Mystaria: The Realms of Lore, also known as Blazing Heroes in North America, is a 1996 tactical RPG developed by Sega for the Sega Saturn. It follows the journey of a group of adventurers as they navigate a world filled with political intrigue, magical artifacts, and deadly monsters. Mystaria offers a unique blend of tactical combat, exploration, and character customization that sets it apart from other RPGs of its era.
The game takes place in the land of Mystaria, a fantasy world that is divided into four major kingdoms. These kingdoms are in a state of conflict with each other, and the player must navigate the complex web of alliances and rivalries that define the world’s political landscape. The story is presented through a series of cutscenes and dialogues, which are well-written and help to establish the game’s setting and characters.
One of the standout features of Mystaria is its combat system. Battles take place on a grid-based battlefield, with each character occupying a single square. Characters have a range of attacks and abilities, which can be used to deal damage to enemies or support allies. The game also features a system of elemental weaknesses and resistances, which adds an additional layer of strategy to battles. For example, using fire attacks against ice-based enemies will deal extra damage, while using ice attacks against fire-based enemies will be less effective.
Combat is turn-based, with each character taking their turn in order of their speed stat. This means that faster characters will act more frequently, which can be a significant advantage in battle. The game also allows players to customize their characters’ equipment and abilities, which provides a significant amount of strategic depth. There are a variety of different character classes to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
One of the areas where Mystaria falls short is in its graphics. While the game’s 2D artwork and character designs are well-done, the 3D graphics used for the battlefields and character models are dated by modern standards. The game also suffers from some slowdown during battles, which can be frustrating.
The game’s music is composed by Yoko Kanno, who is known for her work on a variety of anime and video game soundtracks. The music in Mystaria is excellent, with a wide range of tracks that are well-suited to the game’s setting and mood. The sound effects are also well-done, with satisfying thwacks and clanks during battles.
Mystaria’s story is well-written and engaging, with a variety of interesting characters and plot twists. The game’s dialogue is well-translated, with few errors or awkward phrasings. The game’s setting is also well-developed, with a variety of different locations to explore and discover. However, some players may find the game’s pacing to be slow, as there are long stretches of dialogue and exploration between battles.
The game’s length is also a double-edged sword. While there is a significant amount of content to explore, including side quests and optional dungeons, the game’s length can also be a barrier to entry for some players. The game can take upwards of 40 hours to complete, which may be too long for some players.
Overall, Mystaria: The Realms of Lore is a well-designed tactical RPG that offers a unique blend of strategy and customization. While its graphics may be dated and its pacing may be slow at times, the game’s engaging story, well-designed combat system, and deep character customization make it a worthwhile play for fans of the genre.