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An unexpected gift for fans of the SNES original and while the remake is seriously flawed in terms of both graphics and gameplay its sheer oddness is still highly compelling.
Not everyone is going to think that way, clearly. Each individual has their own expectations for a remake, and Actraiser Renaissance may have put hands on facets that were once sacred. Some will find the changes intrusive. It would have been nice if there was a classic mode included that strips out the tower defense to make everyone happy, but that’s not in the cards. In my eyes, however, Acraiser Renaissance was one of the biggest surprises and the most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve had this year.
Overall, Actraiser Renaissance stays true to the original game, while building it out even further and keeping the essence of what made it so special intact. If you never played the original Actraiser, then you are definitely in for a treat as it’s not every day you don the mantle of the Lord of Light and defy the will of Tanzra.
Yuzo Koshiro crushes it with both the classic and rearranged soundtrack, the gameplay is fun and a little bit improved in some cases, and the world is more enjoyable than ever to take in from the skies above and on the ground. I wish some classic pain points hadn’t come along for the ride and that the sprite work was a bit better, but Actraiser Renaissance is still a fantastic title whether you’re walking down memory lane or playing it for the first time.
Despite all the flaws, I still ploughed through Actraiser Renaissance, because, well, I love Actraiser, which is about the best that can be said for it.
ActRaiser Renaissance's plastic look betrays a solid remake with a lot of new content, and plenty of heart.
There's a generous amount of content, which at 20 hours is four times the completion size of the original. Since this retro remake is a game of three thirds, it'd be a disservice if followers of the original lost faith from initial impressions of the unsightly side-scrolling action, and an overly gabby god game. Yet, fans won't be on cloud nine if a lack of support towards Actraiser Renaissance discourages Square Enix from being devoted to ActRaiser as a promising series.
A strangle little blend of god sim and hack and slash genres, Actraiser Renaissance is extremely uneven to say the least in almost all facets of its design and yet despite that, it's also oddly compelling and enjoyable. A proper little curio indeed.
While the core mix of action platforming and city building is a thing of beauty, this Renaissance version of ActRaiser is bogged down by motion sickness-inducing framerate drops, ugly prerendered character models, and far too frequent tower defense sections. If ActRaiser Renaissance is your only way to play ActRaiser, then please do yourself the favor, but I would highly recommend getting a Super Nintendo with a game cartridge, or a Wii with the virtual console download installed.
Actraiser Renaissance is a skilfully made remake, but it does suffer from a couple of major technical and stylistic uncertainties. If you love Actraiser I recommend giving it a chance: the strategic portion has been significantly expanded and even those who know the original by heart will find new elements to play with.
Review in Italian | Read full review