Despite Sony’s recent announcement that they are halting PSP production, the handheld continues to receive support from select publishers as the Playstation Vita’s library is steadily growing. Natsume has partnered once again with Kemco, the developers behind Mystic Chronicles, to bring another nostalgic RPG to PSP owners: End of Serenity. Originally known as End of Aspiration on the iOS and Android, End of Serenity is a retro-style JRPG that PSP owners can enjoy while the handheld still draws breath in the gaming market.
The game takes place in a world haunted by the remnants of an ancient civilization that was wiped out due to their excessive power and greed. A secret organization known as the Underworld have been collecting precious stones called “Atomigens” that were utilized as a part of the ancient civilization for unknown purposes. A young Azure sorceress named Eril is investigating their diabolic plans before she is caught off guard by Melti, a notorious Underworld leader. She is saved by a young trader named Yute before they part ways and eventually reunite later to save the world from the Underworld organization.
The turn based combat is very reminiscent of classic RPGs in the SNES days. You are able to attack, defend, utilize skills and summon spirits to destroy your enemies. As expected, you can roam freely in an open-map setting with towns and dungeons while searching for all visible and partially hidden treasure chests in your travels. Each character is given two slots for equipping accessories with weapons and armor available at select shops in the nearest towns. While traversing a dungeon, the random battles which are a staple of many retro RPG titles are present with an option given to you to set the battle encounters to Auto-mode without any input needed. The Familiar spirits you summon are accessible to you once your BP bar gauge is filled with at least one bar or entirely filled. Skills can be acquired at skill shops for gold but are limited to the number of character skills slots available.
Acquiring ESP or End of Serenity points will be necessary for those wishing to achieve full completion of the game. Effectively, these points are used for special items in addition to granting access to exclusive facilities and dungeons that cannot be found in the main story arc of the game. They are not required to finish the game but rather they offer an incentive to fans who want access to all areas of the game that are hidden or unlockable.
Visually, the game is exactly what you expect from a nostalgic retro RPG with 2D visuals compromising most of the game’s moments with select special effects being the exception. Summoning the Familiar Spirits allows you to see some of the game’s more colorful artwork as the background environments and battle music tend to be bland and mostly forgettable. The flow of the game is worthy of praise as load times between areas are minimal with very smooth transition. It plays very well on the PSP handheld despite the fact that some may balk at the game’s roots on the iOS or Android devices.
End of Serenity is an enjoyable title for PSP owners that are sure to fill them with fondness and nostalgia for classic RPG titles. Though the story is predictable and the dialogue dull at times, the unique skills and battle system is reason enough for RPG fans to keep their PSP handheld running for just a while longer.
PROS – Good visuals, Fun characters, Solid Battle system
CONS – The game is short, Repetitive music
SCORE – 74%