HomeReviewLegend of the Tetrarchs Review – Nintendo Switch
Legend of the Tetrarchs Review – Nintendo Switch
June 19, 2019
Developed By: Exe Create Inc
Published By: KEMCO
Reviewed by – Alex Laybourne
Thank you so much to KEMCO for providing a review code
Introducing the Tetrarchs
Legend of the Tetrarchs is a fantasy JRPG developed by Exe Create Inc and published by Kemco.
For many, that statement could be enough to turn away and read something different, and I get that. Kemco certainly has a reputation for quantity over quality when it comes to the games they produce, but is that the case for Tetrarchs?
Is it another generic title, or did they put out a hidden diamond?
Learn the Legend of the Tetrarchs
The story of Legend of the Tetrarchs is a classic one. Good versus evil and essentially heaven versus hell.
The Tetrarchs were ancient beings from the Firmament (think heaven) that were sent to sleep 600 years ago after defeated evil and closing a gate to hell, thus saving the world.
For some reason the legend spoke that one such heavenly warrior, Lloyd – a heroic name if ever there was one – would wake and close the seal for good. This would happen by removing the holy sword, which acted as a lock and using his power of light to close the gate and seal hell away forever.
However, one of the Tetrarchs has turned to the forces of evil, driven by a lust for power. After, slaughtering an entire town and the hero you are introduced to in the opening scene, the game is finally ready to begin. If you watch the scenes and read the dialogue, there’s about 40 minutes of cut scenes before the game really starts. There is a single training fight that was over in a single blow thrown into the middle, but that was all.
The initial story is split into two main plot lines. You have Len, whose close ‘brother’ Edward is slain by the evil Tetrarch, and is on a desperate quest for revenge. He is joined on his way by his close friend and sole survivor of the village massacre at the story of the game, and a young Aegis guard who, unlike the rest of his guardsman, is not evil and so get swept up into the story.
The second angle is that of the Tetrarchs. There are a lot of cut scenes showing their story and interactions. Yet, the main gameplay focuses around Len and his friends.
At the end of the day, the story is generic. It’s one that has been told a hundred times before. Most of the time it has been done better, but sometimes worse. That is the core problem with this game, its pure love of mediocrity. There is nothing wrong with the story, or how it’s played out. It is just that it is entirely unremarkable. The characters are flat and there’s little to distinguish them from one another and that makes it hard to get truly invested in the story, but ultimately, you don’t care which of them lives or dies.
Lose Yourself in the Grind
Much like the story itself, there is nothing wrong with the gameplay mechanics in Legend of the Tetrarchs. It’s perfectly fine. There in lies the main problem.
The game is, as I mentioned, a JRPG, so you know what to expect going in. Turn-based battles, XP, BP, SP, and any other point based system the developers decided to try.
The game has these point based systems, for sure, and there are grinding elements, especially when exploring the seemingly barren world beyond the walls of the different locations.
What the game is missing is a challenge. Playing the game never felt like a challenge and there are several contributing factors to it.
Leveling Up Has Never Been so Unsatisfying
You level up really fast in the game, and just following the single storyline you hit so many achievements that you are rich within the first hour or so of gameplay. This means you can upgrade your weapons and protective items to max strength very quickly. In turn, this means that you breeze through most battles without coming close to losing your life.
In fact, during the grinding battles you rarely even need a second turn and often don’t get through the full party set of characters.
On top of this, health and SP are replenished at the end of every battle, which means there is no need for tactical thought. I went through fifty battles in a row using the same combination of special moves for my three characters because, I knew everything would be replenished, so there was no need to hold back. This made the game beyond repetitive, and in my mind went beyond the concept of grinding and into the territory of poor design. Think back to the top of this piece where we mentioned the concept of quantity over quality.
A Great Looking Game
For what it lacks in terms of technicality, Legend of the Tetrarchs looks nice. The characters may be one dimensional in speech, but they look great with their 16-bit style, and the wing designs of the Tetrarchs themselves were a very nice touch.
While the game is not a AAA title, and cannot be compared to some of the larger JRPG’s of this style, such as Octopath Traveler, it was pleasing to see the worlds that were built. The cities were small, but open, every building could be explored. The chambers where the Tetrarchs lay in slumber, were nicely laid out and looked good.
The soundtrack was also decent, but inconsistent. Long periods with no score at all, which coupled with the utter lack of voice acting made it a bit of a tiring experience. Then there were some odd sound choices, which included the ocean while exploring the insides of a Tetrarch chamber nowhere near the coast. It worked as an effect, as it was mixed with other sound clips, but when listening with a critical ear, it grew worse with each scene.
The Game Runs Like A Dream
When it comes to performance it is hard to find something negative to say. The movement speed of the character is first class. As too are the loading screens between scenes. You could barely make out the loading percentage as it went by too fast.
There are also options to increase the speeds of battle and even an auto-fight option that takes away the monotony of the grind and does it all for you, should you be so inclined.
Good Performance Doesn’t Make Up For a Sub-Par Product
There is nothing wrong with Legends of the Tetrarchs. There is just nothing outstanding about it. Could it be a fun game for youngsters to get into the JRPG genre? Maybe, the simplicity of it would suggest so, but the uninspiring story and the weak characters would make it a slog even for children, and at the risk of pushing them away from this style of game. It is clear that the developers know what they are doing, and that they are competent and understand the requirements and concepts of a JRPG. It is just sad that the game got sacrificed by the ‘get it to market’ mentality. Had a bit more time been spent on things, then there is no doubt that Legend of the Tetrarchs could have been a much better game than it is now.
Sadly, however, it has to be ranked among the more disappointing titles on the Switch. A machine that has so much great content, from the AAA studios down to fantastic (N)indies that it means this is a game destined to be forgotten.
Visually the characters look really nice.
The game performance is high quality.
Characters are flat and one dimensional. It’s hard to tell them apart.
The games fight mechanics made it an effortless and thoughtless affair.
HP and SP restored after every fight regardless, removing all tactics from battle.