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Review:Origin

The OHRRPGCE that we know today is WAY different than what it was back in its early years. Before sound effects, midi/mp3 soundtracks, and even plot scripting, the OHRRPGCE was originally a pure JRPG maker at heart.

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Much like today, quality titles were few and far between back then, and most decent titles became “household names”, so to speak. Because quality games were hard to come by, it was very rare that they go without high praise. Although many people knew and loved Origin, it still wasn’t as hyped as many other titles of its time. Because of that, I fear that many people might have overlooked this gem over the years. I know that I never played it until recently, but I’m glad that I finally did.

Origin’s story is interesting in the fact that although it is set in futuristic times, the technology is still rather rudimentary. It is set sometime in our future but  still uses medieval- like weapons, armor and medicines. The reasoning behind this is explained in the game, and it makes perfect sense given the context of it. Transportation is obviously another story, as the opening scene places the hero on a modern-day express train (though traditional boats and such are used as well).

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Origin gives you a lot of backstory up front, but not enough to confuse you. It lays the groundwork for the entire feel of the story, and does a great job at that. I love it because it does all of this with mere text boxes rather than numerous, flashy plot scripts. The dialogue overall is very well written and very few grammatical mistakes are found in it. It can get a bit wordy at times, but give it a chance and I can guarantee that you will enjoy all of it.

The main gist of the story is that you are a soldier just coming out of a two decade long war. On your way home you are stopped by a man who tells you that the war may not be over for long and that there are people that seek to bring it back full force. The Alliance is a group of people seeking to ensure the war does not come back, and manages to do it mostly behind the scenes. The Alliance seeks out a group known as the Dynasty, who alternatively wish to bring the war back.

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Though at first glance you may brush the story off as nothing more than a FFVI clone (the returners, anyone?), I can assure you that there is more to it than what initially meets the eye. I won’t spoil anymore of the story, but I promise that it doesn’t fail to deliver. Origin has a lot of depth to offer to those that enjoy a good story. I did feel the the ending was a bit abrupt, though that may be because there was additional depth to the story that I did not comprehend when it ended. Regardless, Origin has a fantastic story and is well worth it in the end.

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Origin’s graphics are nothing fancy, but I do appreciate anyone who attempts to do all of their own graphics and manages to make it easy to identify and differentiate between objects on the maps. I also liked the small touches, such as the animated backdrop on the train scene and how certain maps changed or moved around depending on how your team interacted with their surroundings. The only real issue I had with the graphics were some of the generic enemies. I felt that many of them would have been much better as larger sprites, such as the bear and the mammoth. I find it hard to believe that these creatures would be smaller than the heroes, even in an infant state. I must say that I totally loved the custom graphics to indicate a defeated boss though. While nothing fancy, it was a nice touch and something that is rarely used in games today.

Origin’s combat is extremely well balanced and has some fairly challenging boss fights as well. I really liked how the first boss had to be killed in a certain order, even though future bosses weren’t quite as complicated (though still a bit challenging). Generic battles were fairly easy in comparison, but not overbearingly dull at the same time.

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The biggest flaw in terms of combat were the abilities. The vast majority of them were worthless. In the case of Brian, one of the heroes, all of his abilities were pointless. Most of his spells did little to no additional damage over his standard attacks plus cost mp AND required a charge time. Fortunately not every spell in the game was broken, and the ones that weren’t couldn’t be spammed or anything. The exception would be Evelyn’s Holy Bolt spell, which turns out to be the most powerful spell in the game (and she is the white mage of the group!). I still think it would have been nice to have more useful abilities spread throughout the entire cast of heroes though.

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The map design was one of the most well done parts of the entire game. Almost every hostile area had multiple paths which generally rewarded you for exploration. They were the perfect size as to not get dull and still offer a good experience. Random battles were paced exceptionally well, and you don’t have to worry about fighting every couple steps (though this does change a bit towards the end of the game when battles are a tad more frequent). Today, even with how much easier it is to map with the OHRRPGCE, many games still can tend to be far too linear. If you are looking for a great map design balance, Origin is a fine example of how to do it right.

The music is great, and manages to do so by only using about a half dozen tracks. I’m not sure whether they were ripped, so I’m going to assume that some (if not all) of them were possibly original. No single track felt out of place and all of them really helped solidify the feel of the game.

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Origin is a great example of what the OHRRPGCE really is all about at heart; creating true, traditional RPG experiences. What is amazing to me is that it proves to be a quality game even being 13 years old. Despite the minor flaws, Origin is definitely in my top five favorite OHRRPGCE games of all time.

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