Review

The Guided Fate Paradox Review

  • Game release: November 5, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

Level grinding is its own reward.

Congratulations! You have been randomly chosen to become God. As the newly appointed ruler over all creation, you shall be whisked away to the heavens above to fulfill your holy duties--which may include battling mermaids and flirting with angels.

Such is the fate of Renya Kagurazaka, an everyday, mild-mannered, dime-a-dozen, completely generic high school student. That's right: The Guided Fate Paradox presents a truly nightmarish scenario where God is, in fact, one of us. It's a goofy premise, since a lot of this fate guiding involves helping a weak-willed zombie find his courage or a knightly couple fall in love.

Sadly, the game chooses not to embrace this silliness, and instead gets bogged down in a workaday, good-versus-evil plot culminating in a workaday, good-versus-evil showdown. The fact that you're playing as God is of no real consequence; it's just a flimsy rationale supporting the game's singular purpose: level grinding.

The Guided Fate Paradox is a turn-based role-playing game played on a grid. Combat and exploration are not separate modes, so every step your take, or attack you make, counts as a turn. After you act, your partner acts, and then all the enemies act in unison. As you fight, you collect equipment for Renya--aka God--and friends to use, which confers new attacks, spells, or other special abilities. It's a play style reminiscent of the roguelike genre, but with a Japanese RPG twist in character advancement and death.

Paradox's woes start with leveling up, which is divided across many systems. By juggling these different systems, Paradox makes you feel as if you're getting stronger, but the complexity of this system also makes it difficult to understand exactly how strong you've become.

Renya may hold the title of God, but in practice he mostly just runs around punching robots in the face.

This is especially vexing when Renya is humming through a dungeon, dropping all challengers with a single blow, and a few floors later wanders into a foe that can do the same thing to him. Finding a happy medium where your abilities are comparable to your foe's is a rarity, which is disappointing since those moments are when Paradox is at its best. They force you to stop and think about the battlefield, and carefully calculate every action.

Surmounting one of these encounters is a triumph, but it's short-lived. Renya inevitably outpaces his foes, and then it's back to the mindless slaughter. Some different enemy types would help break up the monotony, but Paradox has only a handful of different foes and none of them are especially interesting to fight. Many simply behave like zombies, wandering aimlessly until they spot you and then relentlessly attacking you until defeated. A handful of boss encounters offer complex challenges, but aside from those endeavors, enemy encounters are simple affairs. One of the most complicated enemies you encounter is a snail with a shield covering its face. The shield blocks all attacks from the front, and the snail follows you around. Besting this devious adversary requires all the trickery and guile of maneuvering someone behind the snail for a flanking attack.

A variety of stage gimmicks, including explosive traps and moving platforms, attempt to put a spin on these encounters. However, the enemies and stage gimmicks don't play off each other in interesting ways, unless by total accident. The only constant in Paradox is the grinding: a circular system that rewards grinding with the ability to do more grinding.

Not even death can stop the grind. One of the cheapest items in the game lets you escape from any dungeon with all equipment in tow, so there's really no excuse for dying. You can also safeguard your best equipment in a special vault that lets you continue to use it without the fear of losing it upon death. And if the worst should come to pass, you don't have too much to worry about so long as you remember to save your game before entering the dungeon.

You're rarely without a companion, but they lack any sort of tactical finesse.

After you finish the game--a feat that could easily set you back more than 40 hours--something interesting happens. A survival dungeon is unlocked. This dungeon negates all of your base stat advancement, and lets you use only the items recovered in that dungeon. You can improve your characters and their items, just as you would in the rest of the game, but that progression is lost once you leave the dungeon. This goes a long way toward providing a consistent, satisfying challenge. Both Renya and his enemies start at the same level and advance along a similar curve. Play smart, and you can make life easier for yourself by getting ahead of that curve. Alternatively, if you rush through the dungeon the enemies will quickly outpace you.

With its intricate leveling system and randomized dungeons, The Guided Fate Paradox succeeds in creating a game that can easily gobble up biblical amounts of time. It's simply too bad all that time spent ends up feeling like a waste when there's no great payoff for all that hard work.

