Developer: Sting |
Publisher: Atlus
Players: 1 Player Game |
Release Date: 06/28/05 |
Genre: RPG

Leave it to Atlus to deliver a relatively unknown title to the US shores and amaze us with the incredibly smooth and undeniably fun Riviera: The Promised Land only on the Game Boy Advance. While the Game Boy Advance is still one of the best selling consoles of all time, it is nearing the end of its life. Fewer and fewer titles are coming out that are worth purchase. Riviera is the late life exception to that rule adding to the lengthy list of Role Playing Games that makes Nintendo’s little handheld worth playing.

The story in Riviera: The Promised Land is one you have probably heard many times before in a Role Playing Game. There is a great war between angels and demons. Nobody can stop that war except you and your band of misfits that include a fallen angel, a talking cat, and four girls that are extremely boy crazy. Just like the story, the gameplay is also similar to many other RPG’s in the past. Your party has five characters in it and you have to wander around leveling up, gaining new equipment, defeating bosses, and reading text box after text box. If you are like me, the thought of deep plot development on a handheld will make you jump for joy! Riviera definitely delivers in its story.

Besides wandering around to level up and reading text, Riviera: The Promised Land also offers dating simulation, strategy elements, Shenmue moments, and a Choose Your Own Adventure style that will make your Game Boy Advance smile with glee. Dating sims have never really made much of an impact in the US market like they have in Japan. These sequences in Riviera have you side with one of the females in the game. Depending on how you respond to them, the dialogue will mildly change in the game. If you are really good, you can also get some sequences in hot springs with some of the females that can be reviewed later in the gallery.

Instead of having players wander around everywhere, you move around to different areas by hitting buttons that appear on the screen. Likewise, the battle system is also a bit different from other games. Instead of wandering around to fight random battles, players can preserve their weapon strengths by building their stats in practice battles that are against monsters you have previously defeated. This allows you to not waste precious resources but still gain the necessary experience to vanquish the evil bosses that lie at the end of each chapter.

Battles in Riviera: The Promised Land are just what you would find in your typical turn based RPG. Players select their attacks, spells, items, and then watch it take place before starting the next round. In order to add a bit more challenge to the battle system, players must select three characters and four items to bring to the battle and where to place them. This adds some great strategy elements to the gameplay. However, some players will be upset to learn that they are only allowed to carry a maximum of 15 items.

Riviera: The Promised Land is a great Role Playing Game that is worthy of purchase. Due to the limited availability of titles like this, I strongly encourage you to go purchase this title before it becomes an overpriced collector’s item on Ebay. With a quest that will take you at least thirty hours to defeat, you may find that you will be spending more time with your GBA than any other console for the foreseeable future.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 08/15/05
ESRB Details: Mild Fantasy Violence, Sexual Themes, Use of Drugs

Screenshots for Riviera: The Promised Land