Earthlock: Demo Review

As I peruse the demos currently available on the PlayStation Store, I am bombarded with a staggering number of similar looking RPGs.  Typically a genre that consumes a whole lot of one’s time, RPGs are kind of a big commitment, and so it makes sense to check out the demo first in order to decide if this is a game I want to spend a lot of time with.  One such RPG that stood out to me was Earthlock.

The concept behind Earthlock sounds kind of interesting.  Apparently, the world has stopped spinning, meaning there is a permanent dark side, a hot, bright side, and a livable strip in between.  Unfortunately, this was not something the demo really explored, though we did meet a decent cast of characters, the main ones in our team being a thief named Amon, a tough young woman named Olia, and my personal favorite, the adorable and scholarly hogbunny Gnart, who plays more of a supporting role in combat.

Speaking of combat, this game sports a rather interesting take on turn-based combat.  Each character has two “stances” that you can swap between that have different abilities.  For example, Olia can swap between Warrior and Veteran.  With Warrior, she can use regular attacks.  With Veteran, she can taunt enemies into only attacking her, and then she can retaliate with powerful counterattacks (a strategy that is very helpful during the demo’s last boss).

At first, I felt like stances were more of a nuisance than anything.  Switching between them uses a turn, and I didn’t really like not having all of my moves available to me at the same time.  By the end of the demo, I had grown more accustomed to stances…though looking back on my experience, I can’t say I remember there being anything particularly meaningful to the whole idea, either.  I mean, I suppose it certainly adds another layer of strategy, and you could look at it as each character having two job classes or something.

That didn’t mean the combat in this game wasn’t fun, though.  And at this point, turn-based combat is decades old, so I suppose changing it up is usually going to be a good thing rather than a bad one.  I also appreciated the way commands were set up to allow for minimal scrolling.  The characters were also charming enough, the graphics were colorful and pleasant, and there seems to be a lot to do.  The demo left off with farming, of all things, which seems like a simple way of getting a lot of useful items.  I also didn’t try any of the side quests, so I’m not sure what they’re like.

This was also an incredibly generous demo.  By the time it ended, I had completed 21% of the game, leading me to wonder if reports of the game being 20-30 hours long is accurate.  It took me just under 2 hours to get this far, meaning my math would put the game at roughly ten hours.  So I’m a bit confused as far as the game length is concerned.  Furthermore, with the demo already taking me through the first fifth of the game, I also wonder how much depth there will be to the characters and story.

That’s the problem.  There are so many RPGs out there.  Many of them turn out to be rather similar experiences, and if I’m going to spend time and money on one, I want it to stand out from the crowd.  Sure, everyone knows about RPGs like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts.  But there are also lesser known ones, one of my favorites being Ni no Kuni, that are unique enough to justify spending dozens of hours on them over all the competition.

Video from Youtube User: Virtual Bastion

I really did enjoy my time with this game.  But is Earthlock one of those stand-out RPGs?  I’m not really sure.  And is it worth the price tag of $29.99?  No, I don’t think so.  Maybe I’ll consider it if it goes on sale one day, but by then, there’s a good chance I’ll have found a different RPG that I’m more interested in.

But hey, if they handed out rewards for generous demos, Earthlock would certainly take the cake!

16 thoughts on “Earthlock: Demo Review

  1. I played the demo for this, too, and was on the fence about buying it, but then it went on sale for super cheap so I wound up picking it up. I…had NO idea about that lore behind it. As you said the demo really didn’t go into such, but now the title makes a lot of sense. I found the little hogbunny character the most interesting, too, even if he wasn’t the greatest fighter. I think the demo also makes fights a bit harder. That’s what I found with Bravely Default, which I just recently finished and loved. I’m currently playing Tales of Vesperia Definitive Version on the Switch (that’s where I demoed and purchased Earthlock), which I’m absolutely loving. Final Fantasy (VI) was my first RPG and it’ll always be my favorite series, but I’m glad I’m branching out because the Tales series seems pretty excellent, too, basing it off of Vesperia.

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    1. Would you say Earthlock was worth it? I had a good time with the demo, but I’m unsure about actually buying it.

      It’s always nice to find good RPGs, especially now that I’ve been less impressed with the more recent Final Fantasy games. I feel like the last really good one was 10 (which was also my very first “main” Final Fantasy game).

