Billed as being part of Square’s “Summer of Adventure” lineup back in 2000, Threads of Fate (known as Dewprism in Japan) is a PSOne title frequently cited as one of those games that should have gotten a sequel.
Well-received and fun to play, ToF is a challenging platformer/RPG that holds up to modern gaming standards…minus a hefty dose of replayability and exploration.
Similar to the recently released Tales of Xillia, ToF follows two different storylines – each with their own magic-system, dungeons, and bosses.
The “Threads of Fate” title comes into play with the juxtaposition and intersecting of main characters Rue and Mint, who cross paths as enemies, rivals, and allies. The world in which the story takes place is one where ancient wizards, called Aeons, created fantastic relics capable of shaping fate itself and then sealed them within their ateliers. As time buried the ancient magics, several heroes and power hungry kingdoms around the world seek the secrets of the Aeons for themselves.
As the white-haired and Enigmatic Rue, players are treated to a somewhat somber story about a boy without a past set to avenge the one person who cared for him. Rue wields a massive blade and can transform into most enemies he defeats. Specific enemy skills will allow Rue to solve puzzles and avoid certain traps.
Mint, on the other hand, carries a more comedic storyline that sees the headstrong princess seeking vengeance against her sister, who usurped her from the throne and now rules the kingdom with a forbidden magic. Not content to simply take back her kingdom, Mint sets out to take over the world. Her magic system is more traditional in that she learns spells from her enemies. But unlike Rue, whose magic set is more physical based, Mint’s magic is powerful and features more projectiles.
ToFs feels much more like a hack-and-slash platformer than an RPG. Strategies rely more on timing and dodging than channeling magic. It’s rare to see an RPG where it’s possible to fall down a pit to your doom, and while the prospect sounds daring, it can be more frustrating than fun. The main draw of the game, the two intersecting stories, is interesting enough as a gameplay mechanic. If you’ve played one side of the story and have gone on to the next (beating both unlocks a “true ending”) you really won’t notice too many differences until shortly after the first quarter of the game. But being able to explore “new” dungeons and areas is pretty cool.
Unfortunately, the words “non-linear” are not what one would use when describing Threads of Fate. While the divergent plots change the game up a tiny bit, there is close to nothing when it comes to sidequests and replayability. Most of the game’s levels are chosen from a hub town called Carona which functions in a similar manner to Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door‘s Rogueport. Instead of populating the town full of citizens offering fetch-quests and tasty trading opportunities, Carona’s purpose is to advance the plot and allow some downtime between dungeons.
But Threads of Fate has many redeeming qualities, including its sublime soundtrack composed by Junya Nakano. And despite its simplicity and occasional drawbacks, Threads of Fate is on-point more times than it’s not. The localization is fresh and hilarious and the game’s characters are thoroughly developed.
If you’re looking for a little platforming and slashing in your RPG, Threads of Fate is available as a PSone Classic on the Playstation Network.