
Date: October 28, 2013