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Updated November 20, 2004

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Distant PromisesDemo 2
(Darkness Ethereal)

"The making of the next masterpiece by QB's pioneer"

Lord Kaylen and his company KaylenCo has startedto research an evil entity. This evil, feeding on the avarice of humanity,was once powerful enough to bring the world to its mercy. Yet it did notsucceed, and the entity fell asleep. Much time has passed, and now it appearsthat the entity will return again.

In Distant Promises, you play a group of unlikelyheroes who seem almost fated to save the world from the coming evil. Butyour journey will not be easy. Ariana and the wicked DeviusCreed will proveto be a worthy match for your power. Your only hope will lie in a "bringer",a distant hero that could save all of humanity...

Theuse of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
The first thingthat you'll notice about Darkness Ethereal's console-style RPG is thatDistant Promises blends the Japanimation look of Final Fantasy II and thegothic look that Darkness Ethereal is becoming notorious for. There arestill some tiny details that would have improved the game's overall look,like more moving objects. I did find the burning torches to be a nice touch.

The game also looksgood during the battle sequence, though it isn't as great. The battle sequencefeatures many rendered backgrounds and enemies, showing that a lot of timewas clearly spent in the production of the game's graphics. What I didsee was the need to increase the game's animation though. While the spellsyou cast fly about the screen, neither the spells, the enemies, or thecharactersare really that animated. The characters may have an attack frame or two.

Sound/Music (n.)
Thesmooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Distant Promisesis full of original BWSB music that really adds to the atmosphere of thegame. You can even hear the sounds of the forest animals and the waterflowing in the sewer.
Gameplay (n.)
Theprecision of control and involvement of character within its universe
Distant Promise'sbattle sequence is modeled exactly like Final Fantasy III. Each characterin your party has a meter that gradually fills up. When it reaches it'smaximum, you can fight, cast a spell, use an item, or run away. The battlesare real time, too, which mean that enemies can fight you while your meteris filling or even while you're choosing what to do.

The gameplay formatof the rest of Distant Promises, including the menus and items you find,are carbon copies of stuff you find in Final Fantasy. The menu system iseasy to use. All things considered though, The FF-style battles in DistantPromises could be slow for people who like to twiddle their thumbs becausea lot of the spells aren't very useful. The key to winning is often well-timedhealing, never an offensive assault.

Story (n.)
Thecreativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
Perfect. DarkDreadand Tyranny do an excellent job of mixing the hellish nightmare of DarkDreadgames with a story that involves all the characters in play.
Replay Value (n.)
Thetimelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeatedagain and again
Who wouldn't wantto play a whole new game that plays like the original Final Fantasies forfree on their PC? This is the mindset of Distant Promises, and dependingon the free memory on your computer Distant Promises may or may not deliver(the game is not optimized yet because it is still in the demo phase.)

Since Distant Promisesdid faithfully capture the feel of Final Fantasy II, the game ends up beinglike one of those old Square RPGs you have laying around. It's possibleto play this game through, let it sit for a while, then come back to itwhen you want to play Distant Promises again. I would, though, personallywait until the finished version of the game because the demo ends witha cliffhanger!

Challenge (v.)
Tostrike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought andreflexes
If you're a defensivehealing player then Distant Promises will fit your taste. Enemies graduallyget more powerful, and experience and speed are the biggest factor. Whenyou have to choose your magic, it's often the Healing spell that will helpyou, with a few exceptions. 

The dungeons offersome challenge, not particularly because the paths are confusing, but becausethe enemy frequency is above average.

Fun Factor (n.)
Theoverall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
When Darkness Etherealput together Distant Promises, there was one main goal: to put togethera QBRPG that will be tough to top. While this game is still in the demostages, there's enough of the game here to make it a serious competitorfor that title.

In terms of how thechoice to use Square RPGs as their model for this QBRPG, Distant Promisesplays so much like Final Fantasy 3's long-lost cousin that it isn't evenfunny. With an elaborate storyline, real-time battles, and an all-aroundSquaresoft feel, the Darkness Ethereal team has taken everything they knowabout QB and raised it to a new level. Does the lack of originality compensateby a grand story? It does if you're a Final Fantasy III fan and you wantto try something new.

Players1playerGenre:Role Playing Game
RatingTo solve: 2-3 hours Final Rating:24/35

Todownload Distant Promises Demo 2 (1.95MB), click here.
wIfyou're unzipping this program in DOS, use the -d option.
wAfterunzipping the file, look for the "DP" subdirectory. It may be under the"DPDEMO2" subdirectory. Transfer the "DP" directory to drive C so thatit is "C:\DP".
wMakesure you run SETUP.EXE to change sound card settings first.
wToplay Distant Promises, run "DPDEMO2.EXE".

Back to RPG Page

24out of 35 points

TheHighs: Final Fantasy gamers do not needto look any further to get the same quality experience on their PC.
TheLows: Linear gameplay takes away fromthe replay value somewhat.

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