The Good
Item combinations create funny costumes
English voice talent gives strong performance in spite of script
Late-game survival dungeon offers consistent challenge
The Bad
Boring enemy encounters
Seesaw difficulty curve
A story about becoming God that is somehow completely dull
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

When it comes to strategy games, Maxwell prefers turn-based to real-time. Final Fantasy Tactics sits high atop that list, but he also enjoyed La Pucelle: Tactics and the early Disgaea games, dood! After pouring almost 50 hours in Paradox, he fears for his eternal soul.

Discussion

61 comments
chyng85
chyng85

I like this kind of RPG, worth trying. 

Vambran
Vambran

I find it hard to relate to the whole high school RPG with spirit monsters theme. That said i do like Nippons other games. I almost want to buy this game just to put in my collection , even though i would never play it.

D3dr0_0
D3dr0_0

Well this game seems like it has it's own charm. I wouldn't get it though.

Ereheru
Ereheru

Complaining about level grinding in a NIS game is like complaining about having to shoot all those people in a Call of Duty Game.

I guess to each his own.

divinejester
divinejester

@Gelugon_baat  Summed it up best imo. Gamespot is relatively mainstream, so of course big titles like AC IV and Call of Duty will continously mark high, while something more niche like Paradox ranks low. The way I view it is this, I don't really care about the scores unless it deviates from expectation. Hence if a jrpg got a high score on this site then I would think, man it had to be really really good to get that kind of score, and it might bump that game to the top of my list.

Kotaku seems to be more jrpg friendly, ie they share the same tastes as western jrpgs fans, so if gamespot irks then just go by their ratings.


darkljolly
darkljolly

Don't care. My limited editions is coming tommorow and I know I'll love this game. Hearing from a bunch of people its the best NIS game of the year ,even better than Disgaea D2

Dezuria
Dezuria

I've been playing this the last couple days, and I'd give it a 7.5 if I had to pick a number.  

It isn't NIS' best game for sure, but it's a good game.  You just have to know what you're getting into when you play it, it's not a game for everyone.  Don't expect a big budget AAA game.  it isn't one.  

If you've enjoyed roguelikes, or games like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Azure Dreams, Izuna, or Dungeons of Dredmor, you might enjoy this too.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Just to irk you - I am frank enough to say this - I would say the following to people that would respond to unfavorable reviews of JRPGs with the expression "you just don't get it":

You should learn to accept that others won't get it - and that JRPGs are ultimately still consumer products. Being consumer products, they may well get reviewed by people who don't "get it".

Take it as a reminder that JRPGs - like any other genre of games - are not for everyone.

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

Don't worry guys, gamespot don't know their s*** when it comes to JRPGs. I'm pretty sure this game is great in the eyes of the hardcore fans of the genre. 

Bigboi500
Bigboi500

The content of the review doesn't seem to match the score very well. It almost seems the reviewer gave the game a "five" simply because it's not a blockbuster or hyped title.

benleslie5
benleslie5 moderator

I was curious about this game a while back

FlareKnights
FlareKnights

After all this time I've just learned to take the reviews as they come. It doesn't really harm a game to get a lower review. Don't even know anymore how good a game is from professional reviews.

Though reminded that I really haven't come around this site in a really long time so that's something.

To each their own. I've enjoyed the game and think it's pretty good.

Jasurim
Jasurim

I'd be interested in a second take on this, been thinking about getting the game.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@divinejester 

So one should bounce from site to site to hear what they want to hear about games? How capricious. 

Also, tell that bit about big titles and such to another person that has not seen GameSpot highlight the so-called "little" guys.

Dezuria
Dezuria

@darkljolly I think Disgaea D2 is a lot better, but really, it's a different kind of game.  It's still a good game, though.

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

@Gelugon_baat So what you basicly say is that shooters should be reviewed by people who don't play shooters. That race games should be reviewed by people who don't play race games, etc? Cause that is what you are saying. A JRPG should be reviewed by someone who gets it. How else to give a fair judgement? JRPG's are made for JRPG fans. Its a genre within the RPG scene, you can't just judge them like a Western RPG cause its totally different and you don't judge other genres by letting people review it who don't get it.

komuchen
komuchen

@Gelugon_baat You don't know what you are talking about. Game, no, scratch that, ANYTHING shouldn't be reviewed by someone, who doesn't understand what he's reviewing.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@CoRiNi  

Of course it would be. Hardcore fans would typically be excited about anything thrown their way.

That's how the games industry makes its money after all.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@Bigboi500  

You are not the first to suggest that someone isn't being appreciative of underdogs.

