Game Title: Revenant Dogma
Company: EXE Create, KEMCO
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital
Download: 248 MB
PSTV Support: Yes

I really enjoy when EXE Create and KEMCO RPGs come over to console, as I don’t typically experience them on mobile. That, and the fact that the games that do come to console are typically the games of theirs that are the most polished and enjoyable. Games like Asdivine Hearts and even Antiquia Lost I can really get into and enjoy.

Revenant Saga was also one that I thought was unique because of how it melded 2D exploration with 3D battles. Like Asdivine Hearts, it got a sequel of sorts and that sequel has come to PlayStation platforms, both for console and handheld play.

My first Vita review in a long time, here is my review of Revenant Dogma for the PS Vita and PSTV!

Story

dogma 2 - story

In the world of Revenant Dogma, there are two races that exist in the world, Humans and Therians, each separated by continents and each with their own set of deities. However, when one of these races receives blessings and power from the Gods and the other one doesn’t, a savior appears that creates miracles, granting special abilities to humans whom are then dubbed “Revenants”.

You play as Caine, an orphan sent to look for magical therian relics and ends up stumbling into a Revenant Research Lab. For tresspassing and saving the person being experimented on, he is branded a traitor and hunted into Therian territory, where he is captured and given the truth about what’s really going on in the world.

This game’s story I wouldn’t call amazing, but it works for showing a world-ending threat. It connects to Revenant Saga in a way that players of Saga will see some fun Easter Eggs but newcomers can still play Dogma with no prior knowledge. The only downisde is that many of the characters’ dialogue in scenes will often be out in left field and it has a fair number of translation/grammar mistakes thrown into not only dialogue but some menus.

Gameplay

dogma 3 - gameplay

Like their other games, Revenant Dogma is a turn-based retro-style RPG. You travel around on a world map, visit towns and dungeons, and take place in turn-based battles. Like Saga before it, it also incorporates the uniqueness of being both a 2D and 3D RPG, with exploration being 2D like SNES-style RPGs and battles being more 3D in nature like PSX and newer RPGs.

The progression in the game isn’t out of typical RPG fashion. You travel around on the world map, constantly pointed towards new areas from the story and you go to these areas to advance the story by talking to NPCs, navigating dungeons, and fighting through boss fights. Not really a lot to really stand out here.

Combat is where the uniqueness comes in. As I said before, this game retains Revenant Saga’s look of having 3D battles instead of 2D battles. More importantly is that the Transform system returns from Saga. As you play through the game, you obtain new transformations which are basically classes that you can go into. Certain skills are exclusive to certain classes, so you’ll be constantly switching between different transformations through battles to be able to use debuffs, magic attack skills, or just to get certain stat boosts that only certain forms grant you. It’s like having a class-based system, but your characters can freely swap classes in mid-battle.

dogma 4 - 3d battles

The rest of the combat system is similar to other Retro RPGs. You obtain new abilities when you level up, and each character has specific skills that are exclusive to them, be it buffs and debuffs, healing spells, or just different ways to attack enemies. In this way, it’s not all that different from the 2D RPGs they make.

As with others, the game does have some special “cheat” items that are exclusive to IAPs/Microtransactions. Unlike previous games, though, these items are exclusive to IAPs and aren’t available to buy with the premium currency you can use for other items from the Shop.

dogma 5 - fast travel

There are two things I do like about this game, though: Fast Travel on the World Map and weapon drops from random encounters. You can fast travel to any previously-found locations on the Map, which significantly lowers the amount of backtracking you have to do later on in the story. And random encounters drop weapons almost constantly, which means you don’t have to buy weapons from shops as just doing a few battles in a dungeon will net you a bunch of new weapons that are normally just as good as the shop’s inventory.

Now, let’s talk length. The game does have occasional side-missions in each town, but don’t expect a long game. Revenant Saga took me around 20 hours to complete, whereas Revenant Dogma only took me around 12 (which translates to more around 10-11 because of something I’ll mention in the presentation section). It’s still a nice time allocation for the price, but don’t expect this to be one of KEMCO’s longer journeys.

Controls

Controls are pretty typical here. No touch controls. No motion controls. The game is compatible with the PlayStation TV, like previous KEMCO RPGs, so you have a nice TV and Handheld experience here.

Moving around is done with the Left Analog Stick and D-Pad and the Right Analog Stick doesn’t really go anything. The L trigger is used for healing the party’s HP while exploring (L2 on the PSTV) and the R trigger is used in combat.

Then, the face buttons. X lets you confirm and interact with NPCs and Circle lets you cancel options. Square opens the World Map and Triangle opens the menu. Pretty standard controls here, and they’re all controlled well. Just don’t skip the tutorials or you may find Fast Travel much later on.

Presentation

dogma 6 - presy

Graphically, I’m not sure what to say. The 2D environments look pretty polished as these games normally look, but the 2D character renders look significantly blurry when compared to the environments. Once you’re in battle, though, there’s no blurring effect. The only issue there is that the 3D graphics are more or less PSP level and actually look a little less-detailed than in Revenant Saga. I saw a lot more jaggies in Dogma than when I looked back on my Vita review of Saga.

Performance, though. Here’s where this version really suffers. Revenant Dogma on the Vita seems to struggle to run. It has a significant amount of lag that gives it a very choppy slowdown-like effect that lasts for the entire game. I really like that KEMCO’s RPGs have a good, fast pacing when it comes to moving and Dogma seems to run that way on every platform I’ve tried except for the Vita version. It really hinders the experience.

In conclusion, Revenant Dogma is a retro RPG that has uniquness in its 2D and 3D systems and different take on class-based character development. On the downside, there are some minor issues in the game’s story and some very jarring performing issues that hold it back. It’s worth playing for retro RPG or KEMCO fans, but you may be better off playing on the PS4 or Switch.

Final Score: 6.5/10