Far too simple and tedious to be really entertaining.

User Rating: 6.3 | Shinkisekai Evolution DC
Dreamcast was one of those systems that never really got to see a "golden age," and in so, never had many RPG's, or at least not many good ones, besides Skies of Arcadia, Grandia, and Shenmue, of course. Evolution was the first RPG for the Dreamcast, coming out soon after the console's release. Being so, you generally wouldn't expect it to be anything more than a run-of-the-mill standard RPG dungeon crawler, and that is exactly what this is.

Evolution isn't a normal boring dungeon crawler, however. The battle system was made pretty well for a near-release title RPG on a system, which has anything from hitting people with a giant mechanical arm with Mag to hitting people with a frying pan. Well, that's all for looks, obviously, not much with gameplay of course. The battle system is almost intirely designed to be exactly like Final Fantasy's, without the ATB system involved. Menu-driven weapon improvement and special move development, in which you can use the moves inside the battle at will, if you have enough ability points to do so, of course. Nothing original, nothing special. The strategic location of where your characters are in the battle is also taken from Final Fantasy, with 3 places to go to. Far back for weaker characters or long range weaponry, up front for stronger, hands on weaponry, and the middle for someone who can't make up their mind. The special abilities are numerous, look nice, and are also very affective against enemies, but nothing is new in that department either. The story is far from Final Fantasy, however, and is not incredibly well thought out at times. The characters are cute, and well designed however, and put a lot more charm into the game, making you drawn in a little bit more. The dungeons themselves, however, are incredibly tedious, boring, and change everytime you go into them. Wait, that last bit isn't exactly a bad thing, no. But it really doesn't improve upon it anyways. The dungeons look boring, the traps are easy to see when you get close to them, and the enemies, as long as you're not surrounded by them, are rediculously easy to get away from. There is some nice items here and there that let you see the whole map, where all the enemies are, make the enemies never see you (not like that really matters) and other assorted things that affect that level in the dungeon, but it really doesn't help the fact that you are running in a maze that looks like it was designed for a rat experiment. How the dungeons change every time can lead to more depth, but it doesn't save the game from the fact that it just isn't fun to run through those dungeons. If there was maybe some puzzles of some sort, then it may help, but it's merely just a maze you run through.

The graphics are crisp and clean... when outside the dungeons. The cutscenes have some nice animations and the characters have enough detail to them to show off a little of Dreamcast's power back in the day. The characters themselves are cute and charming looking, and also help the overall cutesy look of the game. The battles look great, with each enemy having it's own animations and spell effects that look good as well, with your special moves being an absolute treat when you use them. The dungeons, however, are another story. The ground, enemies and you are the only thing that has relatively decent textures. The backgrounds are almost always totally black, or just have random changing colors in some areas. The walls are muddy looking, and there is at times no ending to a corridor for about 2 minutes running down the same hallway. That's more of a gameplay issue, but when you have to look at the same place for that long can wear on you. The town looks relatively good though, and the houses, inns, and such also look crisp and clean. The dungeons are the number one thing that mars this game, and I wish that Sting development couldv'e worked harder on that to take advantage of the what-was-new Dreamcast processor.

Sound is alright, to an extent. The sound effects are all run-of-the-mill stuff, no voice acting to be heard, and the special attacks all have good, but not great, sound effects to them all. The music in battle is okay, but the rest can really wear on the gamer. The dungeons have primarily the same music going and going repeatedly, with no end in sight, making the dungeons that much more of a chore to go through. The town music is sometimes a little too cutesy, and really wears on you quick, and the rest of the very marginal areas are just average. Listening to it at first doesn't sound bad, but even the best music can get old, and this is far from the best music you'll hear in an RPG.

Evolution boasts that it has replay value with it's randomly generating dungeons, where each play will never be the same. Heh, change the dungeons all you want, it still plays the same, the items in one level are still there, just in different places, and the random dungeon generator can have you going down a corridor for minutes long without any battles just to get to one chest because of the generator's flaws. The lackluster story really doesn't bring you back either, and the battles and item collecting is nothing original, in which you'll find much more joy replaying through a much better RPG than this, since both games probably have the same elements throughout. The charming characters are at least nice to look at, but that's not near enough to keep you coming back for more.

Evolution is a lackluster RPG. But, considering it was a near-release title for the Dreamcast, it makes it about average, since near-release RPG titles almost never end up to be anywhere close to great. Considering that factor, it's not terrible, but I'd still wouldn't bother buying it unless you're a hardcore RPG fan or a Dreamcast owner starving for any and all RPG's.