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Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines Review

The Vita really now seems to be the console of choice for role playing games, a vast library of classics and new titles to keep fans of the genre entertained for hundreds of hours and this newest title from Alfa System and Sony Japan is yet another to add to the collection, but it is far from perfect.

From the very start of Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines you are treated to an utterly beautiful looking game, the art direction resembling an animated interpretation of a Japanese scroll or painting, the world built on carefully placed brushstrokes and block printing, fighting an assortment of fantastical ancient demons and gods. It is not just the looks of Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines that stand out as the quality of the production is by far the strongest part of this game, from the atmospheric ancient instruments in the soundtrack to the snippets of movies spliced through, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines looks fantastic on the PS Vita and helps create a wonderful setting for the game in where even though life is short, you can do great things during it.

Set in ancient Japan, you play as a lineage of warriors who were tasked with protecting a set of mystical musical instruments. One day these instruments are stolen and on the command of the Emperor under the advice of a rather sinister character your whole clan is executed as punishment for their mistakes and to hopefully appeasement the Gods. As further punishment for your clans failure two curses are also placed on their bloodline, one that makes it impossible to procreate with another human, the other that shortens each clan member’s lifespan to no more than two years. One God however feels something is wrong and manages to resurrect your bloodline in the hope of regaining the instruments and also seek revenge on those that orchestrated this horrific deed.

Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines is played as a mixture of dungeon crawling and turn based RPG battles, your characters running through various lands in search of mystical artefacts as they try to defeat the demon that destroyed their clan and for anyone who has played a RPG before will have the general idea of what to expect in terms of the combat, with each character taking turns in battle. Aside from the bloodline element which I will cover in a moment Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines does add plenty of original ideas to the tried and tested turn based formula including a slot machine style loot system, the ability to stack special moves with the rest of your clan and also team leaders on each side, with their defeat ending fights early, reducing the risk of enemies running off with your promised loot. These are decent additions and add a little more depth to the genre but in the end it is still a classic turn based action game where you balance attacks with using items to boost stamina and other traits.

The real depth and originality comes in the characters themselves that you control, as thanks to the curse on their lineage they can only live for around 24 months before dying, leaving the onus on you to create a strong family, something of a priority thanks to their short lifespan. To get around the whole curse of being unable to procreate with humans your clan members are able to partaking in a Divine Union with one of the many gods, utilizing their affinities in creating a new life that will one day take over the mantle and become the next warrior to take up arms in this interesting tale. It is here that the game really gets interesting, with you carefully planning Divine Unions, matching clan members skills with the Gods and their various powers to get the most out of each generation and even handing down weapons, heirlooms that gain powers as they grow older.

Though an interesting idea the execution has fallen a little short in more ways than one as with the game not only shortening the lifespans of your clan members it also makes them tire easily which in turn limits dungeon crawling to short, sporadic affairs that last around 10 minutes, leaving hardly enough time to have a real good nosey around the worlds on offer. This is also hampered by a frustrating lack of a decent map as the small map on the screen shows only the immediate area, leaving you to remember where everything else is, which is made harder when certain dungeons alter layouts with the changing seasons.

Just experiencing the beauty of Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines holds your attention for quite a while, but then cracks begin to appear, the RPG elements being quite basic in their approach with classic turn based action the mainstay of the game but with a strong character creation, heirloom weapons and a very original story there is just enough to entertain most RPG fans in Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines.

Word by Ash Buchanan.


+ Beautiful art direction
+ Create a powerful Clan by creating life with many Gods


- A fair bit of grinding.
- The map is an issue.

Edited On 16 Mar, 2015

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