Being one of the last few N-Gage games to be released on the system, Rifts is one title to pick up if you own the handheld system.
What players may not know, Rifts actually originated from a pen-and-paper game. The game?s setting takes place with a post-apocalyptic theme. Apparently, Earth was minding its own business when a portal opened up, releasing demons and monsters upon human kind. Now, humans are no longer on the top of the food chain, but that is where you come in.
Rifts is a tactical turned-based strategy game, similar to other grid based combat games like Advance Wars or Rebel Star Tactical Command. Players control a group of characters and move them around a grid-based playing field. Unlike most sci-fi RPGs, Rifts gives the player the ability to wield magic and guns as opposed to swords and shields. When you first start the game, you must customize your own character. Like any RPG game, you have a list of cosmetic and stat-boosting upgrades to choose from. Unfortunately, many of your character?s stats don?t really make an impact in gameplay until several hours are put into your quest. This makes selecting armor and weaponry more important.
Aside from the main quest, the player has the option to partake in side quests. However, taking these side quests can greatly affect the main story arc as well as character experience. For example, if you accept to take one side quest, you won?t be able to take a certain other side quest down the line. But this side quest you missed might have effected character development more than the original. This forces players to make selections carefully and think ahead, enhancing the strategy level of the game.
Like Rebel Star Tactical Command, the player has a few options available when deciding which attack to use. Will you split your attack into two weaker shots, or go for an instant kill with one well placed blast? Also, the environment must be used in order to survive. Hiding behind walls and knowing when to stick your neck out is a must for survival. Ammo must also be brought along before each mission and reloaded during a mission. If you don?t bring enough ammo to a fight, you?ll be a sitting duck.
The armor system is also quite interesting. Instead of having a standard health bar, Rifts throws the player a loop. Once your armor has been destroyed, you will rarely be able to survive one more attack, heightening the combat tactics.
The graphics have also been crafted well for the N-Gage screen. When characters converse, the speaking avatars are well detailed. However, the isometric combat view isn?t of the highest quality. The camera can be rotated for optimal viewing, but it is always hard to control a 90-degree control scheme when the screen is angled at 45. Plus it seems a little strange that the game experiences slow down from time to time even when there really isn?t much action happening on screen.
The audio a decent for an N-Gage game. Because the hardware is actually quite limiting, there is only so much N-Gage sound designers can work with. Hence, most tunes repeat at a constant rate and can grow to be very repetitive within a short amount of time.
Rifts also supports many different types of mutliplayer modes. Death match, king of the hill, and capture the flag are just a few of the options available. Multiplayer combat can be played though the N-Gage Arena or via bluetooth for up to four players. The multiplayer mode is a well thought out aspect of the game and should be taken advantage of if possible.
Rifts is probably going to be known for being one of the better N-Gage games. If you grow tired of Pathway to Glory, Rifts will surely fill your void. Having tons of replay value and offering a solid single player experience, picking up this game is really a no brainer. If you own an N-Gage, you really should have this game in your collection.