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      1. Well…I actually haven’t played it yet, but I don’t think I spent very much for it so if I wind up not liking it, I won’t be too sad. Though I might’ve caught it on a sale. If it’s anything over $20, I would wait until it goes on sale again.

        I did like FFXII, but I haven’t played anything after that except for the FFVII Remake, of course, which I loved. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to deal with the more active battle, but it was actually okay, and in face the game I’m playing now Tale of Vesperia has a similar battle system.

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      2. I had fun with FF12 as far as gameplay was concerned, but I didn’t end up feeling attached to the characters or invested in the story. I also played FF13, which was…just all right. I’ve played Final Fantasy 4-13 (minus 11). The best period for the series I think, was 6-10.

        I still need to play the first part of the FF7 Remake. I’m getting a nice, little backlog of games I still need to play. Ori and the Blind Forest and its sequel, A Hat in Time, along with various random games I got on sale.

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      3. I absolutely relate to that. The gameplay is a lot of fun, but I’ve long held that they made the wrong person the main character. Vaan is just…there lol. It would’ve been much better if they’d made Balthier and Fran the mains because they were the most intersting. I do still need to play Zodiac Age, the updated version. Yeah I definitely thing 4-10 was the golden age. I was a little cool on V, but after I reviewed it, I definitely saw more merit in the story.

        The FFVII Remake is so good and worth the time. I need to play the Intergrade, but I haven’t been in a good headspace plus I’m playing another JRPG Tales of Vesperia, which is pheonmenal. I’m glad to be branching out from the FF Series even though it’ll always be my favorite.

        I loved watching the LP of Ori that I saw! Still need to watch the sequel, and I think A Hat in Time is in my backlog!

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      4. The way I’d probably rank my top Final Fantasy games would be 7, 10, and 6 as my top 3. FF8 is good, too, and I keep meaning to replay FF9 because I somewhat forgot what it was like.

        I should check out Tales of Vesperia some time. I need some new RPG series to play. All my favorites aren’t as good as they used to be. Kingdom Hearts, Ni no Kuni, and even lighter RPGs like Paper Mario.

        I’m planning on playing the Ori games soon. I’ve already seen a playthrough of the first game (on our Virtual Bastion YouTube channel, actually), and I look forward to trying it myself. I actually bought both Ori games and part 1 of the FF7 remake on sale a few months ago. A good number of games I buy nowadays are on sale. It’s always satisfying to get a good deal.

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      5. A wise duckling indeed 😀 I think my order is VII, IX then IV. I’m not sure what comes after that. VI was my first and I really do love it. It’s also a major favorite AND people tend to argue between it and VII, which…can get annoying. I really enjoy VIII. I liked X, but I found Tidus annoying hehe.

        I actually really love Tales of Vesperia, and I can’t wait to play more games in the series. I need to play Ni No Kuni actually! Thanks for reminding me. My brother gave me that for Christmas and I totally forgot. I’ve never played Kingdom Hearts, which shocks all my friends since I’m a huge Final Fantasy fan. I actually don’t know ANYTHING about the story. I only know it’s Disney and Final Fantasy characters, which is pretty cool.

        Buying on sale is the best way to go! I wish Nintendo dropped their prices but they never do even on older games. It’s super annoying. I was looking at the first Bravely Default, and it’s still in the $50. Bravely Default II is really good though. If you can find it on sale, I’d highly recommend picking it up 🙂

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      6. I absolutely love Ni no Kuni, though it takes a while to get started. It gets much better once you meet your third team member, who also happens to be my favorite character in the game…

        I really loved Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 (which I definitely recommend), and some of the extra games were good, too. I was a bit disappointed by the third game, though I’m not sure if it was the game’s fault or because my standards were too high because we had to wait so many years for its release, ha ha! The story has also gotten way too complicated, so even though I’ve played most of the games, I don’t really know what’s going on anymore.

        I’ve gotten so many games for roughly $2 on the Playstation store, and I even got Subnautica for free. Best deal ever! I’m planning on at least playing the Bravely Default 2 demo sometime in the future. I’m not sure why I never played demos until recently. It’s fun getting to try out a bunch of games for free, but I sure wish I had tried to play the Balan Wonderworld demo before it became unavailable. People say the game isn’t very good, but that only made me want to try the demo even more.

