By , on May 19, 2011

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5 out of 5


  • Minor gameplay improvements; skippable puzzles, smoother difficulty progression.
  • Fast-paced 'pair' battle system; makes exploration less of a grind.
  • Detailed 3D artwork with Retina optimizations; effects can be scaled down as needed.
  • Solid storyline that's engaging for new players and returning fans alike.


  • Hard to shake the 'been there, done that' feeling; fans will experience a bit of deja-vu.


While not as stunningly original as the first title, Chaos Rings Omega is still a great RPG that manages to polish the formula even more thanks to an engaging storyline and minor gameplay improvements.

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RPG fans are an odd bunch and many companies have recognized this, adopting the motto of, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' with gusto. While some publishers/developers should be applauded for trying to mix things up in order to penetrate the Western market, JRPGs are less prone to making wild new leaps. With this in mind it's no surprise that Chaos Rings Omega - the 'prequel' to the original Chaos Rings title from Square Enix - feels more like a story-based expansion than a full-fledged original game.

First things first, though - this game does get very 'spoilerific', which is no real surprise, so better to be safe than sorry if you intend to finish the original Chaos Rings at any time.

So in a year's worth of development, what has changed? Not a lot at all. Omega represents a refinement of what has come before, polishing out the minor niggles from the first game in order to make this one shine that little bit brighter. Combat still follows the turn-based 'pair' system, allowing players to either attack individually, receiving damage individually in turn or as a 'pair', boosting attacks for an all-in strike, but risking additional damage across both fighters. Spells carry element-changing effects that result in a rock-paper-scissor style of determining additional damage, while 'Gene Plates' allow players to collect various skills to customize the abilities equipped on each character.

The artistic motifs of the original game are rampant in this release, with many of the monsters and characters making return appearances with little to no change. It's understandable, thanks to the story, that things are going to be similar, but it's hard not to be a bit disappointed in fighting a familiar assortment of enemies. Puzzles make a return to the game once again, however those who found them to be a bit of a progression block can skip them at the expense of losing bonus items.

Considering that Chaos Rings Omega feels and plays so similarly to its previous iteration, it's natural to ask, 'Why should I get this title?', but the answer is simple. The story in Omega is engrossing and hours slip by as combat and narrative mix together smoothly with little grinding required to complete the main campaign. It's great to see additional content already scheduled through to the end of the year, so those who do dive in can expect some solid post-game content to enjoy as well.

It would have been fantastic to have had the voice-acting pack available from the outset as well, but for now Chaos Rings Omega is a great pickup for fans of the original and those who don't mind jumping on board now despite missing out on the first game.


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