Ahh, Evolution the first Dreamcast RPG to hit North America and so far the best Dreamcast RPG in The Land of the Rising Sun. After extensivley playing the import, I'm not sure you can call Evolution a true honest-to-goodness RPG, it's more like a dungeon adventure/ RPG hybrid. Nonetheless, evolution was an enjoyable game and it can only get better now that it's being fully translated by Ubi-Soft.|
Evolution starts you off as the young, adventurous Mag Launcher and the cute, pan-wielding Linear Cannon. Linear's parents had left on an adventure so it's up to you, Mag Launcher, to look after her until they return. Your adventure begins one day when Mag and Linear are exploring the ruins next to your hometown of Panama, while searching through the ruins the dreaded 8th imperial army shows up and you are thrown into battle. Evolution takes off from there and leads you on a quest through countless dungeons filled to the brim with monsters of all shapes and sizes.
The graphics in Evolution are very good, especially considering how early it came out in the Dreamcast's lifespan, everything is fully-polygonal and runs in high-res at 60 fps. The dungeons are rather plain looking, but your party members are animated wonderfully. Each having their own little personality along with some very funny facial expressions and movements during battles. The magic spells in this game are not as grand as those seen in titles such as FFVIII, but they get the job done well with crystal clear colors and vibrant special effects.
As I mentioned earlier, Evolution can't be classified as a "true" RPG. There is only one town in the whole game, and it serves only as a stopping point in-between dungeons to pick up supplies and heal your party members. The real chunk of Evolution's gameplay comes from its massive, randomly generated dungeons. This is where you will spend 98% of Evolution at. Luckily, as you walk around the dungeon, the game builds a map for you. It's a very nice feature that comes in handy, especially in the larger dungeons! Another great feature of Evolution is the ability to see your enemies on-screen, no random battles here. Evolution is also the first RPG I've ever played in which I could actually outrun the enemies on-screen, very useful when your low on HP. Evolution's battles are standard RPG fare with the fight, magic, item, and block commands, but very enjoyable because of the wonderful battle graphics and character animation. You can have up to three people simultaneously in your party, as you progress through the game you'll eventually have a total of five party members to choose from.
If you're even slightly into RPGs, don't forget to check out Evolution when it hits November 16. Now let's pray that Ubi-Soft does a worthy translation job.