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      7. I heard KH got super complicated and timey-wimey, but I only know that because peole were complaining that FFVIIR was copying off of it, which I honestly found laughable. The first Final Fantasy was a time loop. FFVIII is a major one, and FFX uses a time travel paradigm (of sorts). Not only that, but bime loop narratives are all over the zeitgeist, so it’s not like it’s something really out of the ordinary, and I thought the way the Remake did it was clever. I heard the third didn’t feature characters from Final Fantasy like the other two did? I do want to play or watch it since it is a Square Enix title.

        I wish all games had demos. While sometimes the demos don’t showcase all the game has to offer, I think it’s better to do so. Like the BDII one was harder than the actual game in terms of combat, but I actually like that because if I can manage the demo battles, then I know I’ll be able to handle the regular game ones.

        Yeah I wasn’t really into Balan Wonderland’s demo. It wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t going to spend the money for the full game.

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      8. The third Kingdom Hearts was definitely a bit different from the others. Final Fantasy characters were indeed absent, as far as I remember, and we rarely got to fight any Disney villains, either. I think we got to fight Davy Jones and that was about it, while past games had battles against iconic villains like Ursula, Jafar, Maleficent… I got the impression that Disney gave Square Enix less creative freedom this time around, which was a shame.

        Yeah, every game really should have a demo. I was considering checking out the demo for the new Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. It’s some kind of rhythm game or something, which is not my thing, but I thought it could be fun to at least try out the demo to see what the heck it is.

        That’s why I wish I had gotten to play the Balan Wonderworld demo. I definitely don’t want to pay any money for it, but I was hoping to at least record the demo for YouTube. I was hoping it would at least be good for a chuckle.

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      9. That really is a shame, but sadly not surprising from Disney. They’re really, really careful with their brand, which goes all the way back to Walt because his original idea was stolen. What I find hilarious about that, though, is all of their big stories are from other places. Oh irony hehe.

        I saw that! I didn’t download it because I haven’t play KH and even though I know I might like the music, I just didn’t I do like rhythm games, though. My favorite currently is Avicii Invector, which is…just amazing.

        Balan Wonderland was…interesting to say the least. So they took the demo down? That stinks.

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      10. I don’t think I’ve ever played a rhythm game before. I was also thinking of trying the demo for Cadence of Hyrule, another rhythm game I would never have considered normally if it wasn’t Zelda.

        Yeah, the demo is gone now, and I have no idea why. I’ve seen older games that still have demos available. So weird.

        Another demo I want to try is the one for Miitopia on the Switch. Again, it doesn’t look like something I would normally play, but I’ve enjoyed watching others play it on YouTube and wanted to at least give it a try. Choosing the different faces for characters seems fun.

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      11. I played the demo for that! It was a bit difficult because it combines rhythm and battle. I…thnk there’s still a demo for Avicii Invector. I’m currently playing one called Voez, which is fun. There are other Theatrythm games I’ve played that I enjoyed once I realized what the heck I was doing.

        I don’t know why they take demos down. Like is there an issue with leaving them available? Maybe I don’t understand the intricacies.

        Ah! I have that one! I had fun making my little Mii character lol. I stopped at naming the other ones though. I need to get back to it. I played a little of the demo they had before. It was cute and fun. They borrow a lot from standard JRPGs but it’s kind of a cute parody of them if that makes any sense.

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      12. I’ve watched Peanut Butter Gamer play some of Miitopia, and it looked a lot more entertaining than I expected. He was playing with a friend and made other team members that looked like other Youtubers they know. It’s a shame he never finished that playthrough, but I sometimes watch the highlights from his newest playthrough of the Switch version.

        One of my favorite demos so far has been Unravel. It’s this platformer where your main character is made of yarn. It was really cute and relaxing. I might get the full version someday. They often have a sale where both it and its sequel are really cheap.

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      13. I’ve seen Unravel! I think I watched a bit of a Let’s Play of it. It looked really cute, and the graphics were top notch. Maybe I’ll see if I can watch an LP of Miitopia. I haven’t had much time to get back to even the demo of it.

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