#426 Threads of Fate

Posted: 6th October 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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638th played so far

Genre: Action/Role-Playing
Platform: PlayStation
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square

Square was on a roll in the late 90s. We’ve seen their Final Fantasy output, still some of the golden age of the series, and we’ll discuss the flawed sequel, but better standalone Chrono Cross at some point too. Threads of Fate is another game in their list, this time as an action RPG.

Our Thoughts

When starting the game, you immediately get confronted with a choice – do you play as Rue, an amnesiac boy trying to revive his friend, or Mint, who wants the Relic – the macguffin the game revolves around – to gain control of her kingdom. It threw me for a moment, as I hadn’t quite heard of this split yet, but it started an interesting dichotomy.

You see, while the game uses the same locations for both, the story is different (with Mint having a far sillier tone), hitting similar beats and locations, but having quite different things going on. The implication appears to be that they both happen around the same time (even if you can’t quite consolidate things that way), with each taking charge in their story.

I got the feeling that Rue’s story and game was set up first, although it’s hard to say without knowing the development history. His story is the more straightforward one, and it feels like Mint’s story intersects with it. He also has the more interesting, substantial abilities. By defeating enemies, he can learn to transform into them and use their abilities. This is used in puzzles, where you have to take on the right forms in a place, things like that, as well as by matching them with enemies. At one point early on, a spider was vulnerable to fire, and another enemy had a fire attack. You used one to defeat the other.

On the ohter hand, Mint’s special abilities come from her magic. Instead of learning spells, they are on a matrix – colour, or energy, and effect type – stuff like single attacks, group attacks and so on. It’s not as complex, but it makes for an interesting system where gaining a new ability really makes a big difference in the number of additional choices you get.

Final Thoughts

Threads of Fate is an RPG with a fairly light story, but interesting battle system with the abilities it gives the two main characters. Thanks to the action focus, it’s not too complex, but it creates a far more interesting setup instead. Sadly it makes for a few difficult positioning battles that Mint especially seems ill suited for, and on the whole the game feels somewhat forgettable, but it’s good as a slightly different experiment.