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Babel vs. Rainyfrog
Download: 295 KB
Review # 27 for Rainyfrog
Them's Fightin' Words
    The name "Babel" is at once provoking of interest and of a feeling of cliche. You may have the feeling that it is rather FF4-inspired, after all FF4 featured a Tower of Babel idea, did it not? You may feel that this game will be overly biblical in its references. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Babel does have biblical references. It is about the Tower of Babel. But it is also so much more than that. Man, in an attempt to bypass the trial that is life and get straight to Eden (the game's heaven) built the Tower of Babel. However, doing this stripped God of his power and put an end to death. Now you cannot die peacefully, you are reincarnated on the lowest level of the tower. The only way that mankind can be redeemed, and that people can reach Eden, is if the journey up the tower, now filled with deadly monsters, is made. Now if that isn't a good plot for an RPG, what is?

Having sat through the brief intro that explains the above, or skipped it if you would prefer (although I wouldn't recommend you do this unless you've read it all already), you are given the choice of four of the game's intriguing characters with which to play. A short (but by no means lacking) description of each character's background, an overview of their strengths and weaknesses and a description of their special abilities allows you to examine all of them and make a selection based on how you play. This tailoring of the party gives great replay value (as you can retry the game with different party compositions) and allows you to pick either a good range of abilities, or a party with only magic-users with low HP and see if you can survive the game. Babel isn't the first game to use this idea, but it does execute it incredibly well. There's only one feature of the character selection process that I felt was slightly awry, and that was the way that your party seemlessly met with only brief introduction in the first few rooms of the game. Ultimately, however, that doesn't really matter and I'm sure that the later-game plot events will show lots of character interaction. Besides, the quick introductions allow your chosen party to be assembled ready to begin the battle up the tower to Eden.

Ah yes, the battles. Babel's battles are incredible well balanced: the basic physical attacks of your team all do very little damage (or in the case of one of my party members, Kathryn, do no damage but charge up her AP; more on AP below) and you must rely on special attacks to do some real damage or have major effects. However, this is where the game's real challenge begins, as each special attack uses up the character's AP, or Action Points, a resource that is extremely rare. Whilst HP is restored after every battle, AP is not and you find yourself quickly running out if you use these abilities in every battle. Babel gets you to economise in battles like no other game I've played, conserving AP for when you really need it. This challenge is like no other and adds an incredible amount of gameplay to the game, making it at once intresting and challenging. You could just avoid battles, but that's boring and ultimately you find yourself trying to manage your constantly low AP levels. It's great fun!

So far, I have two faults with this game, and these are incredibly minor indeed. The first doesn't even matter to most people - it's that there's one or two niggling grammatical errors. These only really stand up if you're on a subconcious quest for good grammar as I always seem to be, and are things such as "borned", which is grammatically wrong but you know what is meant ("born"). Secondly, there is no music. I imagine this is because Grandtrain did not want to use freeware or ripped music as it wouldn't fit the game, which is good, and hasn't had the time (or doesn't feel he is good enough) to compose his own music. Really, the game is superb without the music. However, some suitably atmos pheric music would go down very well and stop me from playing the game in an eerie silence. Having said that, it means you can just run Winamp in the background and listen to your own music, so people might find this beneficial, especially if they have an MP3 collection with very atmospheric music (which 99.99% of people, unfortunately, do not).

The game shines through these tiny, minor, insignificant faults and they seem almost not to exist. I was so caught up in managing my AP that the lack of music didn't matter, so engrossed in the stories of the characters that I hardly noticed that Kathryn was borned into great wealth. The strengths of this game far surpass its weaknesses, creating a game that is incredibly addictive and even more interesting.

Grandtrain, keep up the good work. I'll be waiting for your next update eaglery. Meanwhile, I'll play through with characters all with low HP and see if I can do it!
Final Scores
Graphics: 8.5/10.0
The graphics, IMO, are superb. The tower looks suitably dark and menacing as to match the game, and the walkabouts fit well. The battle graphics are also of very high quality.
Storyline: 9.5/10.0
The storyline is at once interesting and understandable. Inspired by the Tower of Babel, here Grandtrain takes it further with the fight-up-the-tower element. Group Babel and the monks opposing them show well-characterised factions. In addition, there is suitable mystery with things such as Group Babel's "Project EVE".
Gameplay: 10/10.0
The gameplay is superb. Unlike any game I have played for some time, Babel truly gets you to do some economics during battles, with AP being an incredible valuable resource especially when fighting boss creatures. In addition, Grandtrain has given us the option of selecting our own party of four from a selection of characters, each with unique abilities that will affect how you play. The choice of characters also gives a fabulous amount of replay value.
Music: 5/10.0
Unfortunately, there is no music to rate so I have placed this rating as a middle-of-the-line 5 out of 10.
Overall Grade: A
Final Thoughts
    Babel is an incredible game, showing great balance in battles and graphics that are certainly well above average. I personally will be watching for updates to this incredible interesting game, and I recommend it to anyone.  

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