Home » Rise of the Third Power — Review

Rise of the Third Power — Review

SNES-era Japanese RPG with a western influence.

I’ll have to admit, I almost read the title as “Rise of the Third Reich” which would be pretty bad if it wasn’t related to it at all. However, in this case, the story is based loosely on the political landscape of Europe in the late 1930s and the tinder that would lead to an all-out war according to the developers. Nevertheless, “reich” is German for “power” so it ends up being that way anyway albeit not intentionally.

Developed by Stegosoft Games and published by Dangen Entertainment, Rise of the Third Power is an indie RPG that has been a work in progress since its conception in 2018. It will be released on February 10, 2022 for the PC via Steam, the XBOX series, Playstation 4, and the Nintendo Switch.

Options wise for a new game, it gives you the choice of playing in the original English or in Japanese with several modes of difficulty to choose for battles. A nice option is called “Story Mode.” It is basically normal mode with the option to one-shot kill enemies including bosses while there is no penalty on experience or dropped items for doing so.

Imminent war amidst the “Age of Sail”

“1587, 2A – 15 years have passed since the guns of the Great War at last fell silent. The conflict rocked the world, leaving half a generation of men and women lying dead on the battlefield. Of the many players that had acted on the world stage, only two remained: the kingdom of Cirinthia and the ancient Republic of Tariq.

In time, Dimitri Noraskov, a hero to the defeated Kingdom of Arkadya, rose from the ashes. He saw his king as a coward for surrendering, and a traitor for submitting to the Treaty of Evenheart. So did the people. They supported Noraskov when he overthrew the king. They supported him as he reclaimed the lands that had been stripped of them. And they supported him as he raised an army. Noraskov had theorized that the nations of the world were still too worn by the Great War to enforce the terms of the Treaty. Thus far, his gambit has proven successful.

The Arkadyan Empire shows no signs of curbing its aggression. It is feared by many that a reprise of the Great War, that at one time could have been prevented, is now all but inevitable. But there are those that believe it can yet be stopped…”

The land of Rin

On the map, there isn’t always a cursor with the name of the place you are able to visit. This can be confusing at times if you don’t know where to go. You must also press a button to enter without prompt. On the other hand, it can add to exploration aspect depending on how you look at it. The pixel-map setup is reminiscent of the Underworld section in Earthbound, another SNES-era classic. There are nice added touches like weather that can add to the ambiance which also can be toggled on or off via settings.

Main cast of characters

Rowan Val Serino
After a troubled childhood, Rowan Val Serino joined the navy and sailed for Horatio III, King of Cirinthia, in the Great War. While he performed valiantly, he picked up his late father’s drinking habit and eventually discharged for it.
Disgraced, alone, and with a very specific set of skills to his name (fighting, drinking, and sailing) Rowan did the only logical thing and became a pirate.

Corrina Aiya Tourea
Corrina’s parents fought for the Tariqqi Republic in the Great War. They left her in the care of an uncle, but he was struck by an errant musketball when Arkadya invaded their home city, Ishtala. Corrina’s mother was killed in battle overseas shortly after, and her father was taken by infection.
Orphaned and homeless, Corrina lived on the streets where she learned to fight, steal, and sneak to survive.

Arielle I Liriatta
Princess Arielle I of House Liriatta, first of her name, daughter of King Horatio III, ruler of Cirinthia, was born at the height of the war, but was too young to witness its horror for herself. The king has wished to spare his daughters from the pain of the real world, and has kept them in the castle in a life of luxury.
Arielle has found herself a pawn in her father’s game of diplomatic chess, as she is to be married to the son of Emperor Norasjov to cement an alliance…

Western-style character art

A big western influence is seen in the art style of the portraits that pop up during the game’s story. They are different than the game’s Japanese style and are a point of division among fans from what I had read. Points brought up are that they are too large and its style clashes too much with the game.

Pixel-infused world with modern conveniences

The graphics are heavily inspired by classics such as Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. The story, albeit a more serious tone as it heavily as war as its main theme, definitely tries to throw in humor whenever possible.

Battles and music are the major appeals of the game

Battles are done via symbol encounters with human enemies having a visible radar and other enemies having an invisible radar of detection. This system plays into the sneak attack or ambush style of encounters common in RPGs.
The battles along with the music that goes with it are the best part of the game in my opinion. Battles are done are turn-based naturally with the turn-order displayed at the top of the screen. Three characters are allowed at a time on screen with an option to swap a maximum of three times per battles when possible. The total number of party members that join you in the game is eight.
The game doesn’t have any regular attacks but each character is given one attack that is possible to regenerate MP depending on the character. If not, there is usually another way to recover MP without the use of items. The game has a few neat status ailments like bleeding which is like a short-term poison and heals it itself naturally after several turns.
Allow me to go over the main menu options to give the player a better scope of what the game has to offer.

Save: Self-explanatory. There are ten save slots with the surprisingly nice option of it being at the top of the menu. The game automatically saves as well. Unfortunately, there is no load option.

Quests: Along with the main story story telling you where to go next, sub-quests are listed telling the player what needs to be done. Completing side-quests usually gives the player relics which boost stats permanently and don’t need to be equipped to take effect so try to do as many as you can.

Items: Self-explanatory. Lists usable and non-usable items.

Crafting: Crafting is how you get equipment in the game. You have to usually combine a book of how you learn it with two other items of different quantities. These sometimes can be bought after a while, but mostly are obtained via chest or dropped by enemies in battle. There is a very limited number of equipment in the game. This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Character: This allows you to look at character stats but allow you to change accessories and sub-weapons as well.

Talents: Experience points and levels in this game are collective meaning that all characters share from a pool. Each level up gives talent points which allows individual characters to gain new skills or increase stats. There is an item that can reset this so don’t worry about giving a certain character too many talent points.

Map: Self-explanatory.

Settings: Self-explanatory.

Quit: Self-explanatory.

Not so bright dungeons

Treasure chests in dungeons as well as in towns can blend in too well with their environment. It is is easy to pass them up as they are usually tucked away somewhere (towns and dungeons have a lot of paths that lead to nowhere) and you have to keep an keen eye out as different environmental factors like debris or snow on top of them can hide them even further. I would suggest trying to adjust the default screen settings or it will be very dark.

Tailor-made war and manipulation

Without giving away too much about the story, the story and the war power struggle the game has can be very circular sometimes leading the player questioning why things happened in the first place. Several big plot points get stopped only for them to happen anyway and other choices the party willingly makes like trading one war for another. Characters sometimes develop in ways you don’t expect.

Although, images of piracy and such are prevalent on the main page of the game, there isn’t free boat use until the very end of the game. This game isn’t a pirate adventure so be warned thinking this will be Pirates of the Caribbean reincarnate. I might be being too harsh here but opinions vary.

Summary
Rise of the Third Power, I initially thought it would be a pirate-adventure, but it has to do more with war and manipulation. The battles are fun for a while but a speed option would have been preferable to those that wanted an in-between story mode (one-shot kills) and regular battles that sometimes took a while. I finished the game in about 16 hours but I still had some side-quests to do. I also skipped regular battles via story mode so that cut down on the finish time . I only did regular mode for bosses. The music was great, but I wasn't a fan of the character portraits that clashed with the game in my opinion. I also did not like the story as the circular storyline had me as a player felt like I accomplished nothing or questioning why things happened the way they did or. A skip scene option also would have been nice as scenes can be long.
Good
  • Great music
  • Great battle animations
Bad
  • Character portraits clash with game
  • Towns and dungeons can feel empty
  • Not a fan of the story
6
Fair
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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