Here we are the final part of my look at RoF; as mentioned before this will be about advanced tips followed by my overall impressions of the game.
1. Improving your weapons: Since your damage output is tied to your weapons it is important to know what to upgrade first. First above all else you want to get as many scopes as possible on your guns, the reason is that they affect charge up speed. The quicker you can charge means the higher the charge level you can attain. This is vital for SMGs as the initial charge up skill is damage output, if you can max out the charge level you can do insane damage with the SMGs.
Next are bullets, the more bullets fired at one time determined how much damage you’ll do per turn. Using sub barrels and extensions allow you to expand the available space on your gun allowing you to fit more parts on. On one of my SMGs I have a total of 3 scopes with additional scopes attach to said scopes. Other upgrades include a bonus to your charge up speed via barrels and improving accuracy and bullet spread with a hang guard. The last two pieces of equipment I didn't find as important as the sights and magazines were.
2. Experience exploiting: One nifty trick you can use early on is exploiting scratch damage to get easy levels. Experience is earned by damage done and with that knowledge you can easily level up skills that start to sag. What you do is hit an enemy to fill up their bar with scratch damage, then have someone with the lowest level in either handgun or grenade finish them off by applying direct damage. I've gone up four levels at once thanks to this. Your best targets for this are higher level enemies or bosses, fighting dangerous encounters are also a great way to do this.
3. Don't forget about grenades: While you will be hitting enemies with your SMGs most of the time, don't forget about grenades as a source of damage. They do several times more damage than handguns and if your SMG user is in dispose of this can be a way of finishing off a fight. Grenades also do splash damage which can be helpful when dealing with large groups of enemies. Then we have aliment causing grenades which can be the edge needed to win a tough fight.
4. Making the most out of your turn: You can quickly switch between team members to end your turn and refill your time gauge. Remember that enemies will only respond if you are moving or attacking. If you get into the best range to attack an enemy but used up most of your bar, as long as the enemies aren't ready to attack someone you can end your turn repeatedly until you get back to the same person who now has a full bar.
5. Advance use of heroic actions: Besides preparing tri-attacks, there are other uses for heroic actions. First for defense, they make a great escape tool for getting someone out of harm’s way if they are being focused on by the enemies. Once someone gets far enough away the enemies will stop focusing on them and focus on the nearest member.
For offense, performing a heroic action is the best way of hitting an enemy with a full charge bar. Run as far away from the enemy as you can to get maximum distance and then perform the action. By the time you reach the enemy (and with enough scopes for charge speed bonus) you should have max charge. Hitting an enemy while dual wielding SMGs like this can be enough to completely overlap most enemies' health gauge. Not to mention the added bonus of hopefully knocking the enemy into the air to then pull off a bonus shot or knockdown attack.
Now it's time for my actual opinion of RoF. This may come out as surprising to some but I don't think I'm going to finish this, even after writing five entries worth of information about it. RoF features excellent game mechanics and has one of my favorite combat systems I've seen in some time, however after playing for at least 20 hours and 11 chapters the game has become stagnant.
In the time I've spent playing RoF, there has been no growth of the game mechanics. They basically played all their cards within the first hour of the game. A stark contrast to Final Fantasy 13 in which some say the first 20 hours of the game is the tutorial. I will say that I prefer Rof's style to FF 13 any day of the week, but I'm finding that there is no reason to continue playing.
First the story is by far the weakest element. You get brief cut scenes before and after the chapter with random people, some of them I think are flashbacks but we're not told this. While the conversations between the main cast are great, I found myself skipping past the other cut scenes. The chapters themselves plot wise have the case of the hour and then a few seconds of the overall plot. It almost reminds me of "filler hell" seen in animes like Naruto and Bleach.
While gun customization plays a huge role in RoF, past your initial upgrades you won't be doing much here. By chapter 7 I had my guns completely filled with parts, any additional changes were just upgrades, replacing a scope with a better scope for example. I wish there was more variety with the parts, such as different types of scopes that offer different stats. Something such as in Borderlands in which each fictional gun maker designed their weapons differently, such as increase damage or better accuracy and so on.
The guns themselves also could have used some work, there weren't a lot of guns to chose from, reaching chapter 11 not counting the initial 3 weapons I ran into only three other guns were available. This was another missed opportunity, as having different weapons along with different parts could have injected more complexity into customizing weapons.
Now as mentioned I'm at chapter 11 right now, could the next chapter unlock a virtual bounty of customization? Possibly, but will it change the game at all? The enemies themselves have also become repetitive. No matter how big they are or what status aliments they inflict, they still require the same combination of scratch and direct damage that works for all fights.
Minor spoiler warning:
I just looked at a gamefaqs guide which revealed that there are 15 chapters total in the game, meaning that I am well past the half way point of the main game at this time.
There is variety in enemy types, from machines to monsters and what not but other than resistances to certain types of damage I never felt like I was being challenged by them (with exception to the dangerous situations).
I can't help but feel like RoF is like a race car that shot out of the start of the race to then have engine trouble and had to stop. If they would have continued to expand on the mechanics or allowed us to really get crazy with them, Rof could have been one of the best JRPGs I've played since The World Ends With You.
I really want to see Tri-Ace expand on this with a sequel. They have an excellent game system and with the right improvements this could be an amazing series. It's alright to let the player experience everything your game has to offer at the start, but you have to expand on that, if the player is doing the exact same thing 20 hours in as they were doing 1 hour in, then you have a problem.
links to previous parts: