One of the first things that caught our attention about KEMCO’s Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey is its homage to the 90’s era style of role-playing games. It’s a visually simplistic title but implements the very exciting action-adventure experience into the mix, giving players a mixture of tactical approach along with hack and slash action. Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey will cater to the hearts of those who fancy a lengthy adventure that’s filled with charming characters, a lighthearted story, and plenty of mysteries along the way.
What to Expect
Like most action role-playing titles, Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey encourages players to defeat monsters in a more real-time fashion, instead of relying on the more conventional turn-based style that most RPGs are esteemed for. You’ll be traveling a lot throughout the game in search for new weapons and magic spells, which all have their unique characteristics to assist you in battle. Explore mysterious dungeons which are filled with a plethora of wild monsters and wrestle against formidable bosses in order to restore peace to the land. Along the way, you’ll be able to cook up your own meals which can be used as healing items, and take advantage of item crafting which will come in handy during the later half of the game. With a straightforward approach to its control scheme and battle system, Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey is an adventure that anyone can enjoy whether you’re a hardcore fan or simply looking to explore new territory.
You play the role of a young boy named Kunah, who comes from the fire dragon tribe and is summoned one day by the gods of Vanneth, to help bring a young girl named Escude back home. Along with his childhood friend Riel, who’s the daughter of the revered ice dragon chief, the two set out to explore a vast world below in order to uncover the mystery of Escude’s abrupt disappearance.
There’s just something so pleasant about the throwback retro visuals on an RPG, because it just reminds us of the golden era when SNES created some of the best games in history. Each character sprite was designed beautifully and the stage designs, while could use a little touching up, brought the game to life in a great way. Overall, the presentation however felt a little lacking and we think more could’ve been done to create a more attractive in-game UI for the player to experience. We can totally see that the aim was to maintain the traditional retro feel, but a little more color would’ve been nice to better supplement the gameplay. However, the menu screen did a fantastic job of really conveying both main characters as the use of vibrant colors gave them life, and much of the screen was easy to read.
Sticking to the trend of following the retro blueprint, the sound and music in Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey fit the bill quite well. It’s very reminiscent of the 16-bit era and captures the essence of the overall story wonderfully, without diminishing anything else. The only area that we would say needed a lot of readjusting was the enemy sound effects, along with some of the attacks you’d perform during your adventure. Starting with the enemy screams, they just didn't sound right and sometimes felt off when attacking them. By off we mean that at times the game would register one sound and then suddenly it would just stop abruptly before starting over again. It didn’t really alter the gameplay in any way, but it certainly threw us off a little bit since we weren’t expecting it.
While Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey is certainly an enjoyable experience, we did find the game to feel less demanding than other titles. By this we mean that much of the action in the game wasn’t too difficult and with enough grinding, you could level up quickly and take out bosses without much concern. Another gripe is in enemy behavior and how they are often clumped in one big group that you have to fight your way through, and if you don’t have enough MP to unleash your powerful attacks, it’s a swift death since you can’t move. Whenever they respawn it’s pretty much another rinse and repeat process since the enemies don’t really put up a decent fight. Prior to unleashing your powerful attacks, a lot of your fundamental strikes are bland and don’t seem to inflict a lot of damage, which requires you to pretty much evade enemies if you’re low on MP. It became a bit annoying at times because if you aren’t careful it could lead to other problems, and having you resort to sacrificing items early just to get through.
Luckily, save points are scattered throughout the game so you’re encouraged to save your progress after every major event. It’s just unfortunate that you have to deal with these issues in dungeons because it makes the grind feel less fun and more of a chore, just to survive. The character interaction in the game is a plus for us because both Kunah and Riel are your typical polar opposites, Kunah being the more straightforward and cunning while Riel is sort of the tsundere who acts like a selfish jerk but truly cares about Kunah. It definitely creates a lot of charming and comedic moments and doesn’t feel contrived in any way. As you continue to dive deeper into the game, Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey has its perks. One of which we mentioned in particular was its crafting system, which you can use to create powerful items that can really help in those aforementioned annoying scenarios.
Making sure to keep a good assortment of healing items is imperative to surviving the long haul, so we recommend crafting as much as you can in order to reap the long term rewards! The cooking system is a wonderful addition since it grants you the chance to develop stronger bonds with characters you meet on your adventure, and Riel herself. It doesn’t provide any significant buffs to characters but it does allow you to generate some romance!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
No game is perfect, and Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey is an example of that. In spite of this, the gameplay is still rewarding enough that you’ll forget about the annoying moments, and just slash your way through once you start upgrading your weapons and building bonds with characters. The early progression of the game did feel slow, but once you start gathering the right items and learning new techniques, the overall experience starts to provide more satisfaction. The game is long but certainly not in the realm of say Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and the like. However, its charming dialogue and fast-paced action will keep you occupied for a while.
Straightforward controls make it easy to jump straight into battle and slash away.
Charming visuals that just scream nostalgia.
We enjoyed the character relationship between Riel and Kunah since it brought the game to life.
Make sure to cook and build your bonds! Can’t fight on an empty stomach!
Enemy behavior could use a little tweaking since it became annoying to deal with large clusters of them.
Early game felt a bit slow but eventually does pick up.
Honey's Final Verdict:
So what’s our verdict on Frane: Dragon’s Odyssey? Well, it’s a title that anyone can pick up and play but once you’ve completed it, there’s really nothing much else you can do. It’s a “one and done” type of game that serves its purpose once you’ve established enough in-game skill, eliminating enemies with ease and then wrapping things up in the end-game. Is it worth the $12.99? Sure, for the price you pay you’re getting a very fun experience. Just be ready to deal with the issues we mentioned and you’ll be fine! One thing to note (and this is quite enticing) is that those who pre-purchase the game before the May 9th release will receive a special discount!
We hope you enjoyed our review! And as always, for all things gaming, be sure to keep it locked right here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!