Riviera: The Promised Land PSP Review

Riviera: The Promised Land first appeared on the WonderSwan colour, then a couple of years later an enhanced port was released for the GBA, and now it has perhaps found its most comfortable home within the technologically superior PSP.

Lead character, Ein, is a Grim Angel (a demon slayer), but it doesn’t take long for the guy to be suffering from a nasty case of amnesia, a common ailment of RPG heroes (must be something in the water in RPG land) and an early signal that perhaps Riviera’s narrative isn’t exactly going to offer much in the way of freshness and that is indeed correct, but nonetheless it’s a bright and breezy affair, with a warm inoffensive sense of humour that never fails to bring a smile to the face and some great characters. The largely well voiced dialogue (new to this version) provides much character to an already charismatic story.

When it comes to playing the game, Riviera is a bit more imaginative than it is with its story.

There isn’t any exploration of the traditional kind, instead searching areas is done via a simple almost point-and-click like interface. Opening chests and carrying out other actions often requires Trigger Points, which are largely gained by performing well in combat. It can be a bit annoying, having come across a chest and not having any points to open it. Previous areas you’ve visited can’t always be revisited either, meaning you’ll often have to leave some potentially useful items behind, particularly if you aren’t very good at the game.

The combat system is adequate enough, but a little too simplistic and with little imagination. Using certain items in combat, will allow you to learn new character specific skills and at the same time, see a handy boost to their stats, which is quite a unique way of growing your characters. There are no random battles, but with the practice battles (which you can choose to play anytime, just as long as you aren’t in a fight or watching the story unfold) power levelling is still a possibility for those who are in to that sort of thing.

In regards to differences to the previous versions, PSP Riviera is very much like the GBA version. The graphics are said to have been enhanced, but they’re not really much different to the simple, but charming visuals of that last version, which is no bad thing. Music though has been overhauled, and is now up to PSP standards, the result is an excellent soundtrack.

But perhaps attention hasn’t been spent on the ugliest blemish of the game, which is the not very generous Inventory space, so inventory management is required far too regularly and ultimately really hurts the game.

This problem and the simplistic battle system really holds the game back from being something truly great. Nonetheless there’s still plenty to like here, certainly more so than there is to hate, and genre fans will perhaps find Riviera: The Promised Land to be amongst the better RPGS on the system.