Welcome to This Is Not A Review. In these articles we discuss general impressions, ideas and thoughts on any given game, but as the title implies, it’s not a review. Instead, it’s an exercise in offering a quick recommendation (or dismissal) after spending enough time to grasp the ideas and gameplay of a thing without necessarily playing it from A to Z.

The subject of this installment: Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, developed by Kiro’o Games and published by Plug In Digital. Tested on Steam.

On the face of things, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is a breath of fresh air. With so many RPGs rooted in Japanese culture or a branch of Sci-Fi or Fantasy, this action-RPG comes along inspired by African folklore. This is a positive step that offers a whole new wealth of stories and ideas, and pastes them over a familiar template usually found in the ‘Tales of‘ games by Bandai Namco.

Admittedly, Aurion would struggle to hold its own against that inspiration and many other RPGs because the central story is quite cliché. The young prince Enzo Kori-Odan is due to marry Erine Evou, but on the big day, Erine’s brother stages a coup and attempts to capture Enzo’s kingdom. I wasn’t feeling particularly enthused by the idea of following a plot that has been told umpteen times over, but the game’s mechanics make this a title worth looking into.

Being an action-RPG, there are moves to learn, items to use and combos to perform which all feel powerful and impacting. The movement of the cast is lovely to observe thanks to the bold and artistic visual style, and Aurion becomes an immersive cartoon of action and tactics during combat. Erine also fights by your side, and though she isn’t fully controllable, the player has to plan when she swoops in with healing or boosting moves.

There’s plenty of mythology on offer, and the story and world both seem to encompass a lot of missions, meaning there’s plenty to do for those who fall in love with it. I, however, found the preview build to falter in ways which broke my immersion. These were mainly cosmetic — numerous spelling errors, or words that ran together with no spaces. There were also times when the key information was displayed in French during tutorials.

While these are obviously issues that can be fixed or patched over time, I found that I wasn’t particularly engaged with the cast or the story — at least not enough to invest the required time to pursue the conclusion. Many aspects of Aurion feel a little too obvious and predictable, but having said that, I must champion the fact that Kiro’o Games are trying to be different by stepping off of traditional RPG paths and allowing players to experience a different culture.

While I wasn’t completely sold on Aurion, I’ll be keeping an eye on the developer to see what they do next.

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