Home » Crimson Gem Saga / Astonishia Story 2 (어스토니시아 스토리2)/ ガーネット クロニクル 紅輝の魔石 – Review

Crimson Gem Saga / Astonishia Story 2 (어스토니시아 스토리2)/ ガーネット クロニクル 紅輝の魔石 – Review

A good game with different names across each region in which a sequel is desperately needed as the game leaves you in cliffhanger...but chances don't look great as it was the last one was made in 2008 but here's to hoping for a sequel.

HISTORY:

A sequel to Astonisha Story that was developed by the Korean company IRONNOS who developed the first Astonishia Story. This game is called a different name in Korea, Japan, and the US so I will call it its original title, Astonishia Story 2. The sequel features different game mechanics as this one is more traditional RPG while the first one was more SRPG. Knowledge of the first game is somewhat helpful to the game as there is a character from the last one who joins your party. However, it isn’t necessary as a prerequisite and this can be played as a standalone game.

STORY:

Killian von Rohcoff, a student of Green Hill Chevalier Academy, is about to graduate while waking up morning, except he forgets that it’s THIS morning. He barely makes it on time to graduation and afterward, he is asked to complete a task for the principal.

From then on, he meets Spinel, a treasure-hunter elf, who asks Killian to help her in her treasure hunt and in return will help Killian with his quest. From then on, their adventure takes them places as they join up with different people and eventually they get involved up in a quest to recover the crimson gems…

The two main characters of the story, Killian and Spinel near the beginning of their journey.

The game involves four chapters. As you complete each chapter, each previous part of the game becomes inaccessible for the most part so side-quests should be completed before the end of the chapter and any items picked up or bought at a shop.

As the game progresses, you get to see more character development and obviously story progression although some of it is hit and miss for some characters as parts of it are never followed up upon or until much, much later, leaving a lot of unanswered questions.

Without revealing any spoilers, the game ends with a huge cliffhanger and many unanswered questions are unanswered leaving the player dissatisfied. Without comparisons to their respectable stories, it is somewhat a degree of cliffhanger left at the end of the American movie ‘Back to the Future II’. Seeing as this came out in 2008 and it is 2021 as of me writing this, hopes for a sequel doesn’t look great but hopefully, there is still a slight chance of appearing it in some form.

GAMEPLAY:

Astonishia Story 2 gameplay is not very balanced for a pretty basic reason. Whether you win or lose any random battle is heavily based upon whether you get a preemptive strike or you are ambushed.

DO NOT RUN FOR TREASURE WHEN AN ENEMY IS NEAR. If the enemy is in pursuit, it will result in an ambush even if the encounter is mid-dialogue. The ‘!’ mark means it notices you. You have a few seconds to encounter it to have a neutral encounter. Should it start chasing when the ‘!’ is gone, no matter if you run toward it, it will be an ambush.

Astonishia Story 2 involves a symbol-based encounter system that follows a pattern similar to Earthbound (Mother 2). The enemy will chase after you if it sees you resulting in an ambush and a devastating group attack on your party when the battle first begins or you sneak up on them and the reverse happens. You get an equally devastating attack on them which sways the battle heavily in your favor. A big problem with that it is very much do-or-die as attacks from both sides can be near a one-shot level of power.

Battles take place via a tradition-turned-based system akin to many RPGs with somewhat minor differences.

Battles in this RPG are of the standard variety with Attack, Skill/Magic/Combo, Defense, and Run and HP/MP. One different thing is that should a character land a critical hit, there is a timed window to press ‘O’ again, and should you do, will land another hit. This can happen more than once per attack but only for regular attacks and not skills.

It is not until chapter 2 when you can equip a certain item that is possible to even outrun the enemy so random encounters have to be carefully planned in order to avoid annihilation and even so afterward. Thankfully, Astonishia Story 2 has a save anywhere feature where you can save in dungeon, town, and field alike so the more you save, the less frustration that could possibly occur.

Skills/magic are learned via an unlock skill tree.

[This skill’s contents are known. To learn it, 60 SP is required.] To learn skills, you have to do two things. First unlock what it is should it be marked as “???, THEN you have to learn it. Both require SP respectively.
Skills can be comboed from two to four people. When you do, a brief screen like this is shown with the comboing characters before the skill is used.

Equipment like weapons, armor, and accessories have three slots where you add cards which are drops from enemies that can change the stats of the weapon like power for example. Gems can alter the affinity of a weapon as well e.g. changing it from fire to ice elemental.

MUSIC:

The music is good in my opinion. It is decent enough and there are a few catchy songs.

GRAPHICS:

They are mid-era Playstation Portable quality and were very decent for their time. It is very graphically reminiscent of a ‘Tales of’ series PS/PSP game.

CHARACTER DESIGN:

The characters in this game are creative and well-drawn and look great even today. I couldn’t pinpoint one person for original character designer so I will list some of those involved in the credits.

Lead Designer: Chae Ju Hyoung
Art Director: Jung Ji Soo
Character Artists: Jung Ji Soo, Park Chul Min, Sung Ji Sun, Hyunsoo Byun
Concept Artist: Kim Dong Sook

Summary
A game with fun, but risky battles that offers great character design with a decent, touching, and humorous story. Astonishia Story 2 could have been an instant classic if it had followed-up on the story and character development of the game or even if there was a sequel. However, I still will say it is a great game and if you like traditional RPGs, you should like this. Just don't expect closure from the ending.
Good
  • Great character design
  • Fun traditional RPG
  • Humorous and at times touching story
  • Customizable(stat-wise) equipment
Bad
  • Random battles leave too much to chance
  • The world is quite small in the game
  • Ending is vague and not followed up upon
8
Great
Written by
Been playing games basically since before I could read and not just RPGs | Love the arts | Love a good story |

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