Really, the likes of you should just take the review at just face-value. Insinuating something else is a typical defensive reaction.

Kythlyn
Kythlyn

@Jasurim I wrote the review for Gamer Horizon. It's a very different take. 

hwahee
hwahee

@Jasurim Just read a review from a different site. It's highly improbable that there will be a second take on a game as niche as this. I liked Siliconera's write-up on GFP; it was a lot more informative about the game.

Klikandclick
Klikandclick

@Jasurim i'd rather nis get cracking on Disagea 5. it's one of the few good turn-based strategy games left

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

@Gelugon_baat Its always a good idea to hear different opinions. Especially since many big sites tend to be mainstream focused and don't judge a game for what it is, but for how mainstream gamers will recieve it.

Vambran
Vambran

@Dezuria @darkljolly  

Disgaea D2 has the worst story out of all the main games ( Feels like a lame side story even at the end ). But it also has the best gameplay and graphics to date. Working on maxing out my stats to kill baal atm.

darkljolly
darkljolly

@Dezuria @darkljolly So I played like 8 hour straight and though I respect your opinion I disagree. I find this game so much more challenging and entertaining than Disgaea D2 and though the main character is no Laharl he's not annoying or a sissy and the story is way more interesting ( and lets be honest DIsgaea D2 story is one of the worst of the series), But each to their own :) I still have a lot more to go but its already an 8-9 for me.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@dutchgamer83  

Why not?

You may want to know that there has been people who actually demanded that games be reviewed by people that are new to the genre - with the reasoning that newcomers won't bring their jadedness to the review.

It's all perspectives really - there is no such thing as "justification" when it comes to pieces of opinion, which reviews are.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@komuchen  

You may see it as the reviewer not "getting" it, but I see the reviewer as simply not favoring the game.

You are thinking that your perception is the only truth out there, you may want to realize.

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

@Gelugon_baat @CoRiNi No, this is not COD. It's different with JRPGs, it's not the 90's anymore, you won't find JRPGs all over the market anymore, they are a rarity, that's why as a JRPG fan, I'd buy any JRPG game no matter how bad it is, out of respect for the developer that still remembers that there are people out there crying for them. 

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@dutchgamer83

Yet I see nothing wrong with that. Games are consumer products - they can be received unfavorably or favorably by anyone who is a customer.

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@Vambran @Dezuria @darkljolly  Story is a million times more important than graphics, at least in my book. Sure, I enjoy great graphics like the next guy, as long as they compliment a great story or great gameplay. That said, great graphics don't make up for a lack of either. If a game has a lousy story or lousy gameplay, its a crappy game regardless of how great the graphics are. 

roosteraxe1
roosteraxe1

Actually I think everyone's right on this one. I think there should be two reviews for games. One by an adamant fan of the genre and one by someone who's more impartial to the genre. I wouldn't say someone who dislikes the genre as that would always lead toa negative review. Just a review feom a fan's perspective and a second review from a m ore casual perspective. I don't think one person's opinion can accurately inform us. Whereas with the second opinion you can compare the pros and cons.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@komuchen  

Yet I still do not agree. What dutchgamer83 has said is just an opinion.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@komuchen  

Oh, you are one to say that others are trying hard to prove their point when you just outright say that your opinion that someone not "understanding" what they are reviewing is "valid".

How would you know that someone does not "understand' what they are reviewing anyway? Do you have a reliable measure, or hard proof?

If it's just disagreement that you have with the reviewer's opinion, then you are just being self-righteous when you say that the reviewer doesn't "get" the game.

komuchen
komuchen

@Gelugon_baat  You are so hard trying to prove your point, but you are the only that is thinking "that your perception is the only truth".

I didn't say or had in mind this review - I haven't even played the game, so there is no point in arguing if he is right or wrong about this game. My point, and respond, is about overall point about what did you just said - that review by someone not understanding what they are reviewing is valid.

roosteraxe1
roosteraxe1

Okay, there was not a shredbof this comment that wasn't hypocritical. Calling someone judgemental for stating why they feel a certain way, a way you're calling them out on for feeling, acting as though they're close-minded for stating a fact about what types of games are popular where and generally just picking apart individual pieces of their statement instead of listening to what's being said are all quite the bit of hypocrisy. Also, a surefire sign that you are a troll. As you seem to keep trying to say while ignoring everyone else's right to, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

@Gelugon_baat  I'd be very happy if Japanese developers didn't give much care to the opinions of the western market, especially the NA market. Remember Dragon's Crown? There was a big fuss going on because some "feminists" in USA started writing BS about the artist that made the characters, to the point of accusing him of being a 14 years old boy.

he had to write a really long comment on his twitter justifying his approach of artistic style. I had to send an email to the developer, to confirm if they actually are going to change anything, censor anything, for their future releases of any game they make (I'm talking about the JP versions) and I'm glad that their reply was very informative. They dismissed anything even remotely related to the censoring, including any censorship of the NA or EU versions of Dragon's Crown.

I believe the reason there are not so many JRPGs being localized is because of people like this, too bad though for the hardcore gamers in Western world. 


Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@CoRiNi 

Well, then get used to the fact that different cultures have different tastes. What would you want to happen - impose Japan's tastes on the Western market?

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@CoRiNi  

You really are being judgemental.

Also, you may want to remind yourself that times change - you are perceiving the present with a mindset that had been set in stone years ago.

Moreover, you may want to be reminded that different cultures have different tastes. You can say that the Western world loves their fast-paced games, FPSes and such, but haven't you considered that Japan has its own biased slant?

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

@Gelugon_baat @CoRiNi Because they are not at the quality of what they used to be. We play, we enjoy them, some of them are masterpieces yet nothing like the 90s. And that's my problem, been playing JRPGs for decades now and my memory automatically starts comparing. Turn based classical RPGs are absolutely less than they were before, in both quantity and quality. This is not even a debate. I even remember many of GS reviews taking down points from some RPGs simply because they have "classical turn based gameplay".

I pay my respects to everyone, I even buy the localized version of all the JRPGs I have,
 I'm not disrespecting anyone,maybe I'm being judgmental. But my understanding is that the majority of the western players prefer a more action fast paced approach on such games than a turn based one. This rejection to the classic system brings us to a great amount of "mediocre" score reviews with the exception of Persona, a game that is too good and too popular that it doesn't give you much choice in its review. 

I cry like an idiot when I play a good JRPG, not because it has emotional moments but because it feels so good to play a good JRPG. 

Most of the JRPGs that got bad scores here actually got really good reception in Japan. My conclusion is that, when it comes to a market that some westerns don't understand, games get reviewed based on their popularity not their content. This is the age of FPS for the western world. 



Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@CoRiNi

Well, if you can understand Japanese fluently, why are you complaining about JRPGs not being in the market? You could just import them.

Also, you may want to realize that not everyone sees the state of JRPGs even in Japan like you do. I still perceive them as being quite common, and I don't see the genre as being under siege.

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

@Gelugon_baat @CoRiNi LOL! Why would I do that when I fluently speak Japanese? Why would I even wait for a bad and Western-ized translation that makes the game actually unfunny and bad when I can just play the original Japanese release? You're wrong, even in Japan, JRPGs are not what they used to be, as I said before, this is not the 90s where JRPGs were above everything else back then. It's mostly more action and fast paced now, when there are people out there crave for turn based classical RPGs. I haven't played this game yet simply because I have my hands full with my 3rd playthrough in Tales of Xillia 2 and will start playing Exstetra by next week. 

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@CoRiNi  

Rarity, really? You do know that the country that they originate from are awash with them, don't you?

Perhaps you are responding to me with the perspective that it's hard to get localized versions of JRPGs. To this, I will respond: you are living in the wrong country.

Also, you are giving money to the companies that localized them too, not just to the companies that developed the game in the first place.

You may consider this localization to be value-added, but others may not.

roosteraxe1
roosteraxe1

What is self-conceited? That seems very redundant. Like being self-arrogant or self-self-centered.

steve4123456789
steve4123456789

@Gelugon_baat @steve4123456789 Why do you keep speaking in 3rd person? Do you normally talk like this, you must be killer to be around lmao.

The Guided Fate Paradox More Info

  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    The Guided Fate Paradox is the spiritual successor to Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman. Players take on the role of high school student Renya Kagurazaka who has become a god by winning a lottery in a mall.
    7
    Average User RatingOut of 13 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate The Guided Fate Paradox
    Developed by:
    Nippon Ichi Software
    Published by:
    Nippon Ichi Software, NIS America
    Genres:
    Role-Playing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Fantasy Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes