Review by Lord-Spencer
Oh Traysia, what could have been
Sometimes, a game can have all the right ingredients behind it, and yet still manages to be a complete disappointment simply because the programming experience wasn't there.
Traysia is an RPG that could have been the among the top in its genre, yet curious beginner mistakes and balancing issues relegates it to the footnotes of the Genesis library.
"Traysia, I am sorry that I have to leave you"
Two things are immediately apparent in Traysia's plot. First, is that the developers behind it really believe in its potential, as evidenced in the investment they made to make some nifty "cut scene" screens. Something that wasn't much in use in the 16 bit days.
Second, is that the dialogue is actually pretty decent and flows well. This isn't the usual half-assed attempt in translation especially popular on the Genesis, but actually decent stuff.
The story involves Roy, who wants to travel and see the world, and so leaves his girlfriend Traysia and goes away. What at first starts as a trip of self-discovery with all the intention to come back, turns into a quest from town to town with the real possibility of not being able to.
Roy and his new found friends travel from town to town, resolving some issue after another. While these issues are not directly related, they all might be due to the influence of something bigger and badder.
Due to the decent dialogue, and the fact that Traysia actually attempts to tell more story than it keeps in the instruction manual, the plot is actually quite okay.
"One person is powerless, but with all of working together, we will gain victory"
This is a game that doesn't immediately fall apart after you play it. In the beginning, it actually makes a decent first impression.
Battles are turn-based random encounter affairs, but they play like in an SRPG. In your turn, you move you characters and attack with either offensive skills or magic. Position becomes very important, and battles are more strategic because of that.
Naturally, this means that each battle takes more time than other turn-based RPGs, and this when the game starts falling apart. Once you go into the world map, you realize that the game doesn't actually have an overworld. Towns are connected to dungeons and caves through one extensive world (broken in several parts).
This would actually be cool, if not for two facts. First, the high random encounter rate, which is a major pain. Second, the very significant lack of a world map. Unlike in physically mapping a dungeon, mapping the expansive world of Traysia (which you will need to do) is an ugly exercise.
Since the battles are fun, and the story is okay, wouldn't beating you head against this mapless world be more tolerable. Not if you realize that the game cannot be comfortably beaten without completely breaking it.
In battle, if Roy dies its game over, and Roy is usually always the weakest of the bunch. Navigating the world regularly drains your health in useless battles, necessitating going back to camp for supplies. Even with this forced grinding, the battles only become easier after a while.
That is until you realize you could equip unlimited number of accessories. Seriously, you can equip as many defensive accessories as you can carry. With how the game calculates damage, if you go beyond one defense number, you are practically invincible for the rest of the game.
Hence, you will be walking around in a maze of a world, fighting hundreds of impossible-to-lose battles that take more time, and that's it for the game.
"I want to visit lands I've never seen before"
Besides the nifty screens the game uses in its storytelling, the game has some really good graphics. It uses those cute-looking chunky sprites, and the world pops because of it. Both enemy and friendly sprites look excellent.
It is good then, that as you wander stupidly in the world, that it looks good and all. Otherwise, there wouldn't be much point.
What's different about the game is how the dialogue box and status bar are always visible in the game. Hence, the actual gameplay screen is limited due to those two screens always open. Its not a big deal, and the extra information would even have been welcome if not for the fact that it is not actually needed.
Musically, the soundtrack is good, and uses the Sega sound chip well. Unlike some other Genesis games, the tunes do not feel like they could brake the sound chip at any minute and start grating at your ear.
Traysia could have been a much better game. If the overworld had a map, then moving around it wouldn't have been such a pain. If the random encounter rate was much lower, then moving around that maze wouldn't have been such a chore.
Of course, even with those improvements, the unlimited accessories mistake would have made it all boring, and that's not actually an easy fix. Before using those accessories, we see the limited experience of the developer team in how your characters grow. Even with all those battles, you don't feel much stronger.
Like the hero of the story, the developer team went on with a lot of hopes, but unfortunately their limited experience showed in the final product.
Product Release: Traysia (US, 12/31/